Pastor James Hopkins preached this sermon on the third Wednesday of Advent 12/15/2021. The service was broadcast live on Facebook at 7:00pm, and is now available on the FLC youtube channel. To follow along from home, the order of service and hymns can be found in the Lutheran Service Book:

Order of Service – page 243

Psalm 4

Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming, LSB 359

Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus, LSB 338

Now Rest Beneath Night’s Shadow, LSB 880

The text for the sermon was the day’s gospel lesson. To read the Bible texts for the Third Wednesday of Advent, click here. 

Unless you are the kind of “academic” who will use the singular euphemistic use of feet in the Old Testament, which is in Isaiah 7, to claim that Ruth was trying to commit adultery with Boaz in order to seduce him, Ruth 3 is not all that exciting.

It’s kind of like the third week of Advent. Or the third week in December. We know where all this is going. And we would kind of like to just get there.

But the Holy Spirit caused this history to be recorded for our benefit. And so, we know that what happens at the threshing floor is important, too.

I don’t think it’s especially instructive. At least not in the specifics of how to get a husband between now and Christmas. The barn next to our new home has a threshing floor, and I don’t want to be chasing out couples from church out of there at midnight.

But it is instructive for courtship in general. What is praiseworthy? What is worthy of imitation?

Having a godly intention for marriage.

Pursuing it and not being ashamed of it.

Not compromising your virtue and your faith.

Marrying for the right reasons.

And six measures of barley for your trouble isn’t bad either.

All of that can easily go for men and women alike any day of the year.

But perhaps a more salient point this evening is how ordinary the story is. A woman wants a good husband. She works for it. She makes a grand gesture. And they’re engaged.

I didn’t mean to make that sound too easy. I know that modern life can be complicated. Back to the point: it’s ordinary. And that’s where God does so very much.

Ruth pursuing Boaz is ordinary. A pregnant woman visiting her pregnant relative to help with the chores and help her prepare, and singing a song (the very same song you will sing tonight) – it’s ordinary. A family taking a trip and paying taxes at Christmas is ordinary.

Through such ordinary people and such ordinary means, God does the extraordinary:

A king for Israel.

A song for generations.

A cousin to prepare the way.

A Redeemer for Ruth…

And you, and me.

That’s the biggest, most extraordinary thing. This Redeemer, who makes Himself near.

For Ruth, having a redeemer in the immediate sense meant someone who was close. He needed to be part of her tribe, her clan. He needed to be related somehow. The closer you were, the higher your priority.

Boaz wasn’t the nearest redeemer. There was some other relative who had dibs, if he wanted, to buy back Ruth and taker her under his wings, so to speak. But, not to spoil it, he’s going to take a pass.

Boaz will be able to redeem Ruth from poverty in his day. But there is a Redeemer nearer than he. Nearer than tribe and clan. Nearer than a relative or a friend. As near like your own blood. As near as your own flesh. A Redeemer.

Ruth would have to wait for morning. And we will wait also. Both of us do so in faith. We have a promise now.

It is not only a matter of words, but deeds. The promise is written in blood and sealed by the tomb that could not stay sealed.

You have a Redeemer. And He is coming for you.

First Lutheran Church Sermon Archive


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