Ruth 4:8 – 10 “So the kinsman-redeemer said to Boaz, ‘Buy it yourself.’ And he removed his sandal. Then Boaz announced to the elders and all the people, ‘Today you are witnesses that I have bought from Naomi all the property of Elimelech, Kilion and Mahlon. I have also acquired Ruth the Moabitess, Mahlon’s widow, as my wife, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property, so that his name will not disappear from among the family or from the town records. Today you are my witnesses!”
Hooray! We got our happy ending! Boaz and Ruth were in love, and now they would finally get to be together. Boaz, crazy in love, made a bold declaration of that love in front of all the elders. As a matter of fact, he told the whole town! “I just want everyone here to know, that as of right now, Ruth is mine! She was once known as Ruth the Moabitess. She was once known as Mahlon’s widow. But now, you can just call her Mrs. Boaz!”
Boy, I just love the fairy tale endings, don’t you? But with every good fairy tale comes a moral to be learned, and this story is no different. The truth of the matter is, though we all wanted Boaz to “win”, this unknown kinsman failed. He didn’t do his duty. For whatever reason, he was ashamed to marry Ruth – probably because she wasn’t Jewish. He was concerned about preserving his own name, his own heritage. He didn’t care about preserving Elimelech’s name or heritage.
The early Hebrew culture was very concerned about honoring each family by keeping that family’s name alive. That’s why, if a man died without sons to carry on the family name, the closest relative was supposed to marry the widow, and provide a son with the dead man’s name. This seems strange to us, but it worked for them. It was an important custom.
I find it ironic, and just a tad bit humorous, that this fellow was soooooooooo concerned about preserving his own name. He didn’t want to pollute his family’s name or bloodline by mixing it in with Moabite blood. That might look bad on the records.
But have you noticed what I have noticed? We have no clue who this guy was! His name, which was so very precious to him that he wouldn’t do his duty to his dead kinsman, is wiped away! Gone! Kapoot! Obliterated! This fellow has done a total and complete disappearing act. As a matter of fact, one translation from the original language calls him “Mr. So-and-So”.
Friends, sometimes we are more concerned about looking good than we are about being good. Sometimes, we avoid doing the right thing, because we would rather do the politically correct thing. At times, we are more concerned about what people think of us than about what God thinks of us.
But trust me. I’ve made those mistakes. And though doing the popular thing may feel good for a season, it won’t last. The satisfaction that comes from looking out for number one is temporary. The respect, joy and peace that comes with doing what is right, no matter what, is permanent. If you don’t believe me, then just ask Mr. So-and-So. Oh, wait, you can’t. We have no idea who he is.
Dear Father, Thank You for always acting out of love, and always doing what is right. Please help me to develop those qualities in my life.