Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Our Brother Redeemer

It's been a while since I've written any posts, and for that I apologize, especially to my random readers from outside the country (I don't know who you are or how you found me, but you guys are awesome!). And by "a while," I mean about nine weeks. Between editing my first book for a third time, starting its sequel, getting engaged, and going with my fiance to multiple different doctor's appointments, life was just so busy I didn't have time to think of what I would blog about, let alone do my research and write the blog.
But today I am here to put that to an end! For now, that is.

That being said, last week my daily bible study found me in the book of Ruth. This tiny book, sandwiched between Judges and 1 Samuel, is often overlooked because of its size. Despite that, the story of Ruth is an amazing one. For those who don't know the story, allow me to summarize.

There was once a woman named Naomi who had two sons. She and her husband and sons moved to Moab, where the sons married two Moabite women. Within ten years, both Naomi's husband and her two sons had died, leaving her with her daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth. Naomi, wanting now to return to her own people, urged the girls to stay with their own and find new husbands. While Orpah took the offer, Ruth refused to let her dear mother-in-law return home alone. In an act of loyalty, Ruth proclaimed, "Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God."
When they got back to Judah, Naomi remembered her husband's relative, Boaz, who owned many fields. She instructed Ruth to follow his workers and gather what they left behind in their harvesting. Boaz took kindness on her and told her to gather only in his field, where she would be safe from those who wished to take advantage of her. Meanwhile, he told his workers to leave extra behind so she and Naomi would have plenty to eat.
Now, in biblical times, if a woman was widowed, it was the job of the nearest relative on the husband's side to redeem her in marriage so she would not be left husbandless. Knowing that Boaz was related to her husband, Naomi sent Ruth to appeal to him. When Ruth found Boaz, he was working on his threshing floor, and she waited until he stopped to eat supper and rest before she made her appeal. Then Boaz, wanting to be fair, told Ruth that there was someone nearer of kin than he, who he would seek out and see if the other man was willing to marry Ruth. He also said that if the kinsman-redeemer was unwilling that he would, "as surely as the Lord lives," do it himself. He then, invited Ruth to sleep at his feet that night so she would not have to walk home in the dark and be vulnerable to predators of the night.

For a while, I thought the main point of Ruth's story in the bible narrative was simple because it is the story of King David's great-grandparents. But this time, something struck me that was so much deeper, especially when reading verse 13 of chapter 3 where Boaz says, "Stay the night, and in the morning if he wants to redeem, good; let him redeem. But if he is not willing, as surely as the Lord lives I will do it. Lie here until morning."
Boaz and Ruth's story is so much more than just a story of David's lineage, it is also an excellent parallel of God and us. Boaz took in Ruth as a protector when she was dirty, homeless, and rejected, sending her away with the food she needed to survive. God in the same way protects us from the forces of darkness and provides us with what we need to survive in this sin battered world. He pursues us further by instructing us to turn to no one else for protection and provision, knowing none else could satisfy our hearts like He could in the same way Boaz told Ruth to work only in his fields where even his workers would protect her from harm. And in the same way Boaz stepped in to fulfill a law that Ruth could not fulfill by herself, God came down to our level to show us His love by fulfilling the Law which we could not keep on our own so that we may live the life he designed for us to live--one where we are not vulnerable, alone, or unloved.

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