An Insult Among Brothers


So when the redeemer said to Boaz, “Buy it for yourself,” he drew off his sandal. Ruth 4:8

Our God resurrects dead things. Have we experienced enough of God’s love and forgiveness to bring life to others?

Ruth chapter four opens with a scene that is much more shameful than meets the naked eye. Boaz approaches the nearest relative about redeeming Naomi’s husband’s property. The relative jumps at the idea, that is until he discovers that he has to marry Ruth, the Moabitess. When we read this story, we instantly get excited (at least I usually do) that Boaz, the hero, gets to marry Ruth. But we miss something in between. It was a great shame in Israel and Judah for a man to refuse to redeem. In order for a man to redeem, he would have to marry and impregnate the dead man’s widow. The baby would then carry on the family line for the deceased. This was God’s way of ensuring that no line would end. For this man to refuse to take on this responsibility was a terrible thing. The relative basically admitting that he was selfish. He didn’t want to jeopardize his own inheritance.

I wonder if something else was playing a part here as well. Not everyone would be welcoming to a female convert from Moab. She came from a people that was considered unclean. And while it’s clear from the scriptures that God embraced converts, we see a number of examples when His people didn’t. The instance that comes to mind is Moses’s wife.

The take away application is this. If we really have fully accepted God’s forgiveness for our own sin, then we have it to give away to others. Boaz understood Ruth’s predicament because his own convert mother, Rahab, was a prostitute from Jericho. Can we be unselfish and get over our prejudices to share God’s love? I hope so.

Dear Heavenly Father
Help me to never think that I’ve arrived. Thank for forgiving me. Please always keep that fresh in my heart so that I never lose the wonder of it. Empower me to give that grace away because You gave it to me.
In Jesus Precious Name

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