The Girl’s Still Got It: Chapter 11

Bible Study Blog "The Girl's Still Got It"

Chapter Eleven: “Our Hero Makes His MoveRuth 4:1–12

Finally, the moment we’ve been waiting for. Will Mr. No redeem our Ruth (say it isn’t so!), or will it be Mr. Right?

1. a. One nineteenth-century commentator, F. C. Cook, suggested, “The name of the kinsman was either unknown or purposely concealed.” Considering that Boaz is aware of the other kinsman’s existence, which scenario seems most likely to you, and why?
Boaz was well known and well respected in Bethlehem, and as one of his family’s kinsman-redeemers, he would have kept tabs on the other men in Elimelech’s clan who could undertake that responsibility. I believe absolutely that Boaz knew the man’s name. Why Boaz chose not to use it is less clear, though he certainly managed to put Mr. No in his place. (Personally, I love this whole scene!)

By not addressing the man by name, what is Boaz communicating to him? And to the ten elders? And to all the citizens of Bethlehem within earshot?
Years ago I had a salesman at my job admit that he got a charge out of my saying, “Hey, handsome!” whenever I passed him in the hall—until the day he realized I used that same endearment for all the sales guys whose names I couldn’t keep straight!

Forgetting someone’s name is one thing. But deliberately avoiding the use of someone’s name you know is another matter altogether. It communicates, “You aren’t important to me. You carry no weight around here. And you won’t be missed when you leave.” Whether or not Mr. No got the message, the ten elders and all the witnesses at the town gate would have heard it loud and clear: “This guy is history.”

Mr. No

Why is it important that they see who Mr. No is…and who he is not?
Since Mr. No is legally next in line, he must be given the opportunity to serve as Ruth’s kinsman-redeemer. When he refuses to fulfill his role with so many watching from the sidelines, Mr. No can never charge Boaz later with usurping his position. Everything was handled as the law required. Mr. No had his chance to do the right thing, and he blew it.

1. b. Since in the Bible the word name can also refer to one’s reputation, what else might this man’s lack of a name tell us about him?
There’s a huge difference between having no reputation (as in, “Never heard of the guy”) and having a bad reputation (as in, “His face is all over the tabloids”). We can’t be sure which one applies to Mr. No, though I keep thinking of Boaz saying, “If he is not willing, as surely as the Lord lives I will do it” (Ruth 3:13). Sounds as if Boaz knew what to expect from this guy.

A good name is not easily obtained and can be quickly lost. What counsel does Proverbs 3:3–4 offer when it comes to keeping our good names?
It’s almost as if Solomon wrote those verses about his great-great grandfather, Boaz: “Let love and faithfulness never leave you.” His words aptly describe Ruth’s kinsman-redeemer, who won “a good name in the sight of God and man.”

In the same way, we’re challenged to be loving and faithful—yes, at all times and to all people—which is possible only with the love and faithfulness of God flowing through us. If we focus on being his servants, a good name is bound to follow. Sadly, in our celebrity-obsessed culture, being famous—for any reason—matters more to people than being loving, trustworthy, or kind. Who will rescue us? Only our Lord Jesus, whose name is above all names.

2. a. Author Carol Bechtel believes Mr. No “is a foil, allowing Boaz to shine even more brightly.” Let’s test that theory. Write down as many descriptive words for Mr. No as you can come up with. Then next to each one write the opposite meaning.

Mr. No                               Not Mr. No
Unnamed                               Renowned
Vacillating                              Decisive
Greedy                                  Generous
Self-centered                         Other-focused
Cowardly                               Brave

Take a look at the list on the right. Do those words in fact describe Boaz?
You bet! Mr. No is the anti-Boaz of this story, our hero’s exact opposite. As such, he makes Boaz look good because Boaz is good, thanks to God’s righteousness at work in him.

Consider how the following verses from Proverbs might help us understand these two very different kinsmen:

Mr. No                                  Boaz
Proverbs 10:7:
His name will rot                    His memory will be a blessing

Proverbs 11:28:
He trusts in riches                  He walks in righteousness
He will fall                              He will thrive like a green leaf

Proverbs 12:23:
He is a fool                            He is prudent
He blurts out folly                   He keeps his knowledge to himself

Again, we see these two redeemers contrasted one against the other. It is a common teaching style throughout the Old Testament (and in Proverbs especially), helping people clearly see why having a relationship with the one true God of Israel makes a difference.

2. b. Does Naomi seem overly concerned about this other kinsman-redeemer? What makes you say that? As to Ruth, does anything indicate she is worried? What might their responses teach us about trusting God?
I don’t think Naomi was worried for a minute. In the last chapter she left the word wait ringing in our ears. Not fret, not fix, not flee. Just wait. We also don’t see Naomi tracking down Boaz to make sure he understands the situation, nor does she interfere in any way. She waits, she trusts, she relies on her Sovereign God. Good role model, that Naomi.

And Ruth? Same story: no worries. Just as she does everything Naomi tells her to do, Ruth also does everything Boaz tells her to do. Not because she doesn’t have a mind of her own, but because she is wise and trusts the God of Israel to handle her redemption.

In this chapter I mentioned seeing a flock of sheep in Israel—a fitting reminder of Rachel, the shepherdess whose name means “Ewe.” Since the elders compared Ruth to Rachel, I thought you might like a peek at the hilly terrain around Bethlehem, not far from Rachel’s grave and Boaz’s fields.

Sheep on the Road to Bethlehem

3. a. It will not be enough for Boaz to buy Naomi’s land. That only redeems the family property. It will take a child to redeem the family name. How do the elders invoke God’s favor on this couple?
Actually, it isn’t only the elders, it’s also the townspeople of Bethlehem: “all those at the gate said, ‘We are witnesses’” (Ruth 4:11). They call on the Lord to bless Ruth in the same way he blessed Jacob’s wives, Rachel and Leah. Children were not only one sign of God’s blessing upon their marriage; it also meant a son would inherit the land and carry on the family name.

Should wedding ceremonies today include a prayer or blessing concerning future children? Why or why not?
Though a mention of children may not be included in the formal wedding vows, many pastors broach the subject during their remarks or their prayer for the newlyweds. Personally, I think that’s a valid part of the ceremony. It’s not meant to pressure the couple into starting a family; it simply acknowledges the possibility of offspring and so asks God to bless those children, should they come along.

3. b. Women today may not have town elders to bless their wombs, but Rebekah and Hannah show us another way. In Genesis 25:21–22, who speaks to God on Rebekah’s behalf? Yes, and who else?
First we see Isaac pray to God on behalf of his barren wife. (Don’t you love to hear a husband praying for his wife? So tender, so godly, so right.) Then Rebekah turns to God as well, when her babies jostle inside her and she fears for their safe delivery.

How did the Lord respond?
His answer to Rebekah is recorded In verse 23, where he speaks directly to her, describing the babies in her womb as two separate nations: “one people will be stronger than the other,” the Lord tells her, “and the older will serve the younger.” In the years that follow we see those prophetic words come true in the lives of Esau and Jacob.

In 1 Samuel 1:10–11, how does Hannah address the issue of childbearing?
Hannah not only prays, she also weeps before the Lord “in bitterness of soul.” (Sounds a bit like our Naomi). She then makes a vow to the Lord, promising that if he provides a son, she will give the boy back to the Lord “for all the days of his life.” An interesting bargaining scene, or so it appears. In truth, God already knew the prophet Samuel would be born to Hannah, and so the Almighty prepares her heart for that sacrificial gift of her son to God’s service.

Then in 1 Samuel 1:17–20, who else chimes in? And how does the Lord respond?
The priest, Eli, speaks a blessing over Hannah, who leaves in peace, her appetite renewed, and her face “no longer downcast.” As for God’s response, how I love these tender words in verse 19: “and the Lord remembered her.” A child is born, and a son is given when Hannah keeps her vow.

What hope do their stories offer modern couples who long to have offspring?
There are many stories of barren women in Scripture, whose wombs are blessed by the Lord in his perfect timing. Children aren’t a certainty in life. But God does show us in his Word the power of asking, of praying, of seeking, of trusting, and of waiting.

Now it’s your turn to leave a comment online. What have you learned about your Kinsman-Redeemer this week? About children being a gift from the Lord? About your place in God’s Kingdom?

Betsy and Liz in Hershey at Women of Purpose

Last weekend in Hershey, Pennsylvania I had the joy of meeting Betsy, one of the faithful participants in our Bible Study Blog. Along with Tina, Jen, Becky, Linda, Sherry, Laurel, Cathy, Krista, Brandi, Annette, Kathy, and many others who gather here regularly, we’d be delighted to hear from you.

One more week, and Ruth’s story is told!

Your sister, Liz

Study The Women of Christmas with Liz Curtis HiggsP.S. Our Bible Study Blog will continue each Wednesday, with a brand-new study all through December on The Women of Christmas: Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna. Then in January and February we’ll walk through the pages of my book, Embrace Grace. So thrilled to have you studying God’s Word with me each week!

37 Responses to The Girl’s Still Got It: Chapter 11

  1. Betsy C. November 14, 2012 at 8:28 am #

    Oh, Liz — we look so sweet! It was such a joy to meet you too!
    I love this chapter about redemption and blessings. God has redeemed us all!! I also love the blessings the townsfolk give to the new ‘couple’ even before they are wed.

    Children are such a blessing — and we’ve been blessed with three to keep on earth and 4 awaiting us in Heaven. But just because someone doesn’t have children – for any reason — doesn’t mean that they are not blessed by God. Children are only ONE of the many blessings God bestows on His people. My cup overflows!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs November 14, 2012 at 11:04 am #

      My heart aches to think of those children waiting for you in Heaven, dear Betsy, and yet I am awed by your spirit of JOY in Christ. And yes, absolutely: children are just ONE way the Lord blesses his people. There are so many others, and the gift of his Son is the greatest blessing of all.

  2. Brandi Luiz November 14, 2012 at 9:13 am #

    Such a neat picture!! Praying that one day each of us can meet you and have our picture made! :~)
    My final words for this week’s study were as follows:
    When a situation is in God’s control~don’t add any drama. Casually go about your business, ask questions if needed and allow God to handle the details.

    What a great study this week. I am beginning to look unfavorably on next week, because I don’t want this to end. We have had such a good study with the blog comments and discussion. I look forward to it each week. Thank you, Liz, for doing this.

    • Tina W. November 14, 2012 at 10:35 am #

      Brandy- I’m with you- I really don’t want this to end!
      Liz- Can we do another one?!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs November 14, 2012 at 11:24 am #

      Wouldn’t it be fun if we COULD meet in person someday? Hmmm. Have to noodle on that idea, Brandi. Meanwhile, I love your take on not adding any drama. Very astute!

      And no worries about our time together ending. Our weekly Bible Study Blog will continue each Wednesday with “The Women of Christmas: Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna” all through December and then in January and February we’ll walk through the pages of a real book of my heart, “Embrace Grace.”

      • Brandi Luiz November 15, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

        Yay!! :~) Happy dance!

  3. Jerilyn November 14, 2012 at 11:00 am #

    Liz–Thanx a bunch for this wonderful book. I was involved in a special ceremony for another woman who was dedicating her life to God through the vow of chastity and celibacy. For our evening meditation prior to retiring I chose Ruth 1: 15-17. It really helped my sisters in Christ to begin to relax into God’s rest. Blessings and take care!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs November 14, 2012 at 11:31 am #

      What a precious thought, to dedicate one’s life to God so thoroughly! In my years of singleness before meeting my sweet Bill, I took that vow as well, though not in any formal way. Love the idea of a ceremony. Bless you for sharing with us, Jerilyn!

  4. Cathy Gross November 14, 2012 at 11:59 am #

    I come from a long, long line of addicts, alcoholics and folks just struggling and never finding joy. We grew up in a war zone behind closed doors. Hungry for love but having no idea what it looked like, I had my son out of wedlock, which was a big deal back in 1975 in my community. That dear child gave me something to hang on to and fight for even though I stumbled about a good bit as I gained my footing in life. His father disappeared. But my real Father showed up and began to walk me through healing. My daughter was born 10 years later after I married a good man.Today both children are passionate about Jesus and unashamed of His Name. I made so many mistakes but God took my sincere effort and multiplied it again and again and again. I look at these great people of God and marvel that they are mine. Generational curses have been broken and I sit here smiling as I write. God has taken us to a big and spacious land and walks with us. Oh, I am so thankful! I also tremble for those who walk shunning His love….
    Looking forward to our Christmas study…I love those women!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs November 14, 2012 at 7:49 pm #

      Cathy, you may be smiling as you write, but I’m weeping as I read. WHAT a glorious testimony to the power of God’s amazing GRACE! Bless you for sharing so honestly with us. Stories like yours encourage us that, no matter what, God can redeem, restore, and renew even the most broken among us. Your children certainly must rise up and call you blessed!

      • Brandi Luiz November 15, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

        I’m with Liz, how gracious is our God to bring you from that to this! Love your testimony! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Cathy Gross November 14, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

    Betsy, you’ll have your arms full in Heaven. I can see you on a blanket in the grass, sun shining, wind blowing and children all about you. Oh, so sweet! I look forward to seeing you with your little ones when we all get Home!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs November 14, 2012 at 7:49 pm #

      Love that beautiful word picture, Cathy. Yes, yes.

  6. Tish November 14, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

    Love this study!!!! Wonderful teaching. Is there a way to access the previous chapters?. I have the video but I would love to see the notes. You are one fantastic Lady Liz Curtis Higgs,
    I met you in Newfoundland & I will never forget you. Ta Da !!!!!! Blessings x/o

    • Liz Curtis Higgs November 14, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

      What a precious weekend we had together in Newfoundland! Yes, you can access the previous weeks of this Bible Study Blog anytime you like. Just go to and all the weeks of the study will appear. Since the latest is at the top, just scroll down for Week 1 and you are golden. God bless, Tish!

  7. kathy torrence November 14, 2012 at 5:06 pm #

    Hey Chicks! What a chapter! This is just so romantic! hehehe So to answer the question, my kinsman redeemer is my Mr. Everything! We have been together since I was 14.. We married right out of high school when I was 18 and had our first son when I was 19. Than a daughter, and another two sons. He has been my soul mate and we ask the Lord into our hearts together and received many blessings from the Lord.I remember when we chose “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord” for our life scripture. We have been through tough times together and can honestly say, God is good. I am so blessed and he loves to tell me I’m his everything. He says I am a Proverbs 31 women and oh how I love him_ he still makes my knees weak! My children love the Lord and have been through some tough times too, but we seek God. Jesus is just too awesome. We give Him the praise and honor. We are here only to serve and see the Kingdom come. Hope this encourages someone and doesn’t come off as boasting.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs November 14, 2012 at 7:56 pm #

      I for one am greatly encouraged, Kathy, because I tell our unmarried sisters, “Wait for the RIGHT ONE.” You are a fine example of why that’s solid advice! ;>) As for boasting, your heart for Jesus shines through your words. I always remind myself of this truth:
      “‘…but let him who boasts boast about this:
      that he understands and knows me,
      that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness,
      justice and righteousness on earth,
      for in these I delight,’ declares the Lord.”
      Jeremiah 9:24

    • Brandi Luiz November 15, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

      amen and amen! I thank you for sharing that you married young and are still going strong. My oldest daughter got married this summer at 19 and boy have I heard it from the people’s sharing their thoughts on the matter. Needless to say, I married at 20 and so did my son in law’s parents. Thanks for sharing, Kathy!

  8. Dr. Laurel Shaler November 14, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

    Hi Everyone! We know that God formed us all. Yet, it gets a little murky to me why so many get pregnant without having a desire (in part leading to over a million abortions in America alone) while others who long for children don’t conceive. I know that sin comes into play as does God’s sovereignty over our lives. That being said, I do believe that praying for children (even yet to be born) is very important. There are so many children who need a loving home, and I believe God is calling more Christians (I am not saying ALL Christians) to look into options for caring for children that they did not bore. Thanks, Liz!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs November 14, 2012 at 8:06 pm #

      You’ve put into words a reality many of us struggle with, Laurel. The prophets of old asked much the same question. Listen to Jeremiah:
      “You are always righteous, O Lord, when I bring a case before you. Yet I would speak with you about your justice: Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease?” Jeremiah 12:1 God’s response (see the rest of chapter 12) makes it clear that, however much these things weigh on us, so do they tax the patience of the Lord.

      And yet…and yet…he is compassionate and merciful, not wanting anyone to perish, still reaching out to those who throw away his blessings. Truly, his ways are so much higher than our ways, I cannot pretend to understand them. But I trust him. And I know you do as well, dear Laurel.

      Good on you, praising those who adopt children who need a loving home. Over the years I’ve met many generous women and men who’ve adopted two, three, four children. May their lot increase!

  9. Becky Frith November 14, 2012 at 7:53 pm #

    God did not give us children and though we talked about adoption, my husband had reservations. A blessing given at the wedding,concerning the fruitfulness of a Godly union, would be a good thing. Perhaps, if we had been so blessed?? I don’t believe that sin had anything to do with it. My struggle with bitterness through the years stems from this. I lost my mother-in-law yesterday, very unexpectedly. She was 84. We are traveling to Michigan for her services Monday. The family had moved to TN several years ago, to be nearer their granddaughter. Yet, she wanted to be buried next to her mother in Michigan. Mother’s are SO important. On battlefields for centuries wounded and dying men have called out for their mothers. I am so glad that you are continuing with these Bible studies. What a rolemodel you are, Liz and you honor all the biblical women who God made role models. Only through His Grace are we able to acheive such status.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs November 14, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

      Becky, I am so SORRY to hear of your mother-in-law’s passing. Godspeed as you travel to honor her memory. Yes, mothers are important. But even if we never give birth or adopt, there are children all around us who need our love.

      In my single years I “borrowed” children from my happily married friends whenever I could. They seemed quite happy to let them go for a few hours. And also happy to take them back. ;>)

      It’s my joy to teach and encourage you, sweet Becky. Do let us know how Monday goes. “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35

  10. Ammie November 14, 2012 at 9:39 pm #

    My hubby & I began dating in high school..dated for 7 years & will celebrate our 14th wwdding anniversary this year! He haa always has my heart & it began with his faith in God that drew me in. We too have been unable to have children, but through all the trials of our lives…loss of mine & his grandmother, his brothee’s suicide the year we got married, the loss of my father…my husband has been such a rock for me redeeming my faith in us & in our Lord over & over again. I could not be more blessed.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs November 14, 2012 at 11:28 pm #

      After all you’ve been through, Ammie, to say, “I could not be more blessed” is remarkable and truly honors God. Further proof that he is able to bring joy out of sorrow, hope out of disappointment, gain out of loss. And do hug that rocky man of yours!

  11. Shauna November 14, 2012 at 11:09 pm #

    I haven’t commented much during this study because I’ve bee struggling with various difficulties…so I just read and pray. Had a favorite uncle pass through the heavenly gates yesterday evening–in my mother’s words, “If Ray doesn’t make it into heaven, NONE of us will!” Truly a godly gentleman, who literally thanked the Lord EVERY day for making it home from Italy in World War II. He so wanted to get well these past few weeks so he could return to the nursing home where my aunt lives and be with her–she is suffering from Alzheimer’s, and there were days where she did not recognize him. (After several years of not eating unless he was the one there to feed her.) Reading the words about Boaz’ faithfulness, I can’t help but relate to my uncle AND my dad–both family men who were very definitely “Mr. Right” to their families.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs November 14, 2012 at 11:31 pm #

      Totally understand why just reading and praying worked best for you, Shauna. And we’re also honored that you took time to share this week of all weeks, with the loss of your uncle heavy on your heart. Yet, look what an example he is of faithfulness! Your Uncle Ray is rejoicing in his new home, for sure. God’s blessings on you, my sister, as you grieve and heal.

  12. Linda H. November 15, 2012 at 7:25 am #

    God will not always change my life or circumstances overnight. It will be a process
    of praying, waiting, obedience and seeking Him daily. Your comment in the book about spending time on facebook but not finding time time to study our Bible happened
    to parallel a sermon heard this weekend. The Pastor said that we look at our phones at least 150 times a day, or every 6 1/2 minutes. He threw out the thought of how awesome it would be if we were looking at God’s word that many times a day. I want
    to desire and seek His word more than anything else.

    • Brandi Luiz November 15, 2012 at 9:02 pm #

      love these comments LInda! Thanks for sharing

    • Liz Curtis Higgs November 15, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

      A very telling statistic. 150 times a day?! Maybe if we taped a Scripture onto the back of our phones…

      Appreciate your comments on how growth happens, Linda: slowly! But so worth the long journey.

  13. Cathy Gross November 15, 2012 at 1:02 pm #

    Shauna and Becky, I’m so sorry for your losses. Knowing we will see our loved ones again helps, but the parting is so hard to face. Praying for you both as I write.

  14. Brandi Luiz November 15, 2012 at 9:02 pm #

    agreeing in prayer for these gals going through such loss.

  15. Sherry November 15, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

    Liz, God’s love is so amazing! To think He loves us and welcomes us into His embrace and whispers words of comfort and assurance. I think everyone, at some point, longs to hear “You’re mine. Your safe.” (I know I do!) To think that God says that to us! Wow! The story of Ruth and how Boaz redeemed Ruth, had God’s fingerprints all over it. Thanks for your insight on this love story!
    Your description of the qualities of a true Boaz, helps me to pray more specifically for a Boaz for my daughter!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs November 15, 2012 at 9:49 pm #

      Boaz does serve as a fabulous role model for a future son-in-law, Sherry, Since some of us will never marry, or will spend a goodly portion of our lives without a mate, it’s worth remembering that we already have a Boaz: Jesus, our Kinsman-Redeemer! He is more than we could ever hope for: our first love, our last hope, and all that we need.

  16. Linda H. November 16, 2012 at 9:13 am #

    Is there a book available for the Christmas Bible study?

    • Liz Curtis Higgs November 19, 2012 at 10:24 am #

      Actually, this will be all-new material I’m writing just for my Bible Study Blog! Simply read the blog each week and add your thoughts, as always. During such a busy season, I thought a shorter study might be best. Hope you’ll join us, Linda!

  17. kathy November 17, 2012 at 7:17 am #

    The loss of loved ones is a hard thing to go through – Shauna and Becky, what wonderful Godly mentors you both have been blessed to have in your life. The knowing of being with them again does bring peace. I am thankful for how you shared your heart with us and we are all able to receive from their memory. My heart goes out to all of you that haven’t been able to have children, that is a pain I try only to understand. I’m sorry. Bless your hearts, and I will pray for you to be comforted.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs November 19, 2012 at 10:27 am #

      How it touches my heart to see you minister to one another here, with your prayers and your words of encouragement. Well done, sisters.

      “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5