Who Is Your Redeemer?
December 15, 2016 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
The story of Ruth has one of the most heart-warming and fascinating endings of all the stories of the Bible. Ruth is married to Boaz and they have a son. But the story does not end by focusing on Ruth or Boaz or even the son; it concludes with attention on Naomi.
You may recall that chapter 1 focused on Naomi and her devastating losses… in a foreign land, husband dies, sons marry foreign women, barrenness for ten years, then her sons die. One tragedy after another leaving Naomi to exclaim, “I went away full, and the LORD has brought me back empty… the Almighty has brought calamity upon me” (1:21).
One of the main messages of Ruth is that God is faithful to his people even in the midst of tragedy. This is what the women of Bethlehem celebrate with Naomi after Obed is born. “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’” (Rut 4:14-15).
The Lord has not left you this day without a redeemer.
Who was Naomi’s redeemer? Surprisingly, these women celebrate Obed, to whom Ruth has given birth, as Naomi’s redeemer. Not Boaz. Not Ruth. Obed. How is a little baby “a restorer of life” and “a nourisher of your old age”? In a patriarchal society where a male descendent is necessary to maintain the inheritance, this son was Naomi’s redemption from destitution, poverty, and namelessness.
This little baby, of whom we know very little, is a beautiful foreshadow and parallel to another promised child. Another son was promised to be a restorer of life, not only to one widow in 1100 BC, but for the whole world. Isaiah captures this promise in a beautiful juxtaposition of darkness and light.
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined… For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this. (Isa 9:2, 6-7)
Just like Naomi, we are those “people who walked in darkness.” But God has not left us in the darkness. A “great light” has shone for us. How? Why? “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given.” This promised child is a restorer of life and a nourisher of our old age. The story of Ruth points us to the truth that God has not left us this day without a redeemer. The story of Ruth points us to the son born for us. Jesus Christ. The story of Ruth is a foreshadow of the Christmas story.
Be encouraged this Christmas. No matter the darkness in which you walk, the Lord has not left you this day without a redeemer.