“God Behind the Seen” – The Book of Ruth ~ Chapter Four

God Behind the Seen

A Study of Ruth

Chapter 4

Bruce A. Hess

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Please now, if you would, take out your Bibles, take out the Word of God, and turn in the Word of God to the Book of Ruth, to the book of Ruth in the Old Testament.

We are very, very excited to continue our journey in the Book of Ruth and complete that today. Our journey has been honestly amazing; it has been intriguing; I think it has been enlightening. What an incredible book the Book of Ruth is. In fact, F.B. Huey said this about the Book of Ruth, he said the Book of Ruth is “the most beautiful short story ever written.” If you have missed some of this series, I would strongly encourage you to go back and look at chapters 1, 2, and 3. Don’t miss out on all that is packed into this book. In fact, I have so enjoyed this series I’m not ready to end it today, but we are going to be closing it out today.

We’ve entitled this series, “God Behind the Seen.” From all that we have observed in Ruth, we saw this from the very first message—a major theme in the book is the theme of God’s Providence. When we did the first message we gave you a definition of His providence, it refers to God’s purposeful acts in governing the world in accordance with His eternal plan and for His ultimate honor and glory. What does that really mean? His providence means that He is always at work. He is always at work in all the events of life. He is at work in the blessings that we experience. He is at work in the people that we meet. He is at work in the circumstances that we face.

He is even at work in the adversity that confronts us. And adversity comes in all kinds of flavors. It might be in the loss of a job. The adversity might be a terrible accident. The adversity may be a loved one who goes into eternity too soon. It may be a special needs child that God sends our way. It may be a dire diagnosis. It may be a puzzling medical or mental issue. But He is always at work in these events of life.

We have been sharing with you a perspective over and over in this series—something we should regularly ponder. That is this, mystery in His plan—and many times we struggle to identify the plan, we don’t know what is going on—but mystery in His plan does not mean there is no purpose in His plan.

The Book of Ruth begins with spiritual failure, it ends with spiritual triumph. The Book of Ruth begins with grief over three funerals, and it ends up with celebrating three renewed lives. The book begins with emptiness, and it ends with unanticipated fullness. The Book of Ruth is a divine invitation to observe a real-life display of God’s providence at work.

We have shared with you an outline of the whole book. I want you to think about chapter 4 as we come to it now. All through the book we’ve seen God’s providence. In chapter 4 we see His Providence and Provision. We also are going to see the family in the royal line of the nation. Chapter four occurs over one year. Then, we’ve been tracing Ruth and Naomi through the book. We have seen Ruth’s Decision (chapter 1);  her Devotion (chapter2 ), her Request (chapter 3). In chapter 4 we see Ruth’s Reward.

Naomi, we began by looking at her being Embittered (chapter 1) , then Encouraged (chapter 2) , then Expectant (chapter 3)  and now in chapter 4, verses 14 and 16, we are going to see Naomi Elated.

What I want to do now is to jump into chapter 4, I want to go through it rather

quickly because I want to leave some time at the end to pull back and examine in  detail some divine viewpoint that God has for us. Does that sound alright to you? Alright, let’s do it!

When you come to chapter 4, we can break down the chapter this way,

  • We have The Negotiations in verses 1-6
  • We have The Legal Decision in verses 7-10
  • We have Affirming Prayer in verses 11 and 12
  • We have The Birth of this new baby in verses 13-17
  • And, then it ends with The Genealogy in verses 18-22

So, let’s begin by looking at The Negotiations that we find in verses 1-6. Now, the last time we had seen Boaz in chapter 3, he was at the threshing floor. I know he was anticipating—before the events of this night occur—that the grain would need to be moved the next day. It would need to either be taken to the market or it would need to be hauled off and stored. But that’s not what he does the next morning. In the morning Boaz is very, very anxious. I’m sure, after his night with Ruth (as we will see), he had trouble sleeping. No doubt, Ruth had trouble sleeping also after she had heard the promises that Boaz was giving.

Chapter 4, verse 1, it says that morning that, “Boaz got up and he went to the gate.” What does that mean? Well, in the cities at the time there was an area set aside for special activity at the city gate. Remember also they would close the city gates at night. There are some excavations that have been done of ancient sites where they have discovered built-in benches around the city gate. This is where people would gather and where official business would occur.

The gate area was very much like a combination of our county courthouse and a coffee shop. It was both of those things woven together. It was where you would do official business and where all legal transactions would occur. It was also an area where social interaction would happen. Since most people who lived inside of the city worked outside of the city, that means that in the morning they would go out from the gate, and in the evening, they would come back through the gate.

Remember this ‘closer relative’ that Boaz had talked about in chapter 3? Well, in verse 1 we learn that he was coming by, probably on his way out to work that day. Boaz sees this man and says to this individual, “Turn aside and sit with us.” Then, it says, Boaz gathered together, verse 2,”Ten men of the elders of the city and said, “Sit down here.” So, if you had some built-in benches there, they are all gathering right there.

What is going to happen is, Boaz is going to make a proposal to this closer relative. In verses 3 and 4, he says to this relative, “Naomi, who has come back from the land of Moab, has to sell the piece of land which belonged to our brother Elimelech,” who had been her husband. He basically says, I want to inform you that you should consider buying that land before those who are sitting here, before the elders and my people. If you will redeem it, go ahead, redeem it. But if not, tell me because I am after you in line, in terms of closeness of the relationship.

So, he is basically saying to this guy, Naomi needs to sell the land of Elimelech. Now, we don’t know what was going on in the previous ten years with that land while they were in Moab. Maybe it had just been neglected and it was overgrown in a significant way. Maybe it would mean that if you were going to have make improvements to get that land back up a level to produce crops, it would mean a lot of money that would need to be spent. But what he is really communicating with this guy is:  we want to keep the land inside of the extended family, among the relatives.

This guy no doubt is thinking as he is hearing all of this from Boaz, Okay, I wonder how much money I’m going to have to spend to make that land crop worthy again? What Boaz is basically asking is: do you want to ‘redeem it?’ [which means to acquire the land by paying the price]. We see right there in verse 4, at the end of the verse, this closer relative says, I like the idea, “I will redeem it,” I’ll do it.

Then, Boaz displays a lot of wisdom in verse 5. He basically says to this gentleman, now I also want you to know this is more than Elimelech’s land. This transaction is also going to involve Ruth’s hand in marriage, because part of your obligation as the one who would redeem, is that you would continue the family name. Well, when the ‘closer relative’ hears that, he says in verse 6, “I cannot redeem it for myself, because I would jeopardize my own inheritance,” I would jeopardize my own estate.

Basically, what he is thinking here is, if I gain the land and I spend the money to improve it and get it up and running again, that’s a financial advantage to me. But if I take Ruth, the Moabitess’ hand in marriage, that is going to be a financial complication to me. Plus, if we were to have a child together, what that would mean ultimately is, this tract of land would go to that child down the road in the future, and I would be out all my rehabilitation money.

You know, I’ve often wondered, I wonder if anything else was on this gentlemen’s mind, because everybody had heard about Ruth, the Moabitess, right? And the story how Naomi had come back. I wonder if he was thinking, Hmmm, there were three men with Ruth down in Moab and none of them ever came back. Why would I want to get married to this woman? I don’t want to have the same fate that they had!

Well, all of that then leads to the Legal Decision that occurs in verses 7-10. Look at verse 7. It tells us that there was a custom at the time (this book is being written years later than the events it describes), it is looking back on it. It says there was this custom in those days regarding the redemption and exchange of land. To confirm any matter, what would happen is a man would remove his sandal and he would present it to another person. This was a manner of attestation in Israel. The idea seems to be that, in those days you could ceremonially claim property by walking on it, and it appears that this symbol came up that you would transfer the right to having land to another person by handing them your sandal. I don’t know how much sandals cost in that day, but that is what you would do. You would take your sandal off and you would give it to the other person.

That is exactly what happens in verse 8. “The closer relative said to Boaz, “Buy it for yourself.” And he removed his sandal.” Then what happens? Verse 9. It is interesting here, I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but, “Then Boaz said to the elders and all the people.” What had apparently been happening, as all of this was going on, maybe one person was saying to the next, what’s happening over there? I don’t know what’s going on. Well, it has something to do with Naomi and Elimelech’s land and it has something to do with Ruth.

 So, all of these people, all these passers-by began to gather around to observe what was happening. So, Boaz says to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses today that I have bought from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech,” speaking of the land, “and all that belonged to Chilion and Mahlon (the sons of Elimelech).” Then, he goes on to say, “Moreover, I have acquired Ruth the Moabitess (which is what everybody knew her by) the widow of Mahlon.” Here is the first and only time we learn which of the two sons of Naomi Ruth had been married to. She was married to Mahlon.

Then, he goes on to say, “She will be my wife in order to raise up the name of the deceased on his inheritance.” It was very big in that culture to keep the family name going, “So that the name of the deceased will not be cut off from the rest of the relatives or from the court of his birthplace (which was Bethlehem) and you are witnesses today.”

That leads to some Affirming Prayer that occurs in verses 11 and 12. It is interesting to me that this ‘group prayer’ breaks out. It is a three-fold group prayer. The first part of that prayer is in verse 11, where it says, “May the Lord (may Yahweh God) make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, both of whom built the house of Israel.” What does that really mean? Well, it is interesting that Rachel and Leah were once barren themselves, just like Ruth had been. And Rachel and Leah were the wives of Jacob—and  to them, Rachel and Leah, were born eight of the twelve sons of Jacob, who became the twelve tribes of Israel. So, this prayer that they offer is that the Lord would make the woman (Ruth) who is coming into your house like them—Rachel and Leah were a foundation to the nation. It is a big prayer. May she (Ruth)be a foundation to the nation.

The second prayer occurs in the end there of verse 11. “May you achieve wealth in Ephrathan (that is just another name for Bethlehem) and become famous in Bethlehem.” There was a prayer, first for Ruth, that she would become like a foundation to the nation; then that Boaz would prosper financially, that he would become a man of prominence, a man of notoriety in the nation and in the city.

Then, the third request is in verse 12. So, you had something about Ruth, something about Boaz, and then something about their offspring, “May your house be like the house of Perez whom Tamar bore to Judah.” It’s talking about, “The offspring, which the Lord will give you through this young woman.”

Now, Tamar is being mentioned here. It is interesting, she was also a widow, just as Ruth was. But what is the purpose behind the whole idea of Perez, the birth of Perez? Well, the birth of Perez signaled the founding of the tribe of Judah. May the child that comes from your marriage be that foundational, as Perez was in the founding of the tribe of Judah!

So then, we are moving along, we come to The Birth in verses 13-17. Notice verse 13, “So Boaz took Ruth,” notice that the little phrase, the Moabitess, has been dropped, “he took Ruth, and she became his wife, and he went in to her. And the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son.” Now, when I was reading through verse 13, there is a phrase there that just leaped out at me. I thought, you don’t hear that phrase today and that is that phrase where it says, ‘the Lord enabled her to conceive.’ When is the last time you heard something like that said in a movie? When is the last time you saw that kind of an attitude and perspective being shared among people? It ought to be because it is true—pregnancy is  truly a gift from the Lord.

Look at verses 14 and the first part of verse 15. It says there, “Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed is the Lord who has not left you without a redeemer today.” Who is the redeemer they are talking about? You might guess, well the redeemer is Boaz, isn’t he the one who is redeeming the land and marrying Ruth? But that is not really who they are talking about here. Notice the redeemer is the one, when at the end of verse 15 it goes on to say, “Your daughter-in-law…has given birth to him,”. Naomi’s redeemer, they are saying, is this new baby who comes along. And, they are basically saying, “May he become famous in Israel. May he also be to you a restorer of life and sustainer of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you and is better to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.”

The book begins with Naomi’s losses, and it ends with Naomi’s big gain. Also, you will notice it says there in verse 15, “Your daughter-in-law who loves you.” How do you that someone loves you, biblically speaking? How do you know? Well, the Biblical definition of love, which we have shared before, is this, love is my commitment to your needs and best interest, regardless of the cost. Regardless of what the cost would be. That is what love really means.

What do we see when we see the life of Ruth? We see that Ruth lived out love. She made the choice to return with Naomi to the land of Bethlehem, she did that. We’ve seen that she worked hard to meet the needs of Naomi as she gleaned in the field. And then, we’ve seen that she made a priority to help secure Naomi’s future when she boldly and assertively approached Boaz. You will notice it says there that she, Ruth, ‘is better to you than seven sons.’ Think about the way the whole book flows. Naomi had no idea where God’s providence would lead when she was facing the loss of her husband and her two sons.

But now, look at what has happened, this wonderful marriage has taken place, the family name, the family land has been redeemed. Plus, notice in verse 16 it says that “Naomi took the child and laid him in her lap and became his nurse.” She was holding hope. We learn in verse 17 that the boy was named Obed, which is likely a shortening of the name Obadiah. The name Obadiah means ‘servant of the Lord.’ Ultimately what ends up happening is that this child becomes part of the royal line that leads to King David.

Which then leads us to The Genealogy in verse 18-22. It is simply a genealogy being laid out. It starts with Perez, works its way down through and it says there in verse 22, “And to Obed was born Jesse, and to Jesse was born David.” That is speaking of King David. See, in all the events that are transacting in the whole story, in all of this, God’s providence, the plan of salvation is always at the center of God’s radar in what He was doing.

So, we’ve blasted through quite quickly, chapter 4. I want to take a moment to take a look at least one Life Lesson from the book and then we are going to talk about some final perspective.

The Life Lesson is that God’s Grace is Amazing. Think about what happens in this book. Ruth is an idol-worshipping woman from Moab, one of the enemy nations of Israel. Ruth is transformed as she trusts in Yahweh God. Then, she ends up being granted to be part of the royal lineage of the Messiah. Ruth becomes the great-grandmother to King David. Ruth becomes, 27 great grandmothers to Jesus. That is amazing grace on God’s behalf!

When you look at another genealogy in Matthew, chapter 1, which traces the full genealogy up to Jesus, you find some interesting people in that genealogy. You find Tamar. Tamar was a Canaanite. She was the one who had deceived her father-in-law to get herself impregnated. You have Rahab, who was a Canaanite prostitute originally also in the line of Jesus’ genealogy. You have Ruth, who was at one point, a pagan Moabitess. You also have in that genealogy, in Matthew 1, a gal you remember by the name of Bathsheba, who was a Hittite adulteress. Is that not Amazing Grace on God’s part? Have you ever thought about this, that the blood of those Gentile women, who came out of very questionable backgrounds, was genetically blood that ran in the Lord Jesus’ veins? That is Amazing Grace!

What it means for you and me—and for everyone—is that regardless of anyone’s past, the arms of the God of the universe are open to those who might turn to Him! And He is ready and willing to transform them and to bless them!

As we are closing this out, as we draw this series officially to a close, I really want to step back for a few moments. I want to take a final look at God’s providence, which we have said is the theme throughout the book.

A passage I want to direct our attention to is Isaiah 46, verses 9 and 10 (NET). It says there, this is God speaking, “Truly I am God, I alone; I am God, and there is no one like Me.” Notice the description that He gives of Himself, “Who announces the end from the beginning, and reveals beforehand what has not yet occurred. Who says, My plan will be realized, I will accomplish what I desire.” That is God’s providence at work!

What does that really mean? It means that in any given moment, God is doing 100,000 things that we’re not even aware of. It is unbelievable. But, because we are finite, because we are earth bound, understanding how God’s providence is at work in our life is very, very limited.

I don’t know about you, but every once-in-a-while, I just wish I was in the third heaven. You know, where you could step out on the balcony and you could look down and see everything that is going on, even in your own life. Where you could see the full story of the whys, why the pain, God? Why the difficulties, God? Why the losses, God? Remember, what we have been saying by way of perspective all through this series, mystery in His plan—and there is a lot that is mysterious to us—does not mean there is no purpose in His plan.

In the book of Ruth God uses spiritual failure, God uses famine, God uses three funerals as an integral part in His providential plan working out in their lives.

Now, Naomi and Ruth were in the midst of all of that. They didn’t really understand what was going on. In fact, it was puzzling, especially to Naomi, for ten plus years! It was an elongated trial. Lord, what are You doing?

Eventually, in ten plus years they began to see, they began to get some insights. You know, some people may say, well that’s nice that they got to see that. It’s been longer than ten years for me.  I’m still in the dark.  I still don’t really understand why the Lord allowed that to happen, what His purpose was in this occurring. You might say, at least they (Naomi and Ruth) saw some positive outcome during their life. The fact is some of us may never get a firm understanding of what He is doing, and none of us will never see the full outworking of His providence in this life.

You know, I think about Jim Elliot and the four other missionaries who were working with the Huaorani/Auca Indians in Irian Jaya in Ecuador. How much do you think they understood of how their deaths would work out in God’s providential plan?  They didn’t really have an opportunity to see that at all…in this life.

I want to share with you a quote from G. Campbell Morgan. He said this, “You may be God’s foothold for things of which you cannot dream.” Man, that is good! You know, it’s really true of Jim Elliot’s life! God used him as a foothold for things which he never dreamed would happen, and the same thing is true in your life and mine. We can be a foothold for things of which we could never even dream that God was doing.

By the way, [Bruce gives a little humor here] have you ever noticed that a lot of very spiritual men in history used only their first initial of their name? Have you ever noticed that? [smile] I want to share with you another quote, this is one from B. Alfred Hess. B. Alfred Hess says this, “God orchestrates the sufferings and struggles of His children and utilizes them to serve His grand purposes, both in our mission in this world and for our ultimate eternal blessing.”

Do you ever think about this, that even Jesus, in His humanity, felt deep puzzlement? Remember, one of the things He said on the cross, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Yet God is using those sufferings and struggles to serve His grand purposes. It’s also true of us, His plan is to use our sufferings and struggles in our mission in this world; and we are going to learn more about it all when, ultimately, we experience His eternal blessing in heaven. Then we will fully understand His providential plan.

Solomon, Ecclesiastes 7:14 said this, “In times of prosperity be joyful, in times of adversity consider this: God has made one as well as the other.” Because He is working His providence in your life and mine!

Now, as we are wrapping this up, I want to share what I think is the Core Lesson for all of us in this series. That is, that we savor the providence of God, we savor it! See, one day in eternity the heavens will be glad, the earth will rejoice, the seas will roar with praise, the hills will sing for joy. And we will worship His excellences. We need to savor the providence of God.

This week my wife went to an estate sale, and she bought this wall hanging here, which basically says, ‘The best is yet to be.’

Now, when she bought this, she brought it home and said to me, I bought this wall hanging at an estate sale. And, I said to her rather coldly, we don’t need any more stuff. But then it was like the Holy Spirit sort of ‘poked’ me a little bit. Like He was communicating to me, you know, you are leading a study of the Book of Ruth [Bruce points to wall hanging]. The best is yet to be. We need to remember that in our everyday life as we are facing difficult things. The best is yet to be, no matter what we are facing!

In the meantime–The best is yet to be!! Let’s savor His providence. But here is the question, why??? Why should we savor His providence?? Why should we do that? Well, I want to share with you at least three reasons why.

The first one is, when we savor the providence of God It Leads to Deeper Awe in our Life. Exodus 15:11 says this, “Who is like You, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders in our life?” (ESV). And you could look at Psalm 33:11, Romans 11, verses 33-36, in the same way. We should savor the providence of God:  it leads to deeper awe.

The second reason why we should savor the providence of God is, It Changes the Way we View Everyday Life. Ephesians 1:11, “He works all things after the counsel of His will.” I’ve said this before, how many things are left out of ‘all things?’ When we understand that, it changes the way we view everyday life so that everything happens always occurs within the realm of His providence.  Think of Naomi again: she had no idea when she lost her husband and her two sons, as she was wrestling with the grief and the confusion and the helplessness. She had no idea that God was at work to bless her beyond her wildest dreams.

The third reason why we should savor the providence of God is, It Strengthens us to be Patient, Trusting and Faithful when we Face Difficult and Dark Circumstances. See, He is always embroidering our lives. He is always weaving beauty, even from the most perplexing threads that entangle our lives.

Benjamin Malachi Franklin said this, “Not until the loom is silent,“ and sometimes that means not until we’re out of this life, “and the shuttles cease to fly, shall God unroll the pattern and explain the reason why. The dark threads are as needed in the weaver’s skillful hand, as the threads of gold and silver in the life that God has planned.”

Savor the providence of God. And, as we are dealing with difficulty—and it can be very hard difficulty—we need to remember that righteousness and justice are the foundations of His throne. You can count on it!! His throne is built on righteousness and justice. He is doing the right thing, even when we don’t understand it. And He is the God who is justice, He is always going to do the fair thing. They are the foundations of His throne!

Then also, we need to Remember that we have a Guaranteed and Certain Future Hope.

I’m not going to read through it now but, 2 Corinthians, chapter 4, verses 17 and 18 – take time to read through that, take time to read through that. What is that saying to us? It is saying to us–Yes, the best is yet to be! We need to always remember that when life get very hard—the best is yet to be!

Then, I have one final question for us as we conclude our series, and that question is: who is the hero of the story of Ruth? Who is the hero of the story of Ruth? Some people might say, well, the hero of the story is Boaz because Boaz treats a foreigner with sensitivity and kindness. Boaz steps up to redeem Naomi and Ruth. Boaz is the hero of the story.

Some people might say, you know, it is Naomi who is really the hero of the story because she bounces back from her bout with bitterness. She gives wise counsel to Ruth about her future.

Some people might say, no, I think the hero of the Book of Ruth is Ruth because she makes this incredible commitment to provide for and to serve her mother-in-law, who had been deeply wounded. Then, in boldness and assertiveness she presents a plan for marriage that would not only benefit her, but also benefit Naomi.

So, who is the hero of the book of Ruth? Well, what is the title we’ve given to this series? God Behind the Seen. The hero of the Book of Ruth is God, Himself. It is Yahweh God. Another name for Yahweh God is the Lord Jesus. It is important to observe that Boaz is also a picture of Jesus. Remember when we talked about a kinsman redeemer? One of the things a kinsman redeemer had to be is they must be a blood relative. Guess who was a blood relative of you and me? Jesus. “God sent forth His Son, born of a woman that He might redeem.”

Another qualification of a kinsman redeemer was, they must be fully free to redeem. What do we see in the Lord Jesus? Well, He, as it says in Hebrews 7:25-26, was holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners. He was fully free to redeem all of us.

Then, we mentioned a kinsman redeemer must also be willing to redeem. Was Jesus? 1 John 3:16, “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us.”

And then, fourth, we said that a kinsman redeemer must have the price of redemption. Guess who had that price? Jesus, Himself! 1 Peter 1:18-19, “You were redeemed with precious blood…the blood of Christ.”

Unbelievable! That is the hero…Jesus Himself…He is the ultimate hero of the Book of Ruth. You know what that reminds us of? That reminds us that the best antidote to discouragement and difficulty is the cross. It is the best antidote: the cross!

Let’s pray together. Father, we thank You so much again for Your Word. We thank You for how real it is. I thank You for this incredible story of what You were doing in Ruth. And, Lord, we would just simply say to You, ask that You would help each one of us learn to savor Your providence. It is going to make a difference in how we view You! It is going to make a difference in how we look at life! It is going to allow us to develop some patience, knowing that ‘the best is yet to be,’ even when we are in the middle of great difficulty. We thank You for who You are, and we thank You in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Questions for Reflection

God Behind the Seen

Ruth chapter four

1. As Bruce shared the message from Ruth chapter four, what principles related to God’s Providence hit you in a fresh or significant way?  Elaborate.

2. What are some personal examples of God’s Providence in your life?  Include some details.

3. How is Boaz in his role as Kinsman Redeemer a picture or type of Christ?

4. There some racial/ethnic issues (including an interracial relationship) in the Book of Ruth. What can we learn from them?  Should we ‘lean into’ or ‘pull away from’ such relationships? What do some of those events (and how God was working in them) tell us about the heart of God?

5. King David was one who knew about difficulty and discouragement in his life.  Notice how he begins Psalm 13 in verse one.  Can you identify?  Notice how he ends Psalm 13 in verses five and six.  What can we learn from that?

6. It’s been said: Look at yourself and be depressed.  Look at others and be distressed.  Look at Jesus and be blessed. What reality about life is found in that saying?

7. One of the frequently overlooked elements in the book of Ruth is the consistent practice of prayer. There two prayers by Naomi in 1:8 and 1:9. There is a prayer by Boaz in 2:4 and 2:12.  There are two more prayers by Naomi in 2:19 and 2:20. There is prayer again by Boaz in 3:10.  Then there is the prayer by people in Bethlehem in 4:11-12, and by the women of Bethlehem in 4:14-15.  As you look at those verses, do you see a pattern?  How do those prayers compare with your personal practice of prayer?

8. Take some time to pray some prayers of blessing for those in your life.

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