This is the dawn of a new year. As we reflect on last year, we can see that we are more alike than not. Grief, hunger, mourning, loss, depression, anger, anxiety, brokenness, faith, togetherness, and restoration has no color, it possesses no religion.
As you read this, I encourage you to take a deep breath. You will notice that when you take that breath your body raises itself. Without you consciously knowing it, even our bodies know that there is power in lifting your head and looking to the hills from which cometh our help, it comes from the Lord our Savior, Our Guardian Redeemer.
My current favorite story in God’s word is the Book of Ruth. Naomi’s family consisted of her husband and their two sons. The entire family moved to Moab because of the famine in their hometown of Bethlehem.
Ruth 1:3-5, says, in a span of 10 years, Naomi’s husband and her sons died, leaving her and her daughters-in-law, widows. Naomi got word that the famine was over in her home town. She prepared to return home to Bethlehem.
In Ruth 1:8-9, Naomi had a true and honest conversation with Orpah and Ruth. Her sons, their husbands were dead. She told her daughters-in-law to go back to their families and their gods. They wept aloud! Orpah wept and went back to her family and their gods. Last year forced us to have honest and true conversations with family and friends. We wept aloud. We saw consequences to actions and we still went back to our idols, addictions, and disobedience. Some friends stayed while others left. Certain family members found a resolve while others were divided, exposed, and ripped apart.
Ruth wept and told Naomi, “where you go, I go and your God will be my God!” I imagine Ruth clinging on to Naomi because she saw a God that she had never seen or experienced before. Following Naomi and her God exceeded any god or family she would ever dare to return.
Once in Bethlehem with Ruth’s tenancy to not wait on Naomi to provide for them, she left to find favor in a field to gather leftovers. The field she had favor with happened to be a relative of Naomi’s dead husband, a wealthy man named Boaz.
When Boaz asked about her, he was told, she was the girl who came back with Naomi. He told her to stay in my field, drink water that has already been drawn, he told his servants not to harm her and to let her glean even amongst the sheaves, in addition to that, leave handfuls on purpose so she can just pick it up. And rebuke her not!
Ruth fell on her face and bowed to Boaz asking him why so much grace. He said it had been shown to him everything she had done. How she took care of her mother-in-law since the death of her husband. How she left her father and mother, her native home, and followed Naomi back to a place she knew nothing about. El Roi the God who sees saw her. The servants saw her. Boaz saw her.
He said in Ruth 2:12 The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust. Recompense means to make amends to someone for loss or harm suffered, to compensate them. Who watched you have tremendous losses this past year? Someone watched you lose your job and you didn’t complain. Another watched you lose your husband all alone. Others watched your families carry out a horrible sickness. God will do anything to spare our lives. He will even allow others to die to spare your life, to redeem you, to save you, to get you in alignment.
Can you imagine Naomi’s face when Ruth came home with leftovers and an abundance from the field? Girl! Whose field were you in? “A man named Boaz”, Ruth replied. “May the LORD bless him!” Naomi told her daughter-in-law. “He is showing his kindness to us as well as to your dead husband. That man is one of our closest relatives, one of our family redeemers.”
Naomi’s wisdom and instruction put Ruth in an atmosphere to have Boaz’s ear. When preparation and opportunity meet, you have to ask for what you want. “I am your servant Ruth,” she replied. “Spread the corner of your covering over me, for you are my family redeemer.”
Boaz said to the elders and the crowd standing around, "You are witnesses that today I have bought from Naomi all the property of Elimelech, Kilion, and Mahlon. And with the land I have acquired Ruth, the Moabite widow of Mahlon, to be my wife. This way she can have a son to carry on the family name of her dead husband and to inherit the family property here in his hometown.
If a mortal man could be so intentional to save the bloodline of his family, what more do you think our Father in heaven will do for us? What about our bloodline? Who's our guardian-redeemer? Our God is so intentional, He is omnipotent. He’s omniscient. He’s our redeemer!
Boaz married Ruth. They had a son.
Then the women of the town said to Naomi, “Praise the LORD, who has now provided a redeemer for your family! Can you imagine the joy on Naomi’s face when she held her grandson?
A guardian-redeemer is a close, influential relative to whom members of the extended family could turn for help, usually when the family line or possessions were in danger of being lost. He was responsible for buying back family land sold during a crisis (see Lev 25:25), buying back enslaved relatives (see Lev 25:47–49), providing an heir for a dead brother (see Dt 25:5–10), avenging the killing of a relative (see Nu 35:19–21) and caring for relatives in difficult circumstances.
Sometimes there has to be a series of events to occur for you to be redeemed.
People have to die, famine occurs, you have to move to a place you've never been before. Boaz wanted to redeem her but there was someone in line before him. Once he did the right thing,
I image her weeping and rejoicing as she held him. Proclaiming the Lord to be a redeemer! Being a witness to the city of the unspeakable joy and the importance of having a guardian-redeemer. Someone to claim you and make recompense for the harm and loss that exceeded your capacity to comprehend. Naomi wept and rocked her grandson. She will instill in him the importance of family. He will be taught that sometimes you have to leave everything you know. Everyone you grew up with. There will also be times when the Lord will send you back home.
The Lord our God is our guardian-redeemer! Matthew 11:28-29 says come to me,
all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
Let this year find us loving and seeking God as we have never done before. Our God, our guardian-redeemer will save our bloodline, He will restore our families and clear our names. He will produce an heir. Our God, our guardian-redeemer.
Guest Blogger, Eunice Johnson-Strickland
Pastor Teresa actively travels throughout the country imparting the Word of God in a candid and refreshing way. Teresa is the host and creator of SisterFriends Cups and Conversations, an Internet Talk Show providing a platform for women to engage. www.newcreationfamilychurch.com to learn more.