The story of Ruth: the redeemed begat the Redeemer

Devotional thoughts for the month of November 2019

(Click here to read Monday Musings ... where I discuss the thinking that led to this article.)

“So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the Lord gave her conception, and she bare a son. And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the Lord, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel. And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him. And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse unto it. And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed: he is the father of Jesse, the father of David.” (Ruth 4:13–17, KJV)

The book of Ruth gives the contemporary reader a glimpse into the cultural roots of redemption. You see, God placed many safeguards over his people — over both their names and their inheritance — but present-day readers (and especially those in western cultures) may find the details of redemption strange.

In Naomi's case, both her husband and her sons had died; this effectively ended that family’s name. But under the rules of redemption, a relative might choose to redeem any property (and even raise up progeny) in the name of the dead. The redeemer had a threefold requirement: he must be a blood relative; he must be willing to redeem and he must be able to pay the price of redemption. Boaz fits these three requirements.

Understanding these requirements helps us to see why Jesus took on flesh and dwelt among us. He is our Savior — and of that I am glad! But more specifically, he is our Redeemer. We were dead in sin. We had no hope of life or inheritance. But Jesus was willing to save us. Plus, since Jesus was sinless, he was able to save us. But that’s only two out of three. Was he related?

This is where Christmas comes in. Jesus took on flesh to become our kin. The instant he was born, Jesus fulfilled the kinship requirement, becoming the only person — anywhere or ever — who could redeem the sinful world. Many people fit two of the requirements, being human and be willing to sacrifice their life for the life of another. But that doesn’t cut it. God requires the sacrifice of a sinless life to redeem from sin, and only Jesus fits that requirement.

Redemption, as part of the saving process, gives us more detail about our privileges. My once dead and useless person has been redeemed. I have been placed into God's family and into the lineage of Jesus Christ. I now have an eternal name and an eternal home. I am secure forever.

Now Ruth, the redeemed of Boaz, was not a Jew; she was a daughter of Moab. Yet she became David’s great-grandmother. How dare God place her in the messianic line! Ruth’s extreme love for her mother-in-law, Naomi, put her over the top. Ruth declared that Naomi's God would become her God; Naomi’s people would become her people — and God listened to those vows!

God injected Ruth into the messianic line. Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, would have her DNA… and to that I say, how fitting! Ruth, the quintessentially redeemed person, begat the Redeemer… and if you ever feel like a second-class citizen in the household of God, think again. You — the foreigner — have been redeemed!

(Mainsail Ministries articles often have a preamble where I discuss the thinking that went into them. These are called Monday Musings — and if you haven’t read the one associated with this article about false gods — consider doing so at the following link: 20191028 The story of Ruth. How the redeemed begat the Redeemer).

(For comments, or to join the Monday Musings mailing list, contact us at mainsailep@gmail.com)