January 29, 2017

Naomi Has a Son!

Ruth 4:13-17

The women living there said: “Naomi has a son!”

—  Ruth 4:17

Isn’t it strange? Ruth was pregnant and gave birth, but the women exclaimed that Naomi had a son. Actually, this is the point of the story: not only did Ruth fill Naomi’s emptiness with enough food, but she also provided a son to replace the ones Naomi lost.

Isn’t it strange that although Ruth did all of this, the women praised God and responded in the way they did to Naomi? Actually, that’s another point of the story. Although he is seldom mentioned, God gets credit for bringing food back to Bethlehem. And in a departure from the normal way of reporting conception, God is reported as making it happen: “The Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son.”

Of course, Ruth and Boaz themselves had a hand in restoring Naomi’s well-being; it could not have happened without them. Even so, a few well-placed phrases remind God’s people that there are no fields of ripened grain and no children without the Lord’s blessing. God blesses the fruit of our labor and the fruit of the womb.

Years later, Jesus, a descendant of this family, was born in Bethlehem with heaven’s blessing. Through the story of Ruth we can see that Christ’s birth is part of a family history that depends on God’s abundant blessings. In God’s world it is normal for him to fill the empty and redeem what was lost. 

“Praise be to the Lord”! On this Lord’s Day we are grateful to know that our Redeemer lives. Lord Jesus, live in our hearts today. Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

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