Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging: to confirm a transaction, the one drew off his sandal and gave it to the other, and this was the manner of attesting in Israel. So when the redeemer said to Boaz, “Buy it for yourself,” he drew off his sandal. Then Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses this day that I have bought from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to Chilion and to Mahlon. Also Ruth the Moabite, the widow of Mahlon, I have bought to be my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brothers and from the gate of his native place. You are witnesses this day.” Then all the people who were at the gate and the elders said, “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman, who is coming into your house, like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you act worthily in Ephrathah and be renowned in Bethlehem, and may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring that the Lord will give you by this young woman.” Ruth 4:7-12 ESV
May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us,
that your way may be known on earth,
your saving power among all nations.
God shall bless us;
let all the ends of the earth fear him! Psalm 67:1-2, 7 ESV
Have you ever been to a wedding? Sometimes at the party after the wedding, people toast the bride and groom. That means they give them good wishes, and everyone agrees and hopes the wishes will come true. Here are some toasts you might hear at a wedding: “To the lamp of love – may it burn brightest in the darkest hours and never flicker in the winds of trial.” “My greatest wish for the two of you is that through the years your love for each other will so deepen and grow, that years from now you will look back on this day, your wedding day, as the day you loved each other the least.” “May ‘for better or worse’ be far better than worse.” All of these toasts give the hope that the new husband and wife will be happy together and go on loving each other all their lives.
When Boaz announced to the people at the gate that he was going to marry Ruth, the people gave him their good wishes. They wished that Boaz would become a good and famous man, and that he and Ruth would have children. They understood that children were a blessing from God and hoped that God would give Boaz and Ruth that wonderful blessing. Having children was the way to keep family lines continuing among God’s people. The people of Israel had been given a promise that someday the promised Savior would be born among their people, and they hoped that maybe he would come from their own family line.
We are blessed by God because he sent the promised Savior Jesus, not only to the people of Israel but to all people. It’s because of Jesus that we are blessed because Jesus died on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven and we could become God’s children. Long ago Ruth, a foreigner, became part of God’s people and God blessed her. Now people from all around the world are blessed by God through Jesus and are part of God’s people. God’s love reaches all around the world, and we are happy if we can help it reach even more people with the good news of Jesus. This is the way God blesses other people through us.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for making us your people and for blessing us through Jesus. In His Name, Amen.