The book of Ruth is an incredible story of redemption. The story begins with Naomi and her husband leaving God’s presence to flee the famine in the land. Immediately we find the stunning reality of deception! Understand if you live for God long enough you will find yourself in a famine, but DO NOT listen to the voice of deception! The voice of deception will attempt to point your gaze towards “greener” pastures. Never be mistaken, the scriptures emphatically teach us “…sin is pleasurable for a season…” But like a narcotic the high will never sustain you past the moment, instead it will leave you crashing down to earth desperately seeking another high! Don’t abandon God’s plan now, don’t settle for the plains of Moab because Israel’s in a famine. This famine won’t last forever, you may be weeping now but if you’ll just hold on through the famine joy is coming in the morning!
As we progress through the book, we discover 2 daughter-in-laws, Ruth and Orpah. Both of these girls have verbally pledged their loyalty to Naomi. They plead with Naomi to take them back to her land and to her people. These girls were undoubtedly committed until Naomi began to count the cost. Once the cost had been counted the Bible says that Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clave unto her.
Orpah was content to simply kiss Naomi, but Ruth was committed beyond the emotion! She said “…whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people will be my people, and thy God my God.” There must come a point in every believers life where we move beyond the infatuation stage and become committed to God! If you idea of relationship consists of the highs of worship rather than the depths of prayer, you might have an Orpah spirit! But if you’ve made up in your mind, I’m holding onto to this thing with everything I’ve got! I’m not letting go of this great truth! I didn’t get into the church to kiss this thing, I’m committed to the plan of God!
I love what the Bible records next in Ruth 1:18, “When she saw that she was steadfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her.” In 2014 vernacular Ruth 1:18 says, “When she saw Ruth had made up her mind…” There are a lot of people who would love to talk you out of doing anything for God, but if you could ever make up your mind! Critics can’t critique people with a made up mind! Negativity can’t influence people with a made up mind! The devil is powerless against people with a made up mind! I think it’s time somebody stopped playing games with your mind and just steadfastly set your mind to do the will of God!
It was when Ruth made up her mind that she found herself in a position to be redeemed! The reality of redemption is God is a gentleman, and he will never kick open a door into your life. Instead he stands at the door and knocks. So once Ruth became eligible for redemption, there was a legal matter that had to be addressed first. There was a close of kin closer than Boaz, who had the legal right to redeem Naomi. He was fine with this, in fact I’m sure he even relished at the opportunity to redeem her. Naomi had a lot to offer this fellow, her bloodline was untarnished, she had property and an inheritance. What was there not to like about Naomi? But the unsettling truth was whoever redeemed Naomi, would also redeem Ruth. Ruth was different than Naomi; you see Ruth didn’t grow up in Israel, she was a Moabite. The kinsman redeemer weighed the reality of such an agreement and he decided the risk of Ruth’s “tarnished goods” were too big of a risk for his legacy.
Ruth 4 tells us that Boaz and this man met with the elders at the gate of the city, as the kinsman redeemer turned over his rights to Boaz. Ruth 4:7 tells us, “Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbor: and this was a testimony in Israel.” This custom was established in Deuteronomy 25:5-10, the law as written by Moses states that if a man was unable or physically unwilling to redeem then the elders would call him to the gate of the city. Deuteronomy 25:9 says, “Then shall his brother’s wife come unto him in the presence of the elders, and loose his shoe from off his foot, and spit in his face…”
It seems to be a pretty disgraceful act, but redemption was a big deal! The act of removing his shoe and spitting in his face was the expression of his inability or unwillingness to redeem. Perhaps that’s why John the Baptist said in John 1:27, “…he…who coming after me is preferred above me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.” John stated that Jesus was so able to redeem humanity, that he wasn’t even worthy to loose his shoe! John was so convinced of who Jesus was that he reached into Jewish law and used an expression concerning redemption every Jew would understand to tell the world Jesus was the redeemer! That is why Matthew records these words in Matthew 26:67, “Then did they spit in his face…” They remembered the words of John the Baptists declaring that Jesus was able to redeem them, yet they spit in his face to express in their minds he wasn’t.
Although the Jewish people openly mocked his redemptive power, Jesus proved he was not just able to redeem, he was willing. When the world mocked him, he was willing! When the crowd spit on him, he was willing! When his disciples fled and ran, he was willing! When it felt like the whole world had turned their backs on him, he was still willing!
There is nothing more beautiful in scripture than God’s redemptive plan. Regardless of where you might have came from, be encouraged, Jesus is not just able to redeem you, he’s willing!