As promised, the message of the story of Ruth: the last chapter of book 7.
Ruth’s double-layered love story is truly about Messiah being our Goel, our kinsmen redeemer, who will do whatever it takes to rescue us and marry us in an everlasting bond of vowed love. God doesn’t waste stories.
Just as Ruth and Naomi need rescue from poverty, and their family inheritance needs restoring, so all of humanity requires rescue from Satan and restoration from the Law of Sin and Death. (That story is in Love’s Playbook episode one.)
Why do we need rescue? Because Adam gave up his dominion and sold all of us into slavery. And ever since then we are all born broken. Jesus’ stories would make it seem that we are the only ones in the universe who are broken and under Satan’s rule.
We want desperately to believe we are good. And half of each of us is good, but we have dual natures. However, it can take a lifetime to see your dark side clearly. Hiding our brokenness is the greatest temptation for Christians and people wanting independence.
The effect of sin on humans—all humans—is ruin and death, and sin is nothing more than separation from God and Their way. As J. Vernon Magee says, in his book, In a Barley Field, “The practice of sin is fatal to man.” But why?
Our brokenness gives us two natures—as Paul says in Romans 7—and our evil nature likes being independent. It comes naturally to us. We like doing it our way, and taking the best for ourselves. We love ourselves to death. Except it isn’t really love.
True love is God’s love and it sets me free from slavery to me.
We don’t even realize that we actually became slaves of Satan.
We didn’t sell ourselves. Adam sold us. But God, in the Garden of Eden, didn’t give us over fully to evil. They made sure we still retained Their nature as we acquired Satan’s evil one, (see Genesis 3:15). So we are self-focused, but we are also conflicted. God guaranteed we would still long for love and goodness.
We need to be restored to wholeness and brought back into the presence of God in a loving relationship. With respect to the universe, we need a goel, a kinsman redeemer to redeem us from slavery and death; give us back our property—our true hearts and our lives.
And God provided one: “You shall know that Adonai is your Savior and your Goel, the Mighty One of Jacob.” (Isaiah 60:16) I learned from Magee that Isaiah uses “Goel” more times than the whole rest of the Bible. (No wonder I love that book!) Add to that Hosea 13:14 “I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be your plagues; O grave I will be your destruction.”
The first requirement for the goel is he must be blood relation. If he isn’t he can’t redeem the person from slavery or buy back his property.
Adam’s property went to Satan as the new owner of our earth because of Adam’s forfeiture and must be redeemed, same as Naomi’s field. We came under the law of sin and death and our family line was finished. But under God’s law the rental price until Jubilee could be paid to the present owner to redeem the property and the family-line could be re-instated by the next of kin. He wasn’t compelled to do it, but he was allowed to.
Adonai chose to become our Boaz, our goel, out of love for us. I think there was a closer kinsman in this story just so we would see that Adonai wasn’t compelled to come. He wasn’t “sent” to redeem us. He chose to come because He wanted to. In fact, I believe, as shown in episode one, that it was His idea to become Jesus our Kinsman Redeemer. Abba and Ruach painfully agreed to allow him to come.
And since that meant He had to become our blood relation, he had to be born human, under the law of sin and death, just like us, one of Adam’s sons, to raise up his family line. That is truly how They gave us his blood, because “the life is in the blood,” so he became a blood relative and gave us life.
It is in Genesis 3:15 where Adonai says to Satan, in serpent form, “I will put enmity (Hatred) between you and the woman and between your children and her children. It (their hatred of evil/their choice against evil) shall bruise your head (destroy you) and you will bruise his heal.” (Jesus will forever maintain his glorified humanity. “He is not ashamed to call us brothers.” Hebrews 2:12) He promised to be our Goel in Exodus 6:6 “I will be your Goel with My stretched out arm.”
God gives us His name, life, and blood as Boaz gave Ruth his name and his life and blood to have a child and raise up her husband’s family name. In this story the goel, as a near kinsman, had to marry the widow of the deceased to raise up the family name. In our world God’s Law is the deceased and God’s church is the bride who marries the Goel to raise up His name (His law, reputation, character). If there was a widow (us), there could be no separation of person and property. You had to marry the woman to get the property. (Isn’t this cool!)
Satan’s power over us was in claiming the power of death (Hebrews 2:14). So Jesus went through death as a son of Adam, and gave us his life and blood to raise up humanity as whole again (no evil—no conflict, no brokenness.) And “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:11-12, Hebrews 2:10-14)
And two more things this story explains: atonement and redemption. As Magee explains, God redeemed Israel from Egypt, but at the Red Sea they were only freed slaves. It was after He showed his power in opening the water and bringing them into the presence of God walking through the sea, that they were “baptized” and given new hearts to worship.
This story also explains the temple tax that was the price of redemption in Leviticus. Whenever Israel was numbered, Satan must have claimed it signified that they were depending on themselves, and claimed the right to them—to send a plague. So whenever Israel ignored God’s way and did their own thing, depending on their own strength or numbers, Satan would send a plague, or at least he tried to.
To protect them, God had each individual pay a half-shekel to redeem himself because each person must cast his own vote for Adonai, and that was the way they did it. It made atonement for them—or showed they chose Adonai as king.
I never understood the temple tax making atonement before this story! Atonement is at-one-ment—oneness with God (Jesus’ prayer for us in John 17). It wasn’t much money and was the same for everyone, but it showed each individual’s choice for Adonai as king—a poll tax.
Redemption gives us restored sight to see God as good or worthy of love. (Redeemed beings sing “He is worthy” all through the book of Revelation.) Redemption is restoration.
My favorite quote shows redemption in contrast to our slavery, “Subjection to God is restoration to oneself; to the true glory and dignity of man.”
It’s good to be God’s because that makes me truly me—unbroken and restored to wholeness. That gives me true freedom. His laws keep us safe, protect our freedom, and keep our true selves intact.