I remember driving home from my fiancée’s house during a snowstorm a few years ago. It was dark out and I was one of the only cars trying to get somewhere on the dangerous roads. Unfortunately, I needed to ascend a long, slushy hill in my little hatchback equipped with measly all-weather tires. Ice was already beginning to form, and I didn’t stand a chance.
I got halfway up the hill before my front wheels spun and my car slid backwards. Trying to maintain my calm, I turned the car around and descended down the hill to try again. The next ten attempts were as fruitless as the first. It felt hopeless and I was still far from home.
My experience in that snowstorm is microscopic compared to what Ruth and Naomi faced. This mother and daughter-in-law returned to Bethlehem from Moab, where they had been living, after the men of their family had died and left them without a provider or protector. Ruth and Naomi were in desperate need of a kinsman-redeemer, a male relative who would save them from their situation.
The redemption of Ruth and Naomi came through a wealthy relative of Naomi, named Boaz, who married Ruth and brought Naomi back into the clan and the fold of Israel. Redemption did not come free—it was bought by Boaz, who took on the role of kinsman-redeemer for these women even when it was not required of him and he could have refused. Boaz demonstrated great love and mercy toward Ruth by redeeming her and welcoming her into God’s people.
Ruth and Naomi’s need for Boaz reveals our need for a greater kinsman-redeemer. While Ruth and Naomi were separated from Israel, we are separated from God in our sinfulness. We need a kinsman-redeemer to redeem us from our helpless, sinful condition. Ephesians 2:12 says, “remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.”
While we were desolate because of our sinful nature, Christ became our kinsman-redeemer. He took on the penalty of sin and purchased our redemption on the cross with His blood so that we are welcomed back into the family of God. Just like Boaz, God could have refused to redeem us. But out of His great love and grace towards us, He sent His Son to rescue us.