Devotion: Ruth 4:14-16Levirate Marriage is a fascinating topic. The practice is detailed in Deuteronomy 25:5-10 and bears directly on how our passage this week is to be understood. Legally speaking, the child born to Ruth and Boaz is the heir of Mahlon, the eldest son of Elimelech, the deceased husband of Naomi. While this son is also the child of Boaz, his right of inheritance will come first from Elimelech's line. In this way, Naomi sees in this child her redemption.
"Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.” Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her lap and became his nurse." -Ruth 4:14-16 ESVThe women who greeted Naomi when she returned and were told to call her Mara (meaning bitter) now come to the redeemed Naomi and find a very different woman. She takes this child to her lap and becomes his nurse, a second mother or perhaps a grandmother to the boy. Her tears and anguish for her husband and sons are not gone, they are now mingled with the joy of hope.
The women tell Naomi that this boy is her redemption, indeed he is the redeemer. No longer is it Boaz, now the mantle has passed to the son. This son will provide for her needs and care for her until the end of her days. In short, the child will love her and care for her and give all for her.
Ruth is also lifted up as a true daughter-in-law, one who is even of more value than 7 sons (more than triple what Naomi had lost). In this way Ruth is radically included in the people of God, proving that genetic lineage is not all that it is cracked up to be. Rather, it is keeping faith with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God who delivered his people from Egypt, from the house of slavery, to the promised land of Canaan that marks one as belonging to the people of God. This very important notion will be picked up by the Apostle Paul in his discussion of Abraham in Romans 4.
In many ways, the coming of the unexpected son mirrors the coming of Boaz's greater offspring, Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary, adopted into the family of Joseph, the descendant of David. This little child on the lap of Naomi, bringing redemption and joy, is prefiguring of the Christ, wrapped in swaddling clothes and laying in a manger. Obed will bring redemption to the family of Elimelech. The Christ child will bring redemption to the whole world and restore us to the joy of salvation.
Taking a break this week from The Porter's Gate to bring this song from Redeemed called "Spring of Joy." Check out Redeemed and the The Good Christian Music Blog.
News for You:
- Our Ash Wednesday Service will be tonight at 6:30 p.m. This brief service is open to all ages and is an invitation to a season of repentance, traditionally called Lent, that leads up to the celebration of Resurrection Sunday (this year on April 1).
- A Green Potluck will be held March 11. Check the bulletin for details.
- Bill and Maria Errico will be leading a presentation and discussion of the ketogenic diet Feb. 25 in the Parlor following coffee fellowship.
- Maundy Thursday service will be March 29 at 7 p.m. This will be a service of Word, Prayer and the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. Childcare will be provided.
- The annual Community Good Friday service will be March 30 at 7 p.m. at CPC Omak. This is a yearly opportunity to come together with sisters and brothers from other congregations to contemplate the seven sayings of Jesus from the cross. Childcare will be provided.