Refuge under the wings of the Redeemer (Ruth 2:12)
He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.”
In Christian theology, Christ is our redeemer. Redeemer is a powerful word, especially when considered with the old testament application. Easton’s Bible Dictionary defines the word “redeemer” as follows:
“one charged with the duty of restoring the rights of another by avenging his wrongs. This title is peculiarly applied to Christ. He redeems us from all evil by the payment of a ransom.”
An example of a redeemer is powerfully expressed in the book of Ruth. To give a quick summary, a woman by the name of Naomi moved from Judah to Moab due to a famine that was affecting her family. Naomi, her husband and two sons, moved to Moab. Her sons eventually took Moabite women as wives while living in Moab.
Tragically Naomi loses her husband and both her sons. All Naomi is left with is her two Moabite daughter-in-law’s in a foreign land. Not only was Naomi a widow, but according to tradition, she no longer had sons to care for her well-being. Naomi then urges her two daughter-in-law’s to go back to their homes as there is nothing left she can offer them. Through persistent convincing Orpah, one of her daughter-in-law’s returns to her mother’s house but Ruth was not swayed.
Upon returning to Jerusalem, through her patience, wisdom and insight, Naomi guided Ruth into prudent interaction with Boaz, a close relative of Noami’s dead husband. This relative was a kinsman redeemer, who could carry on the family line. Ruth did as she was told in humility and submission, eventually leading her to marry Boaz.
As a reward for her selfless act, God brought Naomi great joy and restoration through the marriage of Ruth and Boaz. Ruth conceived and had a son named Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse and Jesse fathered King David through whose lineage came Jesus Christ.
Boaz in this story is called a kinsmen redeemer. A kinsman redeemer is a male relative who, according to the various laws found in the Pentateuch, had the responsibility to act for a relative who was in trouble, danger, or need of vindication.
The story of Ruth is an example of a kinsman redeemer, through whose lineage would come the ultimate kinsman redeemer, our Lord Jesus Christ under whose wings we can take refuge.
Let us look at four ways for a kinsman to redeem and how Jesus is our ultimate kinsman redeemer.
Firstly, He must be near of kin. Leviticus 25:48 says “then after he is sold he may be redeemed. One of his brothers may redeem him,”.
Jesus is our nearest kin through the incarnation. The Bible tells us He was like us in every way except that He never sinned and to identify Himself with us, He emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. In fact, Hebrews 2:11 says “For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers,”. You see, we are considered part of God’s family, sons and daughters and co-heirs with Christ. What a wonderful privilege! It is only made possible through our redemption by Christ.
Secondly, a kinsman redeemer must be able to redeem (Ruth 4:4-6). Jesus has the power to redeem you and me. 2 Corinthians 8:9 tells us “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” Only Christ could pay the ultimate price.
Thirdly, a kinsman redeemer must be willing to redeem (Ruth 4:6). In the story of Ruth, we see there was a redeemer before Boaz, but he was unwilling to be a redeemer because it would impair his own inheritance and so gave that right to the next relative who was Boaz. On the other hand, Jesus gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed and purified us for Himself so that we would be His possession, zealous for good works according to Titus 2:14. In fact, because of what Jesus did on the cross, the Bible tells us that we are now co-heirs with Christ. How amazing is that!
Finally, redemption is completed when the price is fully paid. Leviticus 25:27 says “let him calculate the years since he sold it and pay back the balance to the man to whom he sold it, and then return to his property.”
Jesus paid the price in full, and we have been redeemed. Ephesians 1:7 says “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,”. The redemption work of Jesus delivers believers from slavery to sin and death. It is through His blood through which the ransom was paid. Ephesians 2:13 says “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
What a great salvation we have. When we look at the story of Ruth we see an account of the redemption of Naomi and Ruth (a Moabite woman, one not of Israel). It was to this woman Ruth, a son was born – the grandson of Naomi named Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse and Jesse was the father of King David. It was David who declared in Psalm 103:2,4 says “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who redeemsyour life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,”
David knew the power of the word “redeemer” because Ruth was his grandmother. He knew this story of redemption. Ultimately it was through the lineage of David, that Jesus our Messiah would come to redeem us. The true and greatest redeemer – Jesus Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
The final words of Naomi’s friends are a fitting reminder of God’s grace in our lives. Ruth 4:14 says “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel!”
The very thought of redemption for humans is so rich and deep, such that we could meditate on it endlessly. As our great Redeemer, God displays His great authority in a plan which cannot be altered.
The ultimate price was paid by Jesus to redeem us, and the price was not just physical death but was also to face God’s righteous wrath; the infinite penalty for sins committed against an infinitely holy God. The price was paid. The Son was raised.
If you have not received Christ in your life. Know today that you need a redeemer. You are dead in your sin. Ruth said the following words in Ruth 3:9 saying “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.”
Today you can call on Christ the ultimate redeemer and say these words, “Jesus – I am your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.” Through this redemption, you will find eternal life and be delivered from sin and death.
As you do this may you be blessed with the blessing Boaz gave to Ruth in Ruth 2:12 “The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!””
You will be blessed and covered by the righteousness of Christ, when you take refuge under the wings of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. God bless you.