Have you ever lost something that was extremely valuable to you or missed out on an opportunity that you believe will never come around again? Sure, we all have. If by chance we do find that treasured item or get a second chance at that opportunity, we are overcome with joy and some measure of disbelief that the impossible became possible.
The Bible calls the intentional buying back of lost opportunities redemption. In Lesson 6 from The Book of Ruth study (August 27, 2017 – “Why We’re All Single”), Pastor Wilson speaks about two times where we can see this playing out:
- Ruth’s predicament and solution with being a single woman in need of a husband/kinsman-redeemer after being widowed
- God’s design of redemption for our lost souls to sin through a kinsman-redeemer
What’s a ‘Kinsman-Redeemer’?
For that answer, we have to dig into the Old Testament’s revelation of Jewish culture found in Leviticus 25:1-55. In this Book of Law, God is establishing the parameters for a nation that would declare His glory. God gives very specific directives/rules on how His land would be owned and sold amongst His people. They understood that they were sojourners on this earth and more stewards of the land than real owners. Even though the land might change hands, it was still God’s.
If someone became poor and sold part of his property, then his nearest relative would come and buy back the land so that the rightful name could go back on the land title. This person was called a ‘kinsman-redeemer’. If the seller had no kinsman-redeemer to buy back the land, he would wait until he had the money and then was allowed to buy back the land at a higher cost himself. This allowed the original purchaser to be compensated for the missed opportunity to grow and sell crops. If the seller never found the money to buy the land back, then he’d have to wait until the Jubilee Year (every 50 years) and the land would automatically go back to him. In this case the original purchaser gets to keep the value of whatever is grown on the land for a certain number of years as payment. This idea of redemption (buying back) of land doesn’t work unless there is a cost, either with a fair price or valuable produce.
The biblical foundation of redemption cannot be defined without acknowledging an accounting of what is to be gained and what is to be lost by all parties involved. There is always a price tag and there is always somebody that must pay that price.
Another practical example of a ‘kinsman-redeemer’ for God’s family is found Deuteronomy 25:5-10. Here we see the Law instructing a single man to marry his dead brother’s wife so that her first offspring could carry on the name of the dead brother. The idea is that defending a namesake is defending God’s name and the house of God. All of this is a picture of a kinsman-redeemer. It’s the closest kin buying back the lost opportunity for the sake of the clan; in this case a namesake instead of land.
“Many Christians today believe that they have been redeemed at no cost. There is no such thing as ‘redemption’ at no cost. That’s when we take grace and exaggerate it to the ridiculous and we imagine salvation is free and then we turn it into a gospel mantra because we believe more people will come if it’s free. The price was high; paid in full by Christ.” – Pastor Steve Wilson
In the book of Ruth, Ruth is a widow. Reclaiming the lost opportunity of having a child via the namesake of her dead husband within the clan of Elimelech is certainly a possibility because of God’s provision in the Law. Her desire for a husband and a child is secondary to God’s desire to preserve His namesake.
The household, land and clan of God will always be redeemed to perfection for His Glory.
Poverty and wars can affect the loss of land, death can affect the loss of a husband, and sin has most certainly affected the loss of our future in the household of God. All of us who’ve ever breathed a breath are doomed to a life separated from God due to the fall and our sin-natures unless a kinsman-redeemer can give us back our lost opportunity of eternal communion with our creator.
If Jesus was going to be our kinsman-redeemer, He first had to become our kinsman. He had to be a man; born of a woman, seed of our Father and in the lineage of God’s household. He had to be a relative of ours with the sufficient means and will to redeem. He had to love us enough to pay the price. God couldn’t send God to die for us. He had to send God in human flesh* to die for us, because He had to be kin to us.
Lost items such as land and lost relationships creating a widow are tough temporal events for sure, but the loss of our souls is eternally more pressing. God’s provision shows how much He cares about both with His grace. The huge sacrificial price He paid for our lost souls should inform our minds as to the infinitely bigger opportunity found; His holy kingdom being completed.
Check back next week in Views from the Pew to continue learning kingdom-lessons from Ruth’s life. Subscribe below and never miss a post.
The Book Of Ruth Series – A summation and commentary on the teachings of Pastor Steve Wilson
Part 1 – Resisting Bitternes – Companion blog to 5/21/17: “Repent or Run?”
Part 2 – Informing Your Grief – Companion blog to 5/28/17: “Grief”
Part 3 – 6 Depression Defeating Steps For Christians – Companion blog to 6/4/17: “Depression”
Part 4 – God’s Grace – Understanding The Flow – Companion blog to 8/13/17: “Grace”
Part 5 – God’s Orders Falling Out Through Secondary Causes – Companion blog to 8/20/17: “Looking For Love In All the Wrong Places”
*Roman 8:3, Hebrews 2:17, Titus 2:13, 1 Peter1:18
- An article from Desiring God – “Redeem The Rejection Of Singleness“