The cost of redemption

21 May 2013

Chapter four of Ruth is a bit of roller-coaster affair. Will Ruth and Boaz be able to marry or is it all going pear-shaped? Panic not. It works out just fine (in fact, better even than ‘the heart of man imagined’).

But it’s worth taking a moment just to think about why the other chap chooses not to redeem Ruth and the land Naomi is selling. In verse six he says:

I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I impair my own inheritance.

After being initially keen to buy the land, he backs swiftly out of the deal as soon as Ruth the Moabite is thrown into the equation. Why? Because it will ‘impair his own inheritance’. In other words, there would be no long-term financial gain from the land, because it would be passed on to Ruth’s future children and back into Elimelech’s family. His present inheritance (that would have been due to be passed on to any of his existing children) would also have been likely to be reduced. The bottom line: The redemption would cost him and so he’s not prepared to go through with it.

Boaz would also have been aware that redeeming Ruth would cost him. There would have been a financial and material cost, but also a social stigma attached to marrying a Moabite. The very thing that puts the other chap off – Ruth – is precisely the same thing that clinches it for Boaz. Because Boaz loves Ruth, he is prepared to suffer the cost.

So when we think of our redemption through Jesus – being bought by his death on the cross – we must recognise that the cost was great but consequently so it God’s love is for us.

Boaz incurred financial loss and possibly damaged his social standing. Jesus was crucified and bore the unbridled wrath of God, because He took our sins. He paid the price. He has redeemed us.

You can listen to TCC’s sermon series on the book of Ruth here.

This blog post was written by Dave Hewer.