Redemption, we have seen, is about Christ’s great work in delivering mankind from the power of the enemy and from our own sins, and setting us free to belong to Him. He has paid the price to buy us back to God.
There is however another aspect in the Bible about our redemption and that is concerning our inheritance. Through Christ’s work we can know that in Him we have an inheritance. This is most beautifully seen in the small book of Ruth in the Old Testament.
Naomi was a Jew married to Elimelech, they had two sons and they lived in Bethlehem. When famine hit the land, already struggling under the rule of various judges, the family moved to Moab for food.
Soon tragedy struck. Elimelech died leaving Naomi a widow. Her two sons took wives from the Moabite women but incredibly then her two sons in law both died leaving Naomi with her two daughters in law, Orpah and Ruth.
Hearing reports that there was food back in Bethlehem Naomi decided to return encouraging her daughters in law to remain and re-marry. Orpah did but Ruth clung to Naomi.
This is a wonderfully moving piece of prose:
“Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. The Lord do so to me and more also, if anything but death parts you and me”. Ruth 1:16,17.
This was an amazing response from a heathen woman to her mother in law’s faith.
So eventually both Naomi and Ruth return and the Lord gives them wonderful favour back in Israel. Cutting a long story short Ruth falls into the hands of a kind landowner whom she falls in love with. Little did she realise but Boaz was a close relative of her.
In ancient Israelite society the following well defined legal obligations fell to the next of kin, known as the (goel), or kinsman-redeemer.
Family lands could not be sold out of family possession. A destitute relative could sell inheritance land to pay debtors, but landless people were effectively reduced to servitude. It fell to the goel to redeem lands, and family members by payment of outstanding debts. Where no goel existed, the land could be sold outside the family, eventually reverting back in the Jubilee year.
Remarkably Ruth had been led to Boaz, who was unbeknown to her at first as her goel, kinsman redeemer. Once he had clarified his leg position Boaz wasted no time in taking Ruth as his wife. In so doing he established her inheritance.
Boaz says, “Moreover, Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, I have acquired as my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brethren and from his position at the gate. You are witnesses this day”. Ruth 4:10.
Ruth’s faithfulness at a time of unfaithfulness results in God giving her a son, Obed, and she has a privileged position in the lineage of David and Christ (she is the great-grandmother of David). Ruth 4:13-17.
Christ is our goel!
He has become one of us, and has taken us up for himself by spiritually marrying us. He has cleared our debts, and given us an inheritance in Him.
He is our kinsman- redeemer.