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Limping for Love (Boaz and Ruth) 

Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the land from Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the dead man’s widow, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property.”

At this, the guardian-redeemer said, “Then I cannot redeem it because I might endanger my own estate. You redeem it yourself. I cannot do it.”

 Ruth 4:5,6

READ Ruth 4:1-17.

We pick up this devotional entry on the latter half of the story of Ruth. A young lady who vowed to stay by her mother-in-law’s side as she returned to her homeland. Naomi was a savvy older woman, and she sent her daughter in law to the field of her kinsman-redeemer - Boaz. Boaz had the legal and familial obligation to take care of Ruth’s deceased husbands’ land and the rest of his estate, including Ruth herself. 

In order to take possession of the land, a formal request had to be made at the town gate, in front of the elders. While Boaz had a right to the estate, another family member had the first right of refusal. Ruth 4 records the conversation, and with a careful examination of the meeting, we see that Boaz understood every dynamic and every detail about the transaction. Boaz put in the groundwork to ensure his potential wife and land would be his. 

It was a common practice that when a man purchased land, he had to give up one of his sandals as a binding agreement that the transaction took place. It may sound archaic to us, but a woman was connected to the property. He must have looked weird, limping down the street with only one shoe. On one foot, a sandal, fully protected from the jagged rocks and debris in the road. The other foot enveloped in dust and dirt, completely exposed to the elements lurking in the ground. Yet his face didn't reflect a loss; in fact, his countenance must have been one of sheer joy! 

Put in the work means to do what is necessary to have what’s rightfully yours. The story is a tale of divine intervention. One where God ordered the steps of Ruth and Naomi from the pagan land of Moab back to the arms of a man that honored God and his duty to his family. This story teaches us that even the blessings of God require me to get outside of my comfort zone. They force me to make myself vulnerable. It puts me in a position that I may get rejected, but it’s worth it! To have a godly spouse, a woman that was ordained by God for him. A young lady that works hard and loves her family is someone worth working for. 

Thought Questions

  • The entire town knew that Boaz made the necessary arrangements to marry Ruth. How evident is it that you are wholly devoted to your spouse? What are some ways that you can sacrifice for your spouse?
  • Prayer and work are complementary concepts. If you are praying for something specific, what part can you play in obtaining the desired result?  

Life Lessons

  • Just like in Ruth’s story, faithfulness will be rewarded. You may never know what God has waiting for you around the corner. Continue to be faithful and trust God to do the rest!
  • When you work for something, the fruit of your labor will be worth it. This is a law of life - you shall reap what you sow!

Further Study

Read Galatians 6:9. How poetic that the backdrop for Boaz and Ruth’s story is a field during harvesting time! Both of them worked hard and celebrated the fruit of their labor later. Take time today with your spouse to encourage each other to keep moving forward as you take on life’s challenges.