Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Yeshua Is Our Kinsman-Redeemer

I just finished reading the book of Ruth, and I should say that I love this book in the Bible. It is true a story of strength, honor, respect, sacrifice, beauty and most importantly redemption. And if you are following the theme of my posts, it is always pointing and centered around the central character of all stories - 'Yeshua' Himself...who is our kinsman redeemer.

Ruth is a foreigner, to be precise a moabitess married into a family of Israel. A series of unfortunate events leads to the deaths of her husband, father-in-law and her brother-in-law and a famine that ravages the land. She is left alone with Naomi her mother-in-law who has urged her daughter-in-laws to return to their respective families and not follow her misfortune. Naomi calls herself 'mara' for her life had become bitter. However Ruth sticks around, purposes herself to follow Naomi wherever she would go. She tells her in the famous words of the story "Where You Go, I will go, Your people will be my people and your God will be my God".

The story unfolds as the two women return to Bethlehem. Ruth is gleaning after the harvesters in the fields of Boaz and faithfully brings food back on the table for her mother-in-law. As I read this I see the picture of a beautiful woman, sweating in the fields, working hard to provide for the only family she has. She is in a distant land far away from home called to faithfulness, fulfilling her calling and following the God of Israel.

Incidentally Boaz the landlord happens to be a distant relative of Naomi on her husband's side and hence a kin. He sees Ruth working in his fields and enquires about her. Boaz instructs his servants to leave stalks of grains for her to pick, he has instructed his men servants that no one should touch her or embarass her for picking the gleanings. What a picture of Christ himself, without her knowing, he has ensured her protection and is secretly providing for her.

Naomi on the other hand is worred for Ruth and wants Ruth to settle down (have a home) and instructs her to pursue Boaz during the harvest festival. She instructs her to adorn and perfume herself and to go into the fields and lie down at the feet of Boaz when he has celebrated and has drunk himself to sleep. She instructs her to uncover his feet and ask for his shelter. She obeys all the instructions that her mother-in-law gives. This again is a beautiful picture of submission and obedience. The story continues...Ruth is in the fields as Boaz is sleeping, she unovers his feet and lies at his feet. Startled in the night by something, Boaz wakes up and looks at Ruth and address's her as "Daughter who are you?" at which Ruth replies "I am your servant Ruth," and asked him to spread the corner of his garment over her and tells him "You are my kinsman-redeemer".

The scripture aptly quotes Boaz who replies in this beautiful verses in chapter 3:10 saying:

"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. 11 And now, my daughter, don't be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All my fellow townsmen know that you are a woman of noble character. 12 Although it is true that I am near of kin, there is a kinsman-redeemer nearer than I. 13 Stay here for 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."

Again what a picture of honor and strength!! Boaz doesn't take advantage of the situation, he remembers who he is and is secure in his own calling. Ah! what a picture of strength and honor...though being a rich landlord he is thankful and humbled that Ruth has considered him as her kinsman-redeemer instead of choosing a younger man for herself. I see here again the beautiful expression of "submission" in the dynamics of their relationships, I strength of character, strength of honor, lifting up of each other and most importanlty an aspect that mixes this all up which makes up to be foundational core in our relationship with our savior.

The story continues to reveal the next day Boaz invites the elders of the land to be witness's and give the first opportunity to redeem Naomi's family to a closer relative than himself., That man declines (as it was not profitable for him to do so) and in stead Boaz becomes the kinsman-redeemer and the husband of Ruth. The elders at the gate bless Boaz saying "May the Lord make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built the house of Israel. May you have a standing in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem."

Ruth bears a child through Boaz and the women of Israel now say to Naomi: "Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. May he become famous throughtout Israel! He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons has given him birth." God had turned back the bitterness 'Mara' in the life of Naomi to a blessing, and to something very sweet.

Wow!! what a story of redemption indeed! Ruth and Boaz are in the genealogy tree of Yeshua himself. Their faithfulness, submission and obedience was a picture to us to point to our own kinsman-redeemer who came to redeem us and He paid the price in full. Scripture says He was the first born and has become our elder brother though He is the King of Kings. What I just mentioned is another subject in itself and too much to unpack here....but maybe for some other time...till then keep enjoying your redemption and keep enjoying Him.

Blessings & Shalom,

Sam Kurien.

No comments: