(Today’s post by Adam Cooper)
Ruth 3, 4
I was kind of in the same boat as Marc this week. When I first found out I was to write about the last two chapters of Ruth I was dumbfounded. I knew the story of Ruth and the kinsman redeemer. I had sat through the Bible studies that talk about the redemption that we have through Christ and the story of Ruth and Boaz is one of many in the Old Testament that secretly foreshadows the redemption of mankind through the cross. I figured that if I already had heard these things then surely everyone reading this blog has as well. So I set out to look at these two chapters differently than I had before and failed miserably.
Moses uttered the law of the kinsman redeemer from Mt. Sinai in Leviticus 25:23-34. Sandwiched between the year of Jubilee and being kind to the poor, Moses lays out God’s plan to keep the lineage of the Jewish people intact by providing a way for a close relative of a deceased male Jew to assume his lineage and property (of which the wife was a part). It was the duty of these kinsmen to do this for their relative in order to keep the family (overall) intact.
From Marc’s write up on the first two chapters of Ruth we see a number of traits that are present in the character of Ruth that God wants to instill in us through this story: Loyalty – Character – Courage – Initiative – Hard Work – Selflessness – Faith. From today’s reading I wanted to add a few to that list that Boaz brings to the table: honor, responsibility, devotion, and sacrifice.
Boaz was a descendant of Rahab. Remember Rahab? The prostitute from Joshua 2 that God used to shelter the spies sent to recon the city of Jericho. And now enter into the story Ruth, a Moabitess, not a Jew but someone who had married into a Jewish family. So let’s break this down simply: Ruth offers herself to Boaz so that her husband’s lineage and property may be redeemed and Boaz, grateful at the offer, tells her that he is not the closest relative and does not have the right to redeem (honor). He does acknowledge that he knows the one that has the right and that he will address the issue with him and if not then the right will be his (responsibility). The true kinsman redeemer refuses to redeem because he is scared of hurting his own estate (selfishness) and immediately Boaz assumes the right and exercises it (responsibility and self-sacrifice) for the family (devotion). Through this redemption continues the line that would become Christ’s lineage on Earth.
So how does this serve us today? What is our take-away?
I said it at the beginning and I repeat it now; Jesus is our kinsman redeemer. We are Ruth, an outsider. We are not Jews. We are not God’s chosen people. God provided a myriad of lifetimes for the Jews to get things right and they completely failed but what we have to remember is that even then God knew the plan. He knew that the Jews were only one part of the entire equation. He knew that He is not only the God of the Jews but He is THE God; the One and Only, the Alpha and the Omega. He is the God of all people and throughout history He has been orchestrating this great symphony of redemption that is told throughout the Bible. Adam and Eve: sinned but redeemed. Noah: sinned and redeemed. Abraham: sinned and redeemed. Moses: sinned and redeemed. Mankind: sinned and redeemed. What the story of Ruth hammers home is that it doesn’t matter who we are or where we are from or what we have done we have a kinsman redeemer in Jesus that can make it all right again. We are adopted through Christ’s actions on the Cross into His family.
Knowing that our salvation is secure and that Grace and Redemption are in no way controlled by our works my questions for today are:
What are you doing with your redemption? In other words, are you producing fruit for the Kingdom of God or are you withering on the vine? Are you simply gleaning from the fields of those that have gone before you or are you harvesting what you have sowed?