“Redemption and Restoration” Ruth: Week 5 (Ruth 4)

Todd Gray August 19, 2018 Ruth

Boaz seeks redemption and restores Elimelech’s family name. In Christ we have been redeemed and this is for the purpose of complete restoration.

Message Notes:

1. Boaz Seeks to Redeem (Ruth 4:1-14)

2. Redemption and Restoration (Ruth 4:14-15)

3. Restoration and Racial Implications (Ruth 4:1-22)

Sermon Transcript:

Amen. Of course, we’re in Ruth chapter four so you’re probably already open there. If not, go ahead and get your Bibles there. Get your notes out. We’re going to be going through the whole chapter today. Now, this week, I had in mind just to go through verse 15 and then next week we come back up and finish the chapter. I think God was pretty clear as I started preparing this week, “No, I want you to go through all 22 verses.” I was like, “Okay. I didn’t really want to do that,” but when God does something like that to you, my advice to you is what I tried to obey this week, just say, “Yes, sir. We’re going to do your plan and what you want us to do and learn from it.” All 22 verses. We’re going to be looking at this idea of redemption, which is the process that should lead to complete restoration.

As I was thinking about redemption and restoration working together this week, I was reminded of this story about a pastor who pastored long ago back when you used to walk places. Y’all remember that, we walked? Some of you still walk. While the pastor was walking on the road, he saw this young boy. This boy came down the road and he was carrying this old, dilapidated birdcage. In that birdcage was just a few small birds. It peaked the pastor’s interest and he said, “Son, where did you get those birds?” He smiled and said, “Well, got them from the field over there. I trapped them.” The pastor’s like, “Okay. What are you going to do with them?” He smiled because he thought about that. He said, “I’m going to take these birds home and I’m going to have fun playing with them.” Now, the pastor’s a little concerned. He says, “Okay.” He thought through the process further than the boy did.

He goes, “What are you going to do when you’re done playing with them?” The boy kind of thought for a second. He hadn’t really considered that. He goes, “Well, I guess I’ll just feed them to the old cat who hangs around the house and the barn.” Well, this benevolent pastor didn’t love that idea. He says, “How about I buy the birds off of you?” This boy didn’t have much money. He thought about it for a second. He considered it. He goes, “No, no, no. You don’t want these birds, pastor. They’re just ordinary field birds. They don’t even sing that good anyway.” The pastor stuck to his original offer. He made him a lucrative exchange for a young boy that didn’t have any money for both the cage and the birds. The boy said, “Okay, but I want you to know I don’t feel like you’re making a good deal.”

He paid the money, took the birdcage. You can imagine what the pastor does next. He takes it out behind the church that he pastored, opened the door, and what do the birds do? They flew away. Upon further reflection of this story, later as he retold it, he was reminded of how the boy said, “They don’t sing that good anyway,” and then all of a sudden he remembered how they were just a chirping away as they were set free and he thought it sounded pretty good. He goes, “Maybe the song went something like this, ‘Redeemed. Redeemed. Redeemed.'” I love that story because it brings up the subject of redemption, to be set free, to be restored, which are the exact themes that God is going out of his way, through the narrator here in Ruth chapter four, to show us.

Think about that pastor. He wasn’t obligated to go and purchase these birds, but out of his own personal motivation, now, follow me now, this is kind of like God, what we see in the story. Out of his own motivation, what did he do? Out of no benefit to himself, out of money from his own pocket, at sacrifice to no one but him, he bought these birds and redeemed them, to buy them back for the purpose of setting them free, but he didn’t take the birds back to his house and keep them in slavery, did he? No, he took them out and he set them free. When he set them free, do you know what else happened? Their restoration. They were set free and restored back to the original position and the place in this world in which they were created to be.

This applies to the story of Ruth through Boaz as he, out of his own will, desired to redeem the Elimelech family name. Then, he sacrificed out of his own pocket to redeem them. Then, they were restored both Naomi, as we see in chapter four, and even Ruth and the whole name and family of Elimelech were restored. Ruth was restored to a position that she had never been before. As we see Boaz pursue redemption that leads to the restoration of the Elimelech family name, I want you to be reminded of what God did for you in providing you a redeemer in Jesus Christ. He gave you redemption for the purpose of complete restoration. I want you to know from the beginning that all the way through this text, not only do I want you to ask the question, “Am I redeemed? Is Jesus Christ my redeemer?” But have you been completely restored? If not, what might complete restoration look like in your life today?

As we get started in Ruth chapter four, you need to know there’s two major scenes here, two scene shifts. Scene number one comes with Boaz meeting this close relative, this potential kinsman redeemer at the city gate. He wants to talk about Naomi’s land. Then, it switches to scene number two where Naomi seems to be alone here around a crowd of women. Let’s start with the first scene. Why does Boaz go to the city gate to seek redemption? If you haven’t been here, you need to kind of rewind back to chapter three. What happened in chapter three? Well, Ruth, in this crazy plan that Naomi came up with that was both dangerous and, as we discussed last week, very provocative, what did she do? She followed Naomi’s plan and offered herself to Boaz as a wife by herself on the threshing floor in the middle of the night. Not a great plan, I would say as a dad, for my daughter to go do this, but that’s what she did. She uncovered his feet. He woke up.

What Naomi wanted her to do was just present the concept of marriage, but what did Ruth do? When Boaz woke up in chapter three and said, “Who are you?” She said, “I’m Ruth,” and then she reminded him that you are our close kinsman and she asked him to be the redeemer of not only her in marriage, but the redeemer of the whole Elimelech family to include Naomi and future generations. He told Ruth, you remember, “This I will do for you.” What was the kink in our story last week? The kink was Boaz in his integrity didn’t seal the deal that night. He said, “Ruth, I got to be honest with you. There’s one in your family that is closer to Elimelech than me. I must first go to him and offer this opportunity to redeem the Elimelech land and family name before I take it.”

As he sends Ruth off back to Naomi’s house in the morning, this is where Boaz goes. Early in the morning, while it was still dark, he headed straight for the city gate. You say, “Pastor, why does he do business at the city gate?” Because that’s where you did business 3,000 years ago. The city gate in ancient Israel was a very important place. It was for security, one entry point and one exit point. The rest of the city would have been surrounded by some kind of protection, maybe even a wall. Not only that, but the news of the city, it wasn’t a metropolis like Dallas, but the news of the city would be shared at the city gate. Yes, I’m sure some gossip happened there as well.

What’s interesting is that is also where they did legal business. It was like a courthouse. Boaz goes to the city gate to look for this kinsman who is closer than he to Elimelech’s family tree. As soon as you get there, what does the Bible tell you? He finds him. Don’t miss that. Right away, he finds him. This is God’s hand of providence working again. He’s in control of this situation. On one hand, everybody almost had to pass through the city gate. If you’re going to go out to the threshing floor, if you’re going to go visit another city, if you’re going to go out to the fields, you had to go through the city gate, but the odds of him finding this man that early, I think it’s clearly God working once again.

Once he sees the man, what does he do? He says, “Excuse me, sir. Sit down with me.” In fact, it was less like a request and more like a demand. Already, you see in the story that Boaz had some clout. Is that what we call it? He walked with a big stick. He was a man that was seen well in the community. When he tells you, “Hey, come sit next to me …” I didn’t know what this guy was doing. Maybe he was going out to the fields. He could have been going out of town for a few days. He stops whatever he’s doing and he sits down. Then, what does Boaz do? He gets right to work. He calls together the city elders, which lets you know he also had some status in the community because when he came a calling, they came a running. He gathered 10 of the elders, which I guess was enough to make a legal decision. He says, “I want you to gather around.” They were there to make the legal confirmation of the decision. Then, witnesses started gathering around to see what business is Boaz doing here.

As soon as he sits down with this man, I don’t want you to miss this point in the text, that this man and his name is not mentioned. Now, your Bible translation may say Boaz says to his relative, “Friend, sit down,” but the Hebrew word here is not friend. In fact, it’s a problematic term that we really can’t translate. Commentators say it’s probably best translated as Mr. So-and-So or the man that had no name. The narrator is going out of his way to tell you, as guided by the Holy Spirit, that he doesn’t want to mention this guy’s name. You think Boaz knew his relative’s name? The answer’s yes. Of course Boaz knew who this man was. It was his relative. He would have called him by name instead of Mr. So-and-So. Hey, John, Bill, whatever, David. Come sit down.

Why does the narrator not name this kinsman who had the potential of being a redeemer? We don’t know exactly, but could it be, I think it could be that the narrator is trying to protect the family name from disgrace because what this man does here, although it was within the letter of the Levirate law, the law of family redemption, he still said no to Ruth. Who was Ruth? She was the mother of Obed, just like Shannon read. Who is Obed? The grandfather of a guy named King David. That’s a pretty important position in Israel’s history, one of the most important, and maybe the author or the narrator here is trying to protect his family name. Either way, Boaz is talking to Mr. So-and-So let’s call him or Mr. No Name.

He goes, “We need to talk about some business. This is the matter of Naomi, our relative. She has this bit of land that we need to redeem. I want you front of all these witnesses, I want you in front of all these elders, if you’re going to redeem it, then tell me you’re going to redeem it so everybody knows, but if you don’t, I will redeem it.” Pause for a second. For those of you who’ve been tracking with this love story, you kind of feel a little bit jaded right now, don’t you? Like, “Really, Boaz? You’re leading with land? Does land, is that the only thing that matters to you? Why didn’t you lead with Ruth and how much you loved her and how much she meant to you? Why didn’t you lead with marrying her?” Well, don’t think Boaz is an idiot and also don’t think that he cares about land more than Ruth. I kind of look at Ruth like this ace in his back pocket that he’s waiting to use at the proper time of negotiations. The bottom line is land is what mattered in redemption family law.

The man, what does he say? He goes, “I’ll redeem it.” I love what Boaz does here. He takes out that ace of Ruth, then lays it on the table. He goes, “Oh, by the way, if you’re going to redeem Naomi’s land, you also have to have this woman, Ruth, you take her as well, so that the family name could be carried on on her inheritance. That means you’re not only getting the land, but you’re also getting Ruth. With Ruth, she needs a male child so that he can inherit the land of his father.” What does the guy do? He starts backing up a little bit. Wait a second. See, the beginning deal was pretty lucrative for him. All he had to worry about was the land, being able to purchase it, and then Naomi. He’s probably thinking to himself, “Naomi? Yeah, she’s older, past the marrying age, past the childbearing age. I can feed her until she dies. Then, once she does, whose land is it then?”

She had no male relative. She had no father. She had no husband. She had no son. It would go to him and then he would be able to pass it on to his children, plus the whole time and the benefit of farming it and cultivating it and making it profit him, it probably wouldn’t cost very much in the long run. As soon as they had Ruth put on the table, as soon as Boaz brought Ruth into the picture, not only did he have two mouths to feed, but now he had a responsibility, for the family name to get passed on. How does that happen? Through children. She must be impregnated and have a son. Then, when her son got old enough, he would get the land and not this closer kinsman. He backs out. He says, “No, I’m going to bow out. Now I can not redeem it. Otherwise, I may jeopardize my own inheritance.” Either he couldn’t afford it at that point or he didn’t want it if he couldn’t pass it on.

Now the love story gets to be connected again. It looks like Boaz is not only going to be able to marry Ruth, but then have the family land and not only restore the family name of Elimelech but to restore their dignity. The man takes the deal. He takes off the sandal and he gives it to Boaz. You’re like, “What in the world is that all about?” This could be the reason why his name’s not in the text. If you think about it, Boaz left with Ruth on his arm and the bloodline of Jesus Christ in his loins. What did this guy leave with? One sandal, kind of limping away, like you’re walking with one shoe. This is simply the cultural exchange that shows I take your proposition. He literally took off his sandal, I’m not going to take off my boot, spare you the smell, took off a sandal and handed it to Boaz, said, “The deal is done.”

A commentator this week, Robert Hubbard, helped me understand this. In the Old Testament, feet and sandals showed power and prominence. For him to take off his sandal was saying, “I am submitting to your idea. I’m letting you lead the situation. My redeemer rights, I’m passing on to you. You’re in charge. Here you go. I don’t want it. You take it.” You remember when Moses was before God, standing, and God was in the burning bush? What did Moses do? He didn’t just fall to his knees. God didn’t just say, “Fall on your face.” What did he say? “Remove your sandals.” It was a sign of his humility and bowing down and taking off his sandals to show that God is almighty. 2 Samuel chapter 15, David, when he’s trying to show his humility, takes off his sandals and walks around barefoot to illustrate his humility. That’s what this man was doing, “Listen, I can’t do it, but I’m submitting to your leadership here.”

As we move on, we look at verse nine. I can almost see Boaz here with a smile on his face with the elders approving, sealing the deal of the contract, and all the witnesses gathered. You can see Boaz in verse nine holding up the sandal and he says to the crowd and the elders, “You are my witnesses today that I have bought from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to Chilion and Mahlon, his sons.” Verse 10, “Moreover, I have now acquired Ruth.” Now, don’t look at it like he sees her as a slave, but this is how the process happened. “I now have acquired Ruth, the Moabitis, the widow Mahlon, to be my wife in order to raise up the name of the deceased on his inheritance so that the name of the deceased will not be cut off from his brothers or from the court of his birthplace. You are witnesses to this today.”

This is a huge moment in this story. Elimelech’s family has now been redeemed. It was a terrible thing for a man to die without land in his name. It was a worse thing for a man to die with land and yet have no son to live on that land. Because Boaz stepped in as the kinsman redeemer, now the land is rescued and his seed is rescued and now his name has its dignity again. I look at Boaz and I say, “What a man,” but also in doing so, he confirmed his marriage to his now bride, Ruth. Boaz restored the family name. He restored the dignity. We see now even Naomi restored, but also Ruth restored to a position that she’s never had before. What is that position? A true member of the covenant Israelite community. Earlier, do you remember, she was called a Moabitis. Now, she goes from Moabitis, no longer to be described as this one who’s from a Pagan land, she’s now called the wife of Boaz, a true Israelite.

In verse 11, they start singing her praises in the land of Bethlehem. “May the Lord make the woman who has come into your home, Boaz, like Rachel and Leah,” hold onto those names, “both of whom built the house of Israel.” Think about the category that they’re now putting Ruth in. Rachel and Leah, they were the ones from whom their wombs came literally the nation of Israel and the will of God through that nation. Pretty important women, but they also have something else in common with Ruth. These women were barren until God opened their wombs so that his will could come through their children into Israelite history. Ruth, as this prayer is being prayed over her in Bethlehem, she was also barren until God opened her womb after 10 years and from her womb came Obed, from Obed eventually King David, and from King David our Savior Jesus Christ. Their prayers were answered.

Later, the prayer is for prosperity for this family, but look what it also says. It’s also that their house would be similar to Perez. Now, where did Perez come from? From Tamar and Judah. Think about that. Tamar in relation to Ruth were both foreigners yet grafted into the bloodline of Israel and both of them, according to Matthew chapter one, were in the bloodline of Jesus Christ. If you go back this week and you read Matthew chapter one, you’re going to notice that only four women are mentioned in Matthew chapter one for the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Mary, his mother, who was an Israelite. Then, we have Tamar, Rahab, prostitutes and foreigners. Now, you have Ruth, a foreigner. Three out of the four women mentioned in the genealogy that’s in Matthew chapter one that is recorded for all time were not true born Israelites.

This should impact you. It should show you that not only in their brokenness but in their foreignness that Jesus Christ is the Savior of all people and he’s in the business of making broken people restored again to accomplish his will for his glory. You see this later repeated over and over again in the New Testament. This is a mind-blowing reality from the story of Ruth and Boaz, but also don’t forget the Bethlemites or those from Bethlehem. They were living in the time of the judges when everybody else was doing right in their own eyes, but yet those from Bethlehem, they’re praying these prayers of maturity. They’re remembering Leah and Rachel and they’re remembering Perez and Tamar. It seems like they’re more mature, if you’ve ever read the book of Judges, way more mature than society that surrounded them. Could it be that those from the city where our Savior was born had this spiritual light in a very dark time? I think it could be.

Now, the scene changes. After 10 years of barrenness, immediately after she marries Boaz, God gives her a child, much less a son named Obed. Now, we see Naomi, starting in verse 14. The scene transitions from the city gate to Naomi surrounded by women. Do you remember in the beginning of the story when Naomi came back from Moab and arrived back in Bethlehem? Probably the very same crowd of women, they gathered around her and they were saying, “Oh, look. It’s Naomi,” whose name means pleasant or praiseworthy. What does she say? She says, “Don’t you call me Naomi. I’m not pleasant. Call me Mara,” which means bitter. In front of these same women, the same woman that once said, “God sent me away full and brought me back empty,” what is she now? She’s full again. This is a beautiful picture of restoration. Look at verse 14. These women say, “Blessed is the Lord who has not left you without a redeemer today and may his name become famous in Israel.” I want you to ask the question, “Whose name?” That’s a great question.

In verse 14, it carries on to verse 15, “May he also to you be a restorer of life and a sustainer in your old age. For your daughter-in-law who loves you and is better to you than seven sons,” 3,000 years ago, that was a gigantic statement, “has given birth to him.” Who is the reference to here? It’s a great question because in some ways that you read it, you’re like, “Okay, it’s a reference to Obed, her now grandson, yet called her son.” Yet, when you see this idea of redeemer and restorer of life and sustainer, maybe you’re thinking, “It could be Boaz.” I would say yes and yes, but could this not also be a strong reference to the future redeemer of the world, the restorer of all of our lives through the redemption that earned on the cross and the one who sustains us? Could this be a strong reference to Jesus? I say yes, yes, and yes. I don’t want you to miss it because the story ends with Obed, but it goes through great pains to show you that Obed led to David. I want you to know that from David came Jesus. You can’t miss the connection from Ruth to our kinsman redeemer, Jesus Christ. We see this restoration. We see this restoration that comes through redemption.

For the last few minutes this morning, I want to talk to you about redemption, which is the process that leads to restoration. It’s said right here in verse 14 and 15 to be the redeemer, to be the restorer is what Naomi has experienced. As she was restored, she’s no longer empty but she’s made full again. That’s a great illustration for you. Some of you walked in here today empty. I want you to know God does not want you to stay that way. Others of you walked in here today bitter. God does not want your name to be Mara for the rest of your life. If Jesus Christ is your redeemer, he also wants to restore you. He doesn’t want you to be spiritually empty. He wants you to be spiritually full. He doesn’t want you to stay bitter in your relationship to another or bitter in your relationship to him. He wants you to be pleasant and praiseworthy and thankful for your relationship with him.

She may have missed it before, but I believe at this point in this story, Naomi is starting the process of complete restoration. Church, if God is going to restore you and not leave you empty, it’s only because, in his providence, because of his grace, he’s provided for you a redeemer and a restorer. His name is Jesus Christ. The reality for all of us today is that God, in his providence, provided you Jesus Christ and he offers you complete restoration. Now, I’m not trying to make a one for one here. Jesus Christ did not meet Satan at the city gate. He did not take a sandal from Satan, but I’ll tell you what he did do. He went to the cross and he bore your sin and took your shame. He went to the cross and he defeated death and he defeated Satan. What he wants to be is your redeemer today.

Here’s the question again: Is Jesus Christ your redeemer? He’s already made the payment in his blood, but the question next is: Have you accepted that? Have you repented of your sin and believed upon Jesus Christ and his sacrifice for you in his blood and the power of the resurrection that is made available to you today? If not, please do so. If you have, for the believer, there is a deeper question that has to do with depression and bitterness and this empty feeling that I see so many people struggling with. Have you allowed him to restore you? If he’s your redeemer, he also wants to be your restorer. Redemption is the process that I said earlier so that restoration can happen. God does not want to leave you defeated and depressed.

Now, here’s what I can’t guarantee. I can not guarantee that your life situation and your context is going to change according to your plan, but because he’s your redeemer and your restorer, I can guarantee two other things. Number one, whatever hardship that you’re going through, no matter how hard or how painful, is but a season. Like we sang in the song earlier, it could be a season of his grace. We know that he’s going to bring you through it even if through it on the other side of it is in heaven, but I want you to consider today he also may be the same one that brought you to it and maybe in his sovereign hand of providence and his plan to bring you to this point of hardship and pain, to bring you through it so he gets the glory. Whatever it is and however hard it may feel, it is but a season, guarantee number one.

Guarantee number two, if he is your redeemer, Jesus Christ is your Savior, he will never leave you and he will never forsake you. Cling to these two promises today no matter how hard life feels. God is a restorer and the sustainer of life just like the people pray in verse 15. He wants all of humanity to be in a right relationship with him through redemption and through restoration. This looks like daily time with him, which brings daily hope to your life. He will sustain you and restore you in your financial struggle, allow you to get through it. I can’t promise you he’s going to make you rich. He can sustain you through the marriage difficulty, he can sustain you through the family conflict, and he can sustain you through the strained friendship.

You say, “Pastor, why are you talking so much about restoration?” I’ll tell you why. As your pastor, I get to stand from the pulpit, but I also get to stand from the spiritual pulpit and look out at the lives of those whom I shepherd as his under shepherd. I’ll tell you what I see. I see a lot of you who’ve been attacked by Satan. Just trying to be honest with you. I’ve seen a lot of you have been broken down through the everyday circumstances of life. I’ve seen, for example, some conflict that would normally be passed easily through the relationship among believers escalate in a millisecond to an irrational level that I can’t explain. I’ve seen marriages attacked. I’ve broken down and cried at night before my God because of the utter destruction I’ve seen in some of the marriages in here. I’ve seen one spouse or both spouse buy the lie of Satan which says it’s easier to give up than to give in to the will of God. I’m tired of watching you be distracted and destroyed by the pain when it doesn’t have to. If Jesus Christ is your redeemer, he’s also your restorer.

You say, “Pastor, what do I have to do?” You have to get out of your own head, stop buying the lie, and cling to Christ the same as you cling to him for redemption for restoration. Restoration, though it’s a beautiful word, I’m not going to guarantee it’s an easy process. For some of you right now, God is bringing things out of the darkness into the light for the purpose of restoration. Though it’s good, it doesn’t feel good. He’s also your sustainer. Cling to him. Cling to your redeemer when he’s doing the restorative process in you when it feels good and even when it does not. He is the giver of life just like with Obed here. He is the one who is all powerful. He is the one that has his providence and his will that will be successful. He’s the restorer and he is the sustainer. Would you believe with me that he can both redeem you and today also restore you to exactly the position that you were created to be, which is where he wants you to be? Get out of your own head and turn to him for the restoration that you need. Why? So that with Naomi and Ruth and the family name of Elimelech, God’s name may be made famous in your life again.

There’s some pretty deep implications when you start thinking about what does restoration mean in your life, but I’m going to draw one out for you that may not be comfortable for you, but I’m going to draw it anyway. You say, “Pastor, why would you do that, something that makes me uncomfortable?” Because it’s in the text. I believe it’s in the text, I should draw implications from that into your life. Here it is. There is restoration and because of restoration in this story and in your life, I believe there are racial implications. You say, “Whoa. How did you get there from here?” I’ll tell you how I got there, Ruth. In the story of Ruth, where did she come from? Where did she start? Where was her beginning? A nation called Moab.

The Israelites were racist against the Moabites. They were of a different ethnic group, a different culture, and, on many occasions, a different God. Some would even argue there were probably of a different color, but when Ruth made the decision to put herself under the restorative wing of God between Moab and Bethlehem, she became a Yahweh follower. What did he do? “Oh, no. Sorry, you’re a Moabite. You look a little different than the Israelites. You stay over there.” Is that what he did? No. He blessed her and accepted her immediately. Though she was different, of a different ethnic group than the Israelites, she was accepted by him and then look at it. Here’s the implications for you. Not only was she accepted by God, whether you like it or not, you can’t stop that, he’s God, she was also accepted by her Israelite community, those who were racist against her, because she was a Yahweh follower, completely accepted her.

This was mind-blowing for the day. This means that women like Ruth, who was a Pagan and a Gentile, women like Tamar, prostitute and Gentile, Rahab, prostitute and Gentile, were in the bloodline of Jesus Christ and from a different race and outside ethnic group than Israel. Yet God welcomed those foreigners to him. The implication is: What about you? This is the theological implication 3,000 years ago that 1,000 years later, 2,000 years ago for us, that the New Testament was built upon that says God is a multiethnic God. It doesn’t matter the cultural diversity or color of the skin or man or woman, God accepts them through faith in his Son. What does it say in Revelation chapter seven verse nine? In eternity, as we gather around the throne room of God worshiping Jesus, it says people from every tribe, that means ethnic people group, every tongue, that means every different language that you’ll probably all understand, and every nation will be worshiping him together.

When Jesus commands his disciples 2,000 years ago now, yet we still have to have these applications because we’re human, where did Jesus send his disciples? To those who look like them and from the same ethnic group as them and the same color as their skin? No, he sent them outside of Jerusalem to the ends of the earth, to all people. Jew and Gentile, man and woman, black and white, Arab, European, Hispanic, and every color and every culture in between can all come to Christ as the redeemer. I know you think that is true. That is true, but what does that mean for you? Therefore, we must accept all people. We call each other, if we’re believers, what? Brother and sister. Those who are believers with you should be closer to you than the unbeliever that is in your bloodline, that’s of your same color, and from your same culture. Let that sink in for a second.

Closer a believer is than any unbeliever should be in your life, particularly in your church family. God has no racial preference is what I’m trying to tell you. All are one in him through faith in Jesus Christ. Those who are fellow believers should accept one another, but there’s another point that’s going to step on some toes, but I see it in the text so here you go. Boaz and Ruth were ethnically separate, were they not? Absolutely, probably of different shades of skin, but they were united in marriage through faith in Yahweh. Therefore, interracial marriage today in our society should be accepted and, I’m going to go a bold step further, and should be celebrated. Why? Because from their interracial marriage came who? Obed. Came who? David. Came who? Jesus.

If God didn’t like it, not only would he not have accepted it, he sure wouldn’t let that bloodline come through it. That has to mean something for us today. We can not ignore these racial implications any longer, 2,000 years after Jesus taught them and 2,000 years after the Holy Spirit had them written down. In our passage today, we see people who are redeemed and restored. Restoration, I know, as you can see from this passage, has pretty vast implications that will stretch to areas of your life that you didn’t even think about, all the way to race relations. Would you accept it today is my question? I hope that you would because God’s been waiting for it for a long, long time and he deserves our acceptance of his truth that he’s been teaching us.

You might see yourself today and say, “Pastor, I’m like those field birds. I’m just an ordinary person. I don’t deserve redemption.” You might say, “Pastor, I’m just an ordinary field bird. I don’t deserve complete restoration.” Well, you may think that. In a way, that even may be slightly true because of your sin that separates you from him, but if Jesus Christ were standing here today and you’re a believer, he would say you are worthy. You’re worthy. He sought you out of the desire of his heart. He found you and he redeemed you in his blood. He has set you free from slavery to sin. If he has redeemed you, he wants to restore you to the position you were always meant to have. You say, “Pastor, what is that?” To be with him today and for all of eternity. If you felt like I was meddling a little bit this morning, that’s okay because maybe God was. If you felt like, “Pastor, I struggle here, I struggle there,” here’s how I want to help you. Go to him and turn to him who is your redeemer and let him restore you in this particular area that you struggle. That’s why he lives inside of you through the Holy Spirit. Whatever it is, as deep as it goes and generationally diverse as it is and as much as it hurts, just turn to him and let him restore you in wherever your struggle is.