Wonderful redemption

Ruth 4:14-17 “Then the women said to Naomi, ‘Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.’ Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her lap and became his nurse. And the women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, ‘A son has been born to Naomi.’ They named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.”

The story of Ruth is above and beyond all else, a story of redemption. And what an awesome thing this is!  It’s a word that means “to buy back,” or “to restore by means of a payment.”  The story of Naomi and her daughter-in-law Ruth begins with great loss, that of the life of Naomi’s husband as well as the lives of her two sons. One of those sons was Ruth’s husband.  Death is the ultimate loss. It’s the ultimate effect of sin.  In every way, shape, and form, that’s what sin has given this world.  In the beginning, Adam and Eve enjoyed a fellowship with the Lord that was unimaginable. There was no sin, just wonderful fellowship with one another with every need met. There was no sickness, no pain, and no lack. There was no guilt, for there had been nothing for which to feel this emotional pain. Everything was good and right and wonderful. But then man sinned, and all was lost.  Now there was death, pain, tears, sorrow, and every other negative thing that now exists, while all that was wonderful and good had been lost. This loss passed to all who came afterward.  And in this Biblical story, we see its effects on both Naomi and Ruth. 

With the death of Ruth and Naomi’s husbands and Naomi’s sons came the loss of a sense of well-being that those relationships had given them. Now they faced loneliness, sorrow, and poverty.  As Naomi said, “Do not call me Naomi (which means ‘my delight’); call me Mara (which means ‘bitter’, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me” (Ruth 1:20). 

What a picture this is of the curse that has touched each and every one of us. What a picture of the effects of sin.  But, wonderfully, the story of Ruth and Naomi didn’t end there.  In the law of Israel that God had established, there was provision for a redeemer to restore what had been lost to a widow.  That redeemer had to be a kinsman, i.e., a person from that same family.  As the story of Ruth unfolds, that kinsman turns out to be Boaz.  He buys back the land that Naomi’s husband Elimelech had left by his death, and he marries the widow, Ruth.  It is as a result of that marriage that a son is born to Ruth, but in a sense that son was also born to Naomi as her grandson.  It was in this birth that one of the sons of Naomi was, in a sense, restored to her. More than that, it is because of Ruth’s great love toward Naomi that she was considered “more to (Naomi) than seven sons.” 

And so we see in this story of redemption how all of both Ruth and Naomi’s losses had been restored.  What a wonderful shadow this is of the work of Christ, the ultimate Redeemer, Who would one day come from Ruth and Naomi’s line.  You see, it is in this Son that our redemption lies.  All the loss that sin has brought upon us, all the pain, tears, guilt, and death that effect our lives, can become nothing but a faint memory in the redemption of Christ. 

Yet, strangely,  the thing that keeps so many from this redemption is that they still cling to the remnants that seem so precious to them because they have lost so much.  We cling to our money, our relationships, and the pleasures of sin which are such inferior substitutes for the eternal peace and joy that we could have in Christ. 

It was as Jesus humbled Himself to become a man, and thereby “the Son of Man,” that he became one of our kin. It was in that kinship that He was qualified to redeem us by the price He paid on the cross.  It was in that almighty act of redemption that the believer has restored to him or her everything they might have lost as a result of sin.  It is as the believer gives up the remnants that the effects of sin have left them with that the gift of full redemption comes. 

Throughout the Bible we have many pictures of this. We see it in the case of Naomi and Ruth as described above. We also see it in the case of Job.  Here was a man that lost everything because of the wicked attacks of Satan, yet in the end “the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10). We see it in the story of Joseph, sold by his own brothers into slavery, languishing in prison for crimes he had not committed, yet raised to the right hand of Pharaoh in the end.  As Joseph revealed his identity to his terrified brothers he said, “’Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.’ Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them” (Genesis 50:19-21). 

Many believers have lost their possessions and sacrificed relationships for the sake of Christ, yet we have been told by Jesus, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life (Mark 10:29-30).”  And this from the apostle Paul: “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead (Philippians 3:7-11).”

You see, the redeemed will lose nothing, for as the joint-heirs with Christ, everything they have ever lost will all be restored, and restored a hundred-fold!  So, have you joined the ranks of Ruth and Naomi? Have you joined the ranks of the redeemed?  If not, know that whatever you are clinging to will only be lost in the end. You see, our Redeemer has promised us that “For to the one who has (i.e., the one who has Him), more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away” (Matthew 13:12).

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