Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss says Christ redeemed us when we didn’t look like we were worth much.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I mean what were we adding to His portfolio? Poverty and need. Sin. He said, "I want you and I’m willing. Though you don’t add anything to My net worth, I want you."

Leslie: It’s Monday, July 16, and this is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. If a store or a restaurant has been run down, there’s some hope when a sign appears “Under new ownership.” Well, the same is true in your life. When you give it to Christ, the new Owner can do amazing things with it. We’ll consider that today in a series called Ruth: The Transforming Power of Redeeming Love.

Nancy: Just before this session someone handed me a poem. IIt reflects on Naomi’s words to Ruth.

Be still; wait and rest.
Sit still my daughter, just sit calmly still.
Nor deem these days, these waiting days as ill.
The One who loves thee best, who plans the way,
Hath not forgotten thy great need today.
And if He waits, ‘tis sure He waits to prove to thee,
His tender children, His heart’s deep love.
 

Sit still my daughter, just sit calmly still.
Thou longest much to know thy dear Lord’s will.
While anxious thoughts would almost steal their way
Within because of His delay,
Persuade thyself in simple faith to rest
That He who knows and loves will do the best.
 

Just sit still my daughter, just sit calmly still.
Nor move one step, not even one until His way hath opened.
By inner being then, I’ll then how strong
And waiting days not counted then too long.
‘Tis hard, oh yes; ‘tis hard, ‘tis true.
But then He giveth grace
To count the hardest spot the sweetest place.1

As we look at the end of Ruth’s life at the end of the story of Ruth as we have it recorded in the Scripture, I think about that passage at the end of Job that says the Lord blessed the latter end of Job’s life more than the first. The first part of Ruth’s story has seemed to have so many troubles, so many problems. Isn’t that true of the first part of all of our stories? Born into sin. Born enemies of God. Separated from God. Yet the grace of God always has a happy ending.

Now the problem is: We’d like the ending to be sooner sometimes than what God intends it should be. We’re going to see the grace of God at work in Ruth’s situation and be encouraged about how His grace is at work in our situations.

Ruth chapter four, let me read the first portion of this chapter and then we’ll break it apart verse by verse. When we finished chapter three, Ruth had just returned back to Naomi from asking Boaz to be her kinsman-redeemer, and Naomi had said wait and see what happens because Boaz is going to be at work today fixing this situation.

What was the situation that needed to be fixed? Well, Boaz said to Ruth, "I’m willing to redeem you, but there is a kinsman-redeemer who has a prior right, so I’m going to have to go talk with him first." That’s where we are when we come to chapter four.

“Meanwhile Boaz went up to the town gate [verse 1] and sat there. When the kinsman-redeemer he had mentioned came along, Boaz said, ‘Come over here, my friend, and sit down.’ So he went over and sat down.

“Boaz took ten of the elders of the town and said, ‘Sit here,’ and they did so. Then he said to the kinsman-redeemer, ‘Naomi, who has come back from Moab, is selling the piece of land that belonged to our brother Elimelech. I thought 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. If you will redeem it, do so. But if you will not, tell me, so I will know. For no one has the right to do it except you, and I am next in line.’‘I will redeem it,’ he said.

“Then Boaz said, ‘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.’ At this, the kinsman-redeemer said, ‘Then I cannot redeem it [in other words, that’s another story] because I might endanger my own estate. You redeem it yourself. I cannot do it.'

“(Now in earlier times in Israel, for the redemption and transfer of property to become final, one party took off his sandal and gave it to the other. This was the method of legalizing transactions in Israel.) So the kinsman-redeemer said to Boaz, ‘Buy it yourself.’ And he removed his sandal.”

So we see Boaz going to the town gate to deal with this situation of the other kinsman-redeemer. The town gate, as some of you know, was the center of city life. That’s where people would transact business. That’s where justice would be administered. That’s where the elders of the town would gather to have deliberations. It’s just a large open space near the entrance of the city where business and legal matters were conducted.

Now this nearer kinsman who had a prior right came along and Boaz got his attention and said we have something to discuss. As I think about this other kinsman who is not named, he has a prior right. He is a closer male relative than Boaz to the deceased man, Elimelech. I think that other kinsman-redeemer is a picture of the law of God and the right that it had to condemn us as sinners.

Before Jesus could save us from our sin as our Kinsman-Redeemer, He had to go and do business with the law of God. You see the law of God had a prior right on us. It could not redeem us, but it had the right to condemn us because we had not kept the law. So Jesus first had to settle things with the law even as Boaz had to settle things with this other kinsman who was a nearer kinsman.

As we see Boaz taking this nearer kinsman to the city gate where these kinds of things were dealt with, I’m reminded of how in order to deal with the law and its claims against us. Jesus had to go outside the city to a place of disgrace, a place called Calvary. He had to die on a cross between two thieves. There as He laid down His life, He not only paid the purchase price for our redemption, for our salvation, but He also robbed sin and the law of its power to condemn us, of its power to rule over us.

How’d He do that? He did it by Himself bearing the curse that was attached to the broken law. We had broken God’s law. There was a curse attached to that. In order to redeem us, Jesus had to go and Himself bear the curse, pay the price. That was the ransom for our redemption.

So Boaz took the elders of the town and said, "Come here. I want you to be witnesses of this exchange, of this transaction." We’re gong to see a transaction between Boaz and this other contender to be the redeemer. So he says to the kinsman-redeemer, "Naomi who has just come back from Moab is selling the piece of land that belonged to our brother Elimelech."

Remember we said all along that in Jewish culture there were two important things that needed to be protected. From one generation to the next they had to keep the family lands within the family and the family name. If there were no male heir to carry on the family line, if somebody had to sell their lands because of poverty, God had made provision for those lands and that family name to be able to be retained.

He says that Naomi, because she’s poverty stricken, is being forced to sell her family lands. These are the lands of her husband, Elimelech. They’re now going to leave the family. This was a serious thing to Jews. So Boaz offers this nearer kinsman the right to redeem the land and therefore to rescue Naomi from poverty, to redeem her, to protect her. That’s what a goel, a kinsman-redeemer was to do.

When the nearer kinsman, the other man whose name we don’t know, heard that this was an opportunity to acquire some land, at first he was eager. He said, "Yes, I will redeem the land. I’m willing to redeem it."

I imagine he was thinking to himself, "This is a chance for me to make some money." He looked at Naomi. He realized that she was past child-bearing years. She was never going to have another son who would become the heir to her husband, so this nearer kinsman said to himself, "I think I can keep this property for myself." He saw it as a way to add to his net worth without a great expense to himself. He knew that this property would revert to his own possession once Naomi died, so he saw some profit here.

Then Boaz throws in this little caveat, which he didn’t mention at first. He said, "By the way, on the day when you get the land from Naomi, you also get with the land Ruth the Moabitess, the dead man’s widow, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property."

So not only do you get this land, when you get the land, with it comes a wife, a widow, a Moabitess, a foreign woman. At this, verse six, the kinsman-redeemer said, "Then I cannot redeem it, because if I do, I might endanger my own estate."

See, he realizes that if he takes Ruth to be his wife, she could have a son and then the property would belong to that son, would go through that family line. He would have paid for the property, but he wouldn’t have anything to show for it because it would go to the deceased family line. When he counts the cost, he says, "That’s a price I’m not willing to pay. It might endanger my own estate." Here’s a man who’s looking out for himself so he says, "I can’t redeem it. You redeem it." He didn’t have any interest in acquiring Ruth with the land.

So we see that to act as a redeemer, to act as a goel in these circumstances was costly. It wasn’t just you pay some money, you get some extra land. It was you take on a whole, huge responsibility for the family of this deceased man, for his widow, for the mother-in-law. You take on the whole situation as your own.

To be the redeemer was going to require personal sacrifice, an act of love and sacrifice that this other man was not willing to pay. Yet Boaz—what a picture of the Lord Jesus—was willing to pay that price.

I do not believe it was because he was wildly in love with Ruth in the way that we think of being in love in our culture today. I think it was because he was a man who had the heart of God. He had the heart of Christ. He’s a picture, a type, of the Lord Jesus who was willing to endanger His own estate in order to redeem us. He was willing to pay the price to be the loser, if you will, in order to redeem us, to purchase us, to meet our need.

Aren’t you glad that when Jesus came to redeem us, He didn’t take thought for His own estate. When you think of all He left, think of all He gave up to come from heaven to earth to be our Redeemer. Think of His willingness to lay down His life to get us. I mean, what were we adding to His portfolio? Poverty and need. Sin.

He said, "I want you and I’m willing. Though you don’t add anything to My net worth, I want you. I want to purchase you. I want to redeem you." He was willing to lose everything in order to acquire us for His own.

No one else is willing to pay that price for you. Satan’s not. The law wouldn’t do that. Your family can’t do that. Your mate can’t do that. Your pastor can’t do that. But Jesus can do that, and He was willing to pay the infinite price, to endanger His own estate, so that we could become His cherished possession.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss isn’t finished. She’ll be right back with the second half of today’s teaching on Ruth. I hope you’ll get a copy of this teaching for yourself. When you order on CD, you’ll get longer versions of the teaching than we had time to air on the radio. This teaching is available on multiple audio CDs or as one MP3 CD. Order the CD at ReviveOurHearts.com,or call 1-800-569-5959.

Now let’s get back to Nancy and the study of Ruth.

Nancy: We said earlier that in order to be a kinsman-redeemer, you had to have the right to redeem. That means you had to be a near kinsman. You had to be a relative. You had to have the power to redeem. That means you had to be able to pay the price that was required to buy back the property, to take on the widow as your own. Boaz was a wealthy landowner. He had the power to redeem. Then you had to have the willingness to redeem.

Boaz is a picture of our Redeemer. The Lord Jesus said, "I am willing to redeem your situation. No matter what it costs Me. No matter what it may mean to My own reputation, to My own convenience, to My own comfort, I am willing to take you and your situation under My covering."

Remember when Ruth asked Boaz to become her kinsman-redeemer, she said, "Would you spread the corner of your garment over me." That’s a picture of what is happening now as Boaz says, "I’m willing to be your kinsman-redeemer. I’m taking you and your family and your desperate situation under my covering. I’m taking you under myself as my own situation."

Now there was a transaction required in order for the redemption to become official. Let me just go back to verse seven of chapter four of the book of Ruth.

“Now in earlier times in Israel for the redemption and transfer of property to become final, one party took off his sandal and gave it to the other. This was the method of legalizing transactions in Israel. So the kinsman-redeemer, the one who had the prior right on this property, said to Boaz, ‘Buy it yourself,’ and he removed his sandal.”

Now all this seems kind of strange to us. When I bought the piece of property on which I was going to build my home, I didn’t go to the real estate office and take off my shoe or ask the owner of the property to take of their shoes. This seems kind of strange. We signed some papers, and we had a legal transaction.

But in the Jewish culture, in these days, to walk across a piece of property with your shoes on was a symbol of owning the property. You were in charge. You were the controller. You symbolically had the right to possess it. But by taking off his shoe, the other kinsman was saying, as was the custom, "I relinquish my right to this property. I’m giving up my right to purchase this property."

So he took off his shoe, and he handed it to Boaz. Here we have a transaction whereby the one who could have been the owner says, "I give up my rights." And now Boaz symbolically takes this shoe and says, "I am owner of this property." The ownership has been transferred from one person to another. So the other kinsman’s rights to redeem have been relinquished and Boaz is now the one who has the right to own this property and to own this whole situation.

Then verse nine, chapter four, “Boaz announced to the elders and all the people, ‘Today you are witnesses that I have bought from Naomi all the property of Elimelech [Naomi’s deceased husband] and Kilion and Mahlon [who were her two deceased sons]. I have also acquired Ruth, the Moabitess, Mahlon’s widow, as my wife, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property, so that his name will not disappear from among his family or from the town records. Today you are witnesses!’”

So there’s been a transaction here. There’s been a purchase. There’s a purchase agreement. There’s a purchase price paid. The agreement is completed. There are witnesses, and now Ruth and Naomi and the property, the family lands, the family bank accounts, which apparently are nothing—maybe they’re even in the red—the whole family situation is transferred to Boaz.

Now he’s not becoming wealthier by taking on the situation. He is being generous and gracious and merciful by taking on the situation. Now it’s not Ruth’s problem; it’s not Naomi’s problem. All this poverty, all the problems with the land, now it’s Boaz’s problem. He has taken over their whole situation. They are not their own. They have been bought with a price.

Does that remind you of something in the New Testament? You are not your own, Paul says to the Corinthians. You have been bought with a price. Your life is no longer yours. Your troubles are no longer yours. Your spiritual failures and needs and problems are no longer yours. They’ve been taken over by your Kinsman-Redeemer. "You’ve been bought with a price. Therefore,” Paul says, “glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20, NKJV).

Now, I don’t know about you, but having that concept, that picture of a new ownership over my life does two things for me. Number one, it gives me a huge sense of relief. My life isn’t my own. Someone else has taken over my situation and I can lean on Him. I can look to Him. I can rest in Him.

I don’t have to be figuring out the whole direction of my life and how to solve all my problems. I have a new Owner. I have a spiritual Husband, One who says I’m taking your situation as my own. That’s encouraging to me. That’s comforting to me. That lets me be at rest. That lets me have peace in my heart.

But it also gives me an enormous sense of responsibility. I’m not my own so I better keep my hands off my own life. I better let Him have control. He purchased me. He owns me. My life is His and that says it is His to do with as He chooses. He has the right to make the final decisions in every area of my life.

So Boaz affirms in the presence of these witnesses that he is assuming from Naomi the property that had belonged to Elimelech, to Mahlon and to Kilion, that he’s also assuming this widow, that he’s taking on the whole situation. His purpose is to maintain the name of the dead, the name of the deceased, as well as his property, so that his name will not disappear from among the family records or the town records.

Of course, in doing this, Boaz, though he doesn’t realize it, is playing a key part, as is Ruth, in bringing about the family line that will lead to the great Redeemer. Our Kinsman-Redeemer. Our goel. The Lord Jesus. The child that would be born as a result of their union would be considered the child of Ruth’s deceased husband and would continue that family line which, as we know, ultimately leads to Jesus.

As I was reflecting this morning on this whole matter of Boaz and what he did to purchase Ruth and her situation (he actually became a redeemer as well to Naomi—he just took over the whole situation as his own), I thought about the other kinsman who was not willing to endanger his own estate in order to take on this situation. I’m reminded of that old gospel song that perhaps you’ve sung over the years:

I will sing of my Redeemer
And His wondrous love to me.
On the cruel cross He suffered
From the curse to set me free.

I will tell the wondrous story
How my lost estate to save.
In His boundless love and mercy
He the ransom relief gave.

Doesn’t that make you love Him? Doesn’t it make you want to worship Him, sing to Him, honor Him, tell others about Him? When you think of what He took over, where God found you, where you were apart from Christ, how hopeless and helpless in desperation your situation was apart from Christ, then you realize He stepped in. He said, "I’ll take your whole situation as My own. I want to give you a new family line. I want to give you a heritage, a legacy. I want to allow you to be a part of the family line of Christ." What an incredible Redeemer!

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss will be right back to pray to our incredible Redeemer. The book of Ruth isn’t just a nice love story between two people. It points us to the ultimate love story between Christ and His church. It’s a story that women desperately need to hear. We want to help you share this message with other women. Here’s how.

Nancy taught through the book of Ruth on DVD. Do you know someone who could use the teaching? The two of you could watch it together and go through the accompanying study guide. Both are available at ReviveOurHearts.com. If your group grows in size, you can take advantage of a special offer. Order five study guides and we’ll send you the DVDs at no charge. You need to ask for this offer when you call 1-800-569-5959.

Tomorrow we celebrate a wedding day as Nancy continues in the book of Ruth. She’s back now to pray.

Nancy: Lord, we don’t have words to thank You for how You were willing to take ownership and possession of our situation. We didn’t deserve it. We were poor and needy, separated from You. Hopeless. Helpless. In fact the Scripture says we were Your enemies, but You loved us and You had mercy on us. You chose to make that transaction, to take ownership and possession of our lives.

Lord, help us to give back to you that which rightly belongs to You now, to live as those who don’t own ourselves but are owned by Another. We bless You. We love You and our hearts’ desire is to not keep this to ourselves, but to tell others of our wonderful Kinsman-Redeemer that they too might come to find redemption through Christ our Lord. We pray in His name, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.

1"On Our Father's Knee." Devotions for Times of Illness. Fredrik Wisloff.

2"Our Redeemer." Philip Bliss.

 

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