The Scriptorium

Shake on It

Done deal. Ruth 4.7-12

Redeemed for Redemption (4)

Opening Prayer: Psalm 133.1, 3
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!
It is like the dew of Hermon,
Descending upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the LORD commanded the blessing—
Life forevermore.

Sing Psalm 133.1, 3

(Tryggare Kan Ingen Vara: Children of the Heavenly Father)
Behold, how sweet, how pleasant, when the brethren dwell together.
All in unity abiding find God’s blessing there presiding.


Read Ruth 4.7-12

Preparation
1. How did Boaz and the near-kinsman seal their agreement?

2. How did the elders and people respond?

Meditation
This curious manner of sealing the deal (v. 7) is reminiscent of Deuteronomy 25.5-10. Here, however, it has lost all hint of scandal or stigma and seems merely to have become a way of one man showing publicly his intention to transfer a trust or privilege to another, according to the Law of God. Sort of like saying, “Let’s shake on it.”

In his summation (vv. 8, 9), Boaz tied the story back to its beginnings and recapped what had just transpired. He put all the facts out in the open so that the judges of the city and the people could be certain that everything had been done decently and in order, and there would be no gossip or second-guessing on anyone’s part. Boaz clearly declared his intention of raising up children to the deceased Mahlon’s name and making sure that his rightful inheritance passed to them.

The words of the people and the elders are at once confirmation, blessing, exhortation, and prophecy. We can imagine that there must have been some deliberation on the part of the elders concerning Boaz’s situation and his interpretation and use of the Law of God. But not much. The solidity of his thinking appears to have been almost immediately apparent. The entire community united its voice to affirm Boaz’s actions; further, they invoked the blessing of God on him and Ruth, thus formally indicating their acceptance of the Moabitess as a full-fledged member of the community.

The people exhorted Boaz to build on the good work he had done to this point and live worthily and for renown among his people. There is no place for “resting on our laurels” when it comes to the pursuit of good works. We have a sense that the story had reached a climactic moment, and the people of Bethlehem were already looking ahead to the next stage of the unfolding of God’s redemptive work among them. We will look at the prophetic portion of this text at the end of our study.

Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“Now this was the custom in former times in Israel…” (vs.7).
This statement lets us know that the passage was written by someone several generations into the future. Someone who knew that David would come from this union; and Ruth and Boaz would be his great-grandparents. The story is rendered fondly by its unknown author and all the characters are remembered heroically for following the Law of God.

Will our generation of believers be remembered as well?

Will we be known for following God’s Law heroically?

Will we be found worthy of the blessings of God?

Or will we be judged righteously for our disobedience?

Like Jacob, do we wrestle with God and refuse to let Him go and until He blesses us? (Gen.32.26)

“When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Lk.18.8)

Let us take off our sandal, shake hands, turn over our rights and follow Jesus. Let us make good on our decision to be obedient children of God so that our generation will be remembered for our precise obedience, and we will hear from the Lord, “Well done, good and faithful servant…” (Matt. 25.21 ,23).

Reflection
1. Meditate on Psalm 45.17. What kind of legacy should believers want to leave for the future?

2.  Why do we need one another to help us in understanding and obeying the Word of God?

3. Why must Christians not be content to “rest on our laurels”?

The removal of a sandal was part of a legal transaction in ancient Israel (Deut. 25:8–10). It would parallel the modern custom of concluding a transaction by signing a document or handing over a set of keys. By handing over his shoe, the close relative was symbolically handing over his right to walk on the land that was being sold. Earl Radmacher (1931-2014), NKJV Study Bible note on Ruth 4.7, 8

You have saved me for good works, Lord; help me today to…

Closing Prayer: Psalm 133.2, 3
Pray that the Lord will use you today to spread His peace to the people around you.

Sing Psalm 133.2, 3
(Tryggare Kan Ingen Vara: Children of the Heavenly Father)
Like the precious oil of blessing flowing down on Aaron’s vestment,
God’s anointing rests forever where His people dwell together.

Like the dew of Hermon’s fountain falling down on Zion’s mountain,
so the blessing of the Savior dwells where unity finds favor.

T. M. and Susie Moore

Listen to our summary of last week’s study in Ruth by clicking here. You can download all the studies in the Ruth series by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scripture are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All quotations from Church Fathers are from Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1-2 Samuel: Ancient Christian Commentary Series IV, John R. Franke, ed, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: Inter Varsity Press, 2005). All quotations from Matthew Henry are from Matthew Henry Concise Commentary, E-text version Copyright (c) 1996, 2002 Hendrickson Publishers, Inc. All Rights Reserved. All quotes from Earl Radmacher are from The NKJV Study Bible, copyright ©1997, 2007 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006) (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore