It has been exciting to see the babies filling the nursery here at First Baptist. Not too many years ago the crib/toddler room was fairly empty. We are now scurrying to find enough volunteers to care for our little ones. This is a wonderful problem.
Babies can certainly be demanding (new parents do not often maintain adequate sleep schedules), but they have a way of bringing light to dark places. In this week’s Scripture, we find the prayer of the elders answered. You might remember the city gate prayer,
(Ruth 4:11 NIV) May the LORD make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel.
Producing children (particularly sons) was a big deal in the ancient world. Boaz was taking the necessary steps to redeem the line of Elimelech; it would take a son to finalize his work. In two short sentences, we are told that it all works out.
(Ruth 4:13 NIV) So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. Then he went to her, and the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son.
It is easy to picture this fairytale ending with Boaz and Ruth riding off into the sunset pushing a baby carriage. But this is not how story ends. Look closely. You might remember that the story began with Naomi; it also ends with Naomi.
(Ruth 4:16–17 NIV) Then Naomi took the child, laid him in her lap and cared for him. The women living there said, “Naomi has a son.”
They do not say that Ruth and Boaz have a son. The child is considered Naomi’s. Join us on Sunday as we explore this dynamic. In the same way that Ruth and Boaz have lived lives of self-sacrifice, this final scene involves more of the same. Their posture challenges our way of living. As we near the end of this story, we will consider the birth of a baby and the implications of his birth for me and you.