Up to this point, we have looked at the kind of Husband and Wife we as Christians need to be looking for. I want to turn now and explore the topic of redemption. We see the term Redeemer show up a few times in Ruth. Boaz is called a Redeemer, but what exactly is a redeemer and why is it so important as we study Ruth and look into the dating and marriage topic of the bible?
The Jewish people were given a set of laws in the old testament and one law was about redeeming property and people in Leviticus 25. The whole chapter is about what God requires when redeeming people and property and in most cases that was land redemption. Please go read this chapter, it’s an interesting look at how God designed the redemption process.
When we get to the story of Ruth, we see this young woman that lost Her husband due to death and when she arrives at his mother in law’s hometown she meets Boaz and her Mother In Law says that Boaz is a ‘close relative of ours; one of our redeemers’. This is important because Ruth and Her mother in law were poor due to the loss of the husbands that died and the fact that this was a time of famine. Ruth was only bringing home enough to survive from how it looks when reading. Boaz was giving her more than needed and blessing her with wheat and barley.
Break right here and let’s look at something really fast. It says something important. Ruth 3:4 Naomi tells Ruth, “Then go…” and in Ruth 3:6 says that Ruth “went”. Women sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes if you’re interested in a guy, you might have to make the first move. Boaz would have never made the first move on Ruth. Yeah, he blessed her with a job, food, and support, but he was the manager of the field. He was also a good, righteous, and God-fearing man that cared about others. Woman, consider making the first move on that guy you like. I also want to point something else out, before Ruth makes her move, she has a plan. She was going to wait until Boaz drunk and lie down. So timing is important too. Make your move but consider the timing of that move that you will make.
Even after Ruth makes her move, he doesn’t just jump into what he is seeking, but Boaz considers the rights of others. He tells Ruth that there is another redeemer that is closer than Boaz and that in the morning he will tell him and give the other redeemer a chance to redeem Ruth.
Now think of this as a business deal. Naomi has a piece of land that she is going to sell for money. According to the law you can sell land to your redeemer. So in this deal, the land comes with a woman that was not of the same people, she was a Moabite. According to Jewish law, close relatives would have to sleep with the wife of the dead, in order that the dead would continue to have offspring. So the redeemed Ruth would have to sleep with Ruth and give her kids so that her dead husband Elimelech would have offspring for that land that belongs to Elimelech. This requirement is found in Deuteronomy 25:5–10. This whole thing is weird in our western 21st-century thinking, so don’t try to understand this idea from a scientific viewpoint. Now, when the redeemer hears that the Moabite woman Ruth was part of the deal, he changes his mind and allows Boaz to buy the land instead.
If you read Deuteronomy 25:5–10, Ruth 3, and Leviticus 25, you will gain a better understanding of this Jewish law and the way their culture dealt with this very weird process.
Notice how this redeemer isn’t named in the bible. His name is not recorded for a reason. He had a responsibility to redeem the land and Ruth for the name of Elimelech, but he was only interested in his own self-centered desires to use this land to make more money for the 6 years that he would be allowed to use the land. This guy didn’t care about Ruth, he cared about the land, money, six years, and not about Ruth and Elimelech’s right to have his name live on (Ruth 4:5). Women stay away from these guys that are success-driven and money-driven and don’t care about the welfare of the people around them. Boaz was a successful man too, but his workers loved him and he took care of foreigners. Find a man like that.
So, this amazing story ends with Ruth getting married to her dream husband Boaz. Right at the bottom, it gives the genealogy of Boaz. It ends with David. David the king of the jews. That other redeemer had a chance, an opportunity to be part of the genealogy of a king, which was the first righteous king, who is called a “Man After God’s Own Heart”, but he was money and success driven and not driven to following the ways of God. And Boaz receives an amazing name that lives on as “Find your Boaz”. Think about that for a minute. 5000 years later, I’m in Starbucks telling you to find your Boaz.
The Meaning Behind The Story…
The Book of Ruth is a great love story of two lovers finding each other, but it’s important to look at the bigger picture. In 25 to 28 different places in the bible the word redeemer pops up, it depends on how the verses get translated, but only less than 30 times. So that is why we don’t hear this word that much in church. David, the King of the Jews wrote in Psalms 19:14 “You Lord, are my rock and my redeemer”. David calls God his redeemer, why? Well, the old testament law was always pointing to something or someone (Jesus) and what this is pointing to is the fact that I and you are broke. We are broken to the core of our existence. We are completely separated from the riches of God. We have nothing to offer, no amount of our good deeds can save us. We need to be bought out of this famine life that we are put into. We need to be bought out of this famine sinful dark life. The prophets looked forward to a future salvation of the redeemer and we as Christians look back at the salvation of the redeemer. Christ Jesus paid the price in full on the cross. He bought the sinful famine dark land of despair that we are standing on and along with the land of sin, he bought me and you, with his blood on that cross. Jesus is the Church’s Boaz.
“He gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for Himself a people for His own possession, eager to do good works.” – Titus 2:14