“The Redeemer will come to Zion,
to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,”
declares the Lord.
(Isaiah 59:20, NIV)
Everyone can use help at some point in their life. Throughout the world, when a family loses a loved one, friends band together to help them, often in the form of providing food and/or companionship. This concept is not a new one. God recognized and acknowledged the difficulties of losing a family member, especially a spouse, when He gave Moses the Law.
We see this law in action in the book of Ruth. Naomi, a widow, also loses her sons and returns in poverty to her homeland, with her daughter-in-law Ruth. Reduced to the lowest position in society, Ruth crosses paths with Boaz, who eventually claims the responsibility as Naomi and Ruth’s “kinsman-redeemer.” God laid out to Moses, who relayed it to the people of Israel, exactly how widows were to be cared for. The men responsible for caring for the widows were called their redeemers. This law is one of the central points of the book of Ruth.
Naomi and Ruth had no money, no land, and no one to provide for them or help them. Their closest male family members had all died, leaving them alone. Boaz, upon learning of their predicament and discovering his distant relation to them, took it upon himself to fulfill the role of their kinsman-redeemer. He fulfilled his responsibility by caring for and providing financially for Naomi and Ruth. He also fulfilled another part of the law by marrying Ruth and providing her with children.
The book of Ruth is a powerful foreshadowing of how God will establish a redeemer for all mankind. Like Naomi and Ruth, we too need help in our lives. We all need someone to redeem us from sin. Like Boaz, Jesus willingly took that responsibility upon Himself. Unlike Boaz, Jesus had to die to redeem us.
In the story of Ruth, the problem is a financial one. While we all may have our own financial issues for which we could use a redeemer, the financial problem in Ruth is a metaphor for living a life of sin. We are all enslaved to sin. We cannot free ourselves, nor anyone else, from it. Sin holds power over our lives. Boaz redeemed Naomi and Ruth by providing financially and making sure all their needs were met. Jesus redeemed all of mankind by dying to free us from our sinful lives. He paid our debt.
So what does this mean for us? Jesus paid the debt of your sin, of my sin. He has redeemed us in the eyes of God, purifying us to be in His presence. In order to receive His redemption, we must repent of our sins, accepting the cleansing offered to us. The redeemed are those who repent. Are you redeemed? Have you repented? Spend some time in prayer with God to learn the answers.
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