Ruth waited, Boaz confronted, and the nearer kinsman declined.
But why? Why was Boaz, the near kinsman, able to redeem, where the nearer one could not?
Quickly assessing the opportunity, this closer relative realized having Ruth for a wife, would ruin his inheritance. He would be spending his own money to purchase something his children would not inherit. Elimelech’s field would accede to the child he fathered for Mahlon, and he was unable or unwilling to share his inheritance.
Therefore, today we come to the most important lesson of this series.
Our amazing God orchestrated the lives of each character in the Book of Ruth as a beautiful picture. This side of the cross, we can see the spiritual representations and more fully understand His plan for the ages.
Thus far, we identify Naomi with Israel. From Naomi, came Ruth, a Gentile representing the Church. Finally, as a man born in Bethlehem, Judah, willing and able to redeem, Boaz typifies our Lord Jesus Christ.
However, Ruth, chapter four’s symbolism, goes much deeper.
Boaz called a quorum, which in Hebrew is a minyan or group of ten Jewish men, who would witness or testify to this transaction. Thinking biblically, we easily associate it with the Ten Commandments.
But, discerning the nearer kinsman’s representation is more difficult.
Undoubtedly, this closer relative had the right to redeem. He was obviously free and wealthy enough to purchase a field, or else he would have immediately refused. However, that is where his similarity to Boaz ends. The nearer kinsman was not willing, nor was he able to redeem.
Why? I believe God built into this incredible chapter a picture of Judaism, the Law of Moses, and the Old and New Covenants.
God made the first covenant in giving the Law because of sin. For that reason, it was closer related, yet unable to redeem or give life. Therefore, according to plan, Jesus Christ stepped in.
Coming in flesh, Jesus is related, but not as closely, since we have sin and He does not. Nevertheless, for that same reason, He was able to redeem and give life, because He had no sin of His own. Jesus, became sin for us, and by shedding His blood, He established the second covenant.
Hebrews 8:7 tells us, “For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second.”
In addition, Romans 8:3 says, “…what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin…”
Our sin nature made the Old Covenant in the law weak. And, although the law was holy, just, and good, it merely had the ability to show us our sin. It could not give life.
The blood of bulls and goats simply covers sin. Only the blood of Jesus Christ can cleanse us from all unrighteousness and give life, abundant and eternal.
Our Boaz, paid our redemption price.