Naomi and Ruth’s ‘kinsman-redeemer’….and the Good Shepherd

1 06 2011

DAY ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY SEVEN : Ruth 3 v. 1 – 4 v. 22; John 9 v. 35 – 10 v. 21; Psalm 62 v. 1 – 12

Ruth and Boaz at the Threshing-Floor – Naomi has been thinking things through, and can see Boaz as the kinsman-redeemer Ruth needs, so she gets Ruth to dress up, perfume herself and go and lie at Boaz’s feet after his hard days night at the threshing floor. When Ruth does this, Boaz is deeply touched by her devotion, and that she has not chased after younger men, but realises that there’s a closer kinsman-redeemer who ought to be asked first, before Boaz takes Ruth as his wife. He sends Ruth back to Naomi (early enough in the morning before anyone would know that she had been there) with six measures of barley, and Ruth fills Naomi in on everything that had happened.

Boaz Marries Ruth – before the whole town (at the gate), Boaz meets with the closer kinsman-redeemer, and brings ten town elders as witnesses. There is the redeeming of Elimelech’s land to deal with first (witness Boaz’s integrity and honesty, once again), which the closer relative confirms he will buy. When Boaz goes on to state that whoever owns that land takes on the care of the widow(s), the closer relative declines, and passes the offer right back to Boaz. As a sign that this transaction is final (‘is that your final answer?’), the man takes off his sandal (ancient Israeli custom). Boaz states clearly, before the witnesses he has assembled, that he is buying Elimelech’s land from Naomi, and that he takes Ruth as his wife, to continue Elimelech’s family name. The witnesses approve the actions, and add their blessing :
‘May you have standing in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. Through the offspring the Lord gives you by this young woman, may your family be like that of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah.’

Well, Ruth and Boaz will have a very impressive family tree, long into the future, so their blessing is well answered!
Just note the care Boaz has gone to, to ensure it’s all above-board, and seen to be very well thought through and approved.

The Genealogy of David –
and so for the punchline of this little, inspiring, heart-warming book…
‘So Boaz took Ruth as his wife…and the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son…
‘Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel!’ the women said to Naomi.
And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.’

Wow !! See how God works through the bold, simple and faithful decisions human beings make, bringing His great master-plan into being. Boaz, the kinsman-redeemer becomes the great-grandfather of King David, and the many-times-great grandfather of ‘The Redeemer’ himself. All because of Ruth’s faithfulness to her mother-in-law.
Amazing story.

Spiritual Blindness – so, yesterday we read of Jesus bringing sight to the man born blind. Yet it seems it is the Pharisees who are truly blind to who Jesus is, so the conversation today is all about spiritual blindness.

I just keep remembering God’s first words in Genesis : ‘Let there be light’, and Jesus being ‘Light for the world’ – God is in the business of illumination !!.

Jesus meets the man He’d given sight to, once again, and asks him if he believes in the Son of Man, who He says is standing right in front of him.
‘Then the man said, ‘Lord, I believe’, and he worshipped him.’
It’s the Pharisees, in their unbelief, who remain ‘blind’, and whose guilt remains though they are claiming they can see.
‘For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind’.

The Shepherd and His Flock – having been speaking about those who see and those who don’t Jesus continues to teach about those who hear His voice and those who don’t, by talking about shepherds as opposed to thieves and robbers. A shepherd enters the sheep pen through the gate, whilst robbers climb in another way. But the shepherd
‘call his own sheep by name and he leads them out…his sheep follow him because they know his voice.’
‘I am the gate for the sheep…whoever enters through me will be saved…
I am the good shepherd…who lays down his life for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd…I know my sheep and my sheep know my me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep.
I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.’

and Jesus concludes His talk claiming authority from the Father, and stating that no-one will take His life from Him, He will lay it down and take it up again.
These words Jesus speaks divide opinion, some again claiming He is demon-possessed, others that He can’t possibly be demon-possessed and do and say all that they are experiencing.

the image of the shepherd and the sheep is a powerful one – the shepherd protects the sheep, goes after those that are lost or hurt, leads the sheep to ‘still waters’ and good pasture, and at times literally lays down his life for the sheep (lying across the gateway into the sheep pen as ultimate protection for the sheep, safe inside) – a strong image when you realise, also, that this Shepherd is the Lamb of God – both/and!

‘My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I shall never be shaken.’
‘Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.’




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