What does it mean to be redeemed? How does it happen? Who can be redeemed? What action must be taken to achieve this status?
One of my favorite passages in the Bible is found in the book of Ruth. There is a lot we can learn from Ruth’s story but I want us to focus on what we read in chapter 3 of this book. If you are unfamiliar with Ruth take a minute and read her story in your Bible, or check out this article.
Got it? Okay good! So Ruth has come a long way since she left Moab. She finds herself in a barley field at the feet of a wealthy man named Boaz.
Here we go!
So she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do. When Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits, he went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile. Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down. In the middle of the night something startled the man; he turned—and there was a woman lying at his feet! “Who are you?” he asked. “I am your servant Ruth,” she said. “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a guardian-redeemer of our family.” -Ruth 3:6-9
I must admit, my first thought after reading this is . . . creepy. He woke up and she was there in his room laying at his feet? Weird. We must remember the time period this happened in and the customs of that day. Ruth was doing as Naomi instructed her. There is a lot of wisdom in how direct Ruth is here. She asks for exactly what she needs – redemption. She humbled herself before Boaz and was as transparent as she could be. She needed help. She needed saving. She needed him. What a beautiful example of how we as sinners are to approach God for salvation! It really is that simple. Realize you need it and then just ask.
“The Lord bless you, my daughter,” he replied. “This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character. . . . . So she lay at his feet until morning, but got up before anyone could be recognized; and he said, “No one must know that a woman came to the threshing floor.” He also said, “Bring me the shawl you are wearing and hold it out.” When she did so, he poured into it six measures of barley and placed the bundle on her. Then he went back to town. When Ruth came to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked, “How did it go, my daughter?” Then she told her everything Boaz had done for her and added, “He gave me these six measures of barley, saying, ‘Don’t go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’” Ruth 3:10-17
After Ruth made her request to Boaz her was gracious in giving her an answer right then. He didn’t say “let me think about this a while”. Right there on the floor he told her he would do ALL she asked for and needed. If you are married……you know this is not a typical male response to a big request right? But Boaz doesn’t hesitate. He is in love with her at first sight and he doesn’t need time to analyze, he is confident and promises her redemption. Not only does he affirm her request, but then he gives her a token to take away. He gives her provisions to return home with. He equips her with everything she needs. This 88lbs of barley she now has strapped to her back are proof that she is his. It is a sign and affirmation that Boaz is indeed redeeming her. It is a sign to the people who encounter her on the trip home, to Naomi, and to Ruth herself.
In the same way, when we ask God for salvation, He will always answer yes! When we become His child, we know it without a doubt just as Ruth knew by the 88lbs of barley she carried that she had been redeemed.
Then Naomi said, “Wait, my daughter, until you find out what happens. For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today.” Ruth 3:18
I love this verse. Naomi is saying to Ruth to just hang tight, Boaz will not rest until she is his completely. The same is true with God. As a redeemed child of God we can rest assured He will not rest until each of His children are home in Heaven with Him. What a blessed assurance to know my King is waiting for me and will never stop loving me!
Meanwhile Boaz went up to the town gate and sat down there just as the guardian-redeemer he had mentioned came along. Boaz said, “Come over here, my friend, and sit down.” So he went over and sat down. Boaz took ten of the elders of the town and said, “Sit here,” and they did so. Then he said to the guardian-redeemer, “Naomi, who has come back from Moab, is selling the piece of land that belonged to our relative Elimelek. I thought I should bring the matter to your attention and suggest that you buy it in the presence of these seated here and in the presence of the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, do so. But if you will not, tell me, so I will know. For no one has the right to do it except you, and I am next in line.” “I will redeem it,” he said.
Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the land from Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the dead man’s widow, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property.” At this, the guardian-redeemer said, “Then I cannot redeem it because I might endanger my own estate. You redeem it yourself. I cannot do it.” (Now in earlier times in Israel, for the redemption and transfer of property to become final, one party took off his sandal and gave it to the other. This was the method of legalizing transactions in Israel.) So the guardian-redeemer said to Boaz, “Buy it yourself.” And he removed his sandal.
Then Boaz announced to the elders and all the people, “Today you are witnesses that I have bought from Naomi all the property of Elimelek, Kilion and Mahlon. I have also acquired Ruth the Moabite, Mahlon’s widow, as my wife, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property, so that his name will not disappear from among his family or from his hometown. Today you are witnesses. Ruth 4:1-10
In this passage, and from studying the times a bit, we learn there are a few requirements of being able to buy the land of someone who has died. First, you must be a close relative of the person (Lev. 25:25). Second, you must have the financial means to buy the property back (Ruth 2:1). Third, you needed to be willing to assume the responsibility of all of it (Deut. 5). Boaz fulfilled all of these requirements, and so does Jesus!
In breaking this down a bit, Boaz now has to tell Ruth there is a kink in his plan to redeem here. A kink in the form of this one dude who is closer kin than Boaz is, this man will have the first rights at things. This fellow met the first to requirements, but we quickly learn that he does not want Ruth. When the guy hears that in addition to the land he must take Ruth as his wife and raise her children he takes a quick exit from the deal. That must have made Boaz get pretty fired up that someone was rejecting the woman he found so incredibly valuable. So the man takes of his shoe and hands it to Boaz, essentially saying “I don’t want her, she’s all yours”.
For you and me, this man who rejected Ruth is representative of the Law! It laid claims on us, but was not able to redeem us. All it could do was condemn us as unworthy in its sight. Like this man, the Law made a weak effort at redemption, but it was unable to carry through to the end of the matter. This is what Paul tells us about the Law, in the book of Romans.
Then the elders and all the people at the gate said, “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the family of Israel. May you have standing in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. Through the offspring the Lord gives you by this young woman, may your family be like that of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah.” Ruth 4:11-12
I love this part so much! The deal has been done. Redemption of Ruth has been sealed. The crowd has gathered around and they are all celebrating. In the first part of Ruth’s story people called her “the Moabite” and spoke lowly of her. Now . . . she is called “woman” and is compared with Rachel and Leah who essentially gave birth to all of Israel. What am I saying? They elevated Ruth’s standing in society! She is no longer this lowly piece of unwanted junk. Today she is made new. Valuable in the sight of her redeemer and of everyone around her. No longer an outcast to society, but now a welcomed member of the family. Do you see the correlation with our salvation? When God redeems us we are a new creation in Him. We are loved. We are not who we once were. We are HIS!
Lastly we see the people praising Boaz for this wonderful act he has done for Ruth. In the same way, when we are redeemed we are to praise God for the amazing thing He has done for us. He has found us as the sinners we are and loved us so much that he paid the highest price for our redemption. He is so worthy to be praised!
Thank you Father for saving me. Thank you for redeeming me. Thank you for loving me that much. I pray I will always remember what You have done for me and I will never take it for granted. Help me to grow into a constant state of praise and worship to you. I pray that those around me will see what an amazing Redeemer You are and will come running into your arms. I can’t wait to be with you in Heaven! How wonderful it will be to sit at Your feet and look into Your eyes. Until then, Father, let me be a willing and obedient vessel to share Your love with those who have not seen it yet. Amen
Did you enjoy this story from the life of Ruth? Want to know more? Have any questions?
This post is part of our Wednesday Jesus & Coffee Linkup. Our theme for the month of May is Redemption but we are open to all faith-based post! Click on the blue frog below to add your link!