Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Ruth Chapter 4 - The Redeemer Redeems (2)

The Redeemer Pays a Great Price

And watching and waiting for the man and when he appears Boaz says, “Come over here my friend and sit down.” It is interesting to note that Boaz doesn’t call him by his name, but by a strange expression – to put it in our language today – it is as if Boaz calls him Mr thingme, Mr so and so, Mr whatever your name is. Boaz must have known his name, and probably used it. But the narrator of the story purposely leaves it out, and does to in such a way to tell us that he is leaving it out. This man’s name is not worth recording. And we see why.

And so Boaz explains the situation v3 “Naomi has come back from Moab and is selling the piece of land that belonged to our brother Elimelech. I thought that I should bring the matter to your attention and suggest that you buy it in the presence of these seated here and in the presence of the elders of my people.”

And the man initially replies “I will redeem it.” But then it is as if Boaz says – oh there is something else v5 “On the day you buy the land from Naomi and from Ruth the Moabitess, you acquire the dead man’s widow in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property.”

And it is this extra information that changes the man’s response, He won’t do it now “You redeem it yourself I cannot do it.”

Why the change? Well when there was only Naomi to deal with that was Ok. He would buy the farm. Naomi is an old woman – and as soon as she dies he being the closest relative will get all – it is only an investment, better than money in the bank.

But this news about a young woman and the aspect of preserving the dead man’s line things are different. If he marries Ruth and she has a son, then the land automatically reverts to him, in which case he loses both the money he has laid out in his initial investment and the land. The land will never be his, for the land would go to any son who in law was the son of Mahlon, that they would have.

And so his true colours can be seen. He won’t redeem for there is nothing in it for him. Can you see why his name isn’t recorded?

You see this man’s name will not be recorded in the Word of God, there is no place for him amongst God’s people, as he turns his back on God’s Word. He is a selfish self centred man.

But how different is Boaz – he is willing at great personal cost to redeem knowing that the land will never be his. He paid an actual price for the land, but there was the further price of that investment wouldn’t be for his benefit. The land would belong to the family of Mahlon. Not only did he have to pay the price, but he was paying a price for the benefit of someone else.

And can’t we see again the great Redeemer. To redeem the lost there was a great cost. A substitute was required, someone who could pay an infinite price.

And so Jesus came born of a woman to redeem those under the law. And He willingly laid down his life, even death on a cross.

Fellow Christian our redemption cost Christ His life. It cost the Father His unique son. Some of you have sons – can you imagine any situation that you might sacrifice their lives for some stranger, some enemy. That is what God did.

The cost was real and great. See how He loves you. Having done this great thing will He not also give us all that we need for this journey?

What lengths Christ went to to save sinners. Why is it then that some people try to get right with God by good deeds. Imagine a wealthy father, son has wandered off but despite his wanderings the father at great expense wants to set his son up for life. And the son say – keep your gift I don’t want it, I’ll do it myself.

Could it be someone here today doing that with God. What lengths the Father has gone to save sinners like you – but throwing it back in his face saying keep your old gift.

Boaz, the redeemer, pays.

Challenge – because as Christians we are to be like our saviour in this regard – we are called to follow him wholeheartedly – to be willing to pay the price. And here from this Mr Nobody we learn the lesson, that there is a price to pay for not paying the price. Jesus demands and deserves, and his cause demands and deserves that we sacrifice whatever gets in the way, no matter how precious it is to us. And this man who was unprepared to make that sacrifice disappears off the record of the people of God, as someone whose name isn’t even worthy of mention.

The Redeemer Guarantees the Redemption

Much of the events of chapter 4 happen at the city gate – it was the civic centre of Bethelehem, the court of justice, high court. Boaz has gathered up 10 elders of the town. And Boaz sets all this up so that everything will be legal and guaranteed, and nothing ever called into question.

Boaz paid the price in full, to take on all the responsibilities in providing for these two desperate women. And he was going to be seen to be above board about it all - hence all this business about exchanging sandals - the equivalent to a signature at the bottom of a contract, in full view of witnesses. The sandal possibly assumed this symbolic significance because if you owned a piece of land you were free to walk over it, wherever and whenever you wished. Boaz paid the price in full, and this sandal exchange, and his words in v9-10 to the witnesses demonstrate that Boaz wants all and sundry to know that Ruth and Naomi have both been redeemed.

And when it gets to the wedding bit these civic leaders who are invested with legal authority are witnesses v9,10,11. Boaz is making sure that Ruth’s redemption is fixed for ever, without a shadow a doubt.

It is rubber stamped

It is witnessed by many witnesses

And isn’t the same true of the work of the great redeemer. His work has been guaranteed. When Jesus Christ rose from the dead it was God declaring for all time that the Redeemer’s work was guaranteed. The resurrection is the rubber stamp, the divine seal of approval on the work of Jesus.

You will remember how after the resurrection there were multiple witnesses. The work of Jesus Christ on the cross was accepted, the cost was paid in full.

The rest of scripture seeks to make it clear that our redemption is secure. The saints in Heaven are certainly more comfortable, but they are no more secure than you.

The apostle Paul tells us in Roman, “There is now no condemnation for those who ae in Christ Jesus.”

The price has been paid and we have the receipt stamped across it paid in full. Isn’t that one of the reasons we love this day, the Lord’s Day. It is the day that He rose, and as every Lord’s Day dawns it is as if God is writing out again the guarantee – the price has been paid.

If you are not yet a Christian – what is holding you back – salvation is certain in Christ. Redemption is guaranteed to all who are in Christ.

This is all part of the work of a redeemer. Ruth didn’t have to look over her shoulder all the time wondering whether the dream would break, wondering if she was really redeemed. Boaz made sure.

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