Pastor Debra Isenbletter
Christian Assembly, Springfield, Missouri
Ruth 4:14 – “And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the Lord, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel.” After Ruth bore a son, we find in the next verses words addressed to Naomi, blessings given to Naomi, words of comfort and assurance for Naomi.
What is it that the women do? They rejoice and they praise the Lord. Notice that it is the women that speak to Naomi – “And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the Lord.” These are those that saw her return and heard her bitter cry of sorrow and grieved with her in her loss. Their hearts were moved by her cry that “the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me;” that she had “went out full” and had come home “empty” (Ruth 1:20-21). Just as they grieved with her in her loss of husband and children, now they rejoice with her in the birth of Ruth’s son. These women say, “Blessed be the Lord,” this is worship, this is praise, this is thanksgiving! They know the One that is responsible and glorify Him. To “bless” means “to praise” and “to give thanks,” it comes from “to kneel (as an act of adoration).” This is praise for the provision and promises and for the fulfillment of fruitfulness. I believe that their words are expressing what is in Naomi’s heart. We can be overwhelmed by the blessings and be left speechless. Naomi was speechless but not thankless. Like the Psalmist they give thanks because He has heard the cry of a heart in grief: “Blessed be the Lord because he hath heard the voice of my supplication” (Psa 28:6) and because He had daily carried the one who was grieving and lifted that burden and provided a blessing: “Blessed be the Lord who daily loadeth us with benefits (bears our burdens)…” (Psa 68:19). The Lord is acknowledged and glorified and their united praise shows that the blessing of Naomi becomes the blessing of all! We see this same attitude of shared joy after shared sorrow. At the birth of Elizabeth’s son, all of her family and neighbors “rejoiced with her” (Luke 1:58). We are to share both one another’s sorrows and joys. We “rejoice with them that do rejoice and weep with them that weep” (Rom 12:15), for if “one member suffer, all members suffer with it, or one member be honored, all members rejoice with it” (1Co 12:26).
What has the Lord done? He has provided a kinsman: “which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman.” Notice the kinsman is just as important to Naomi as he is to Ruth. He is a kinsman to both these women, for his obedience meets the need of both. God has not “left” or “failed” or “forsaken” Naomi. Naomi had said this to Ruth in faith: “Blessed be the Lord who hath not left off his kindness or favor … The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen” (Ruth 2:20). Now these women witness to this. That the Lord had provided a kinsman for her as well as Ruth! Their words show the great provision of God for Naomi’s need – a Kinsman! God did not disappoint her, He provided for her. The provision was always there but she needed to see it and believe it and receive it and once she did, then she was able to instruct Ruth in what to do. In this we see the Faith and Faithfulness of both Naomi and Ruth. God rewarded their faith, their willingness to lay hold of His Word. All of these women saw the fulfillment of the promises in the Word of God. A kinsman had been provided by God, and through that kinsman a son had been provided for Naomi and Ruth. The blessing flowed from God to the Kinsman and then to Naomi and Ruth. God was the Giver, the Kinsman was the Gift and these women were blessed. What a picture of God’s Love and Christ’s Work, of the Great Giver and the Glorious Gift and the Wonderful Blessing that results!
The last part of this verse is a three-fold prophecy concerning this Kinsman. The first part concerns his Name (v14); and the second and third part his Work (v15). We see the words of these women concerning Boaz; “that his name may be famous in Israel.” The name of Boaz was already famous, for he was known as “a mighty man of wealth” but it is through his actions as Kinsman-Redeemer that his name will become even more famous! It is when his “might” and “wealth” is exercised on behalf of Ruth that we see the full potential of what God intended for this man. The word “famous” means “that the name is recognized and remembered! It means “to call (upon), to cry (unto);” it means “to proclaim, publish and preach.” Boaz provides the first fulfillment of this prophecy; for his name is recognized, and his work is remembered, it is the work of a “kinsman-redeemer” for a woman by the name of Ruth. But it is Jesus Who provides the final fulfillment of this prophecy. It is His Name and His Work that is “famous.” It is His Name we “call (upon);” it is His Name we “cry (unto);” it is His Name we “proclaim, publish and preach.” He is the “Kinsman-Redeemer” for all mankind, for the nation of Israel (Jews) and for the nations (Gentiles). All will one day recognize His Name and call upon His Name; for the Apostle Paul tells us that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow … and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!” (Phil 2:10-11).