Thursday, October 3
Meanwhile Boaz went up to the town gate and sat there. When the kinsman-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 kinsman-redeemer, “Naomi, who has come back from Moab is selling the piece of land that belonged to our brother Elimelech. 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. (Ruth 4: 1-4)
Unless we have been raised knowing Jewish traditions, we may oblivious to the true meaning and symbolism of the book of Ruth.
To us, it is a beautiful love story: Ruth is a widow and destitute. Boaz tells his workers to leave extra grain for her to gather so she has enough to eat. Later, he starts to notice her among his servant girls. When she obeys the Kinsman-Redeemer Law and shows up one night lying humbly at his feet, he realizes that he loves her and decides to marry her. We sigh and say, “How romantic!” If this is all we get from this Bible passage, we have completely missed the message God has for us!
As you know, nearly every part of the Bible has a deeper message or symbolism. The story of Ruth and Boaz is no exception.
In Ephesians 5: 25-27, Paul explains how marriage is a symbol of the relationship between Christ and us, the church: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word and to present her to himself as a radiant church without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”
Ruth identified Boaz as her “kinsman-redeemer.” This is significant because Boaz is a symbol of Christ and Ruth symbolizes all of us who have been saved or will be saved. In order for Boaz to marry Ruth, whom he loved, he had to pursue her, but there was a serious obstacle: Jewish law said that because he was not Ruth’s closest relative, he could not automatically be her kinsman-redeemer and marry her. The closest relative had first dibs on buying Ruth’s deceased husband’s land and marrying Ruth. Boaz had to get permission to take this relative’s place as kinsman-redeemer. As it turned out, the relative wanted the land.
I am sure that at that moment Boaz’s heart dropped. He couldn’t marry Ruth. But Boaz didn’t give up. Later in chapter 4, we discover that Boaz continues to pursue Ruth, using the law’s forfeiture clause as leverage. Boaz wouldn’t stop trying until he was absolutely sure that all possibilities were exhausted.
Has there ever been a time when you felt that God was prompting you to do something, but you kept hitting brick walls every time you tried to accomplish it? Did you give up, discouraged and despondent, or did you keep pursuing that calling until you were able to break through the barriers?
Jesus loves us the way Boaz loved Ruth. Like Boaz, Jesus didn’t give up on us. He kept pursuing us, taking whatever steps were necessary to guarantee a relationship with his beloved.
Sister, I am overwhelmed when I think about everything Jesus went through to become our “Kinsman-Redeemer.” He gave up everything that made Him God. He became a man so that He could qualify as our “Kinsman.” He then pursued us all the way to the cross. By having victory over sin and death, Jesus became our “Redeemer.”
For further reading: Deut. 7:6-9; Jeremiah 31:3; 1 John 1:9
Dear Lord, I can’t begin to thank You for loving me and pursuing me. I am overwhelmed by what Jesus went through to make it possible for me to become Your child. Wash me with the water of Your word, and let me experience Christ more deeply every day. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.