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Deep in Our Hearts We Long for Redemption

Have you ever noticed how every good fictional book and every good movie has a redemption story? Think about it. Every good Disney movie, every good mystery novel, and even most horror movies have a plot that centers around a need and desire for a redemptive ending. In fact, my wife and I recently went on a date, and I was researching movies and came across one that I had wanted to see but that got panned by viewers and critics. When I looked to see why the movie got poor reviews, the general consensus was, “There was absolutely nothing redeeming about this movie. It was a waste of 2 hours of my life.”

Reflecting on the movies I’ve enjoyed and the movies I hated, I realize that deep down inside, I long for redemption. In fact, I believe deep in our hearts we love a redemptive story.

This morning, I studied Ruth 3, one of the hundreds of stories of redemption in the Bible. In the first two chapters of Ruth, we learn that Ruth was a Moabite women. She came from an evil people whose religious practices included child sacrifice. Yet God chose her to be the great-great (and many more greats) grandmother of Jesus. At the end of the first chapter, Ruth arrived with her mother-in-law Naomi to Bethlehem in a state of emptiness. Both women were homeless and moneyless. They desperately needed someone to rescue them, or they would die.

Because Ruth had been so kind to Naomi and had vowed to take care of her as long as she lived, Naomi was kind to Ruth and came up with a plan to see that she was taken care of. But this plan involved a huge amount of risk and was dependent on the kindness of a man named Boaz.

Boaz was a relative of Elimilech, Naomi’s husband. In the partriarchal society of ancient Israel, property was not passed down to women but only through the men in the family. When Elimelech’s two sons dies, Naomi and Ruth were left with nothing. However, the law in their society stated that a male relative could redeem or purchase the property until a male heir could take over. Naomi was too old to marry or produce an heir, but if Ruth (who was not a young woman herself) could produce a male heir, the estate could once again be Ruth’s and Naomi’s. Otherwise, they would die homeless.

I’ll let you read the chapter for yourself to see what happens, but ultimately Ruth made it clear to Boaz, an older man who had shown her kindness, that she needed him and wanted him to save her by marrying her and redeeming the land. At the end of the chapter, Boaz agrees he will try to redeem her, but he says out of honor he will give a closer relative the opportunity first. I won’t give away chapter 4, but it’s pretty obvious what happens. It’s a great redemptive story!

In a spiritual sense, we’re all in desperate need of a redeemer. We’re desolate and empty, and only God can save us and fill us. Just as Boaz was Ruth’s only hope, Jesus is our only hope. Ruth couldn’t do anything to save herself or earn Boaz’s favor, but thankfully all she had to do was accept his free gift of redemption. Thankfully, all we need to do is accept God’s free gift, too. Jesus is our Redeemer!

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photo credit: MTSOfan Do I Matter to Anyone? via photopin (license)


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About Chad Young

Chad Young works in full-time college ministry, serving as Cru Global’s national director over the southeast region, leading the ministries in FL, GA, AL, and MS. He has served on the staff of Cru for fifteen years. He is the author of Authenticity: Real Faith in a Phony, Superficial World (InterVarsity Press), a discipleship-training manual, and magazine articles for Worldwide Challenge and The Collegiate. He frequently speaks at retreats and conferences and regularly writes devotionals for his website, findingauthenticchristianity.com. Chad, with his wife Elizabeth, travels the country to speak at churches and train church leaders how to make Biblical disciples. Chad currently resides in Atlanta, GA, with his wife Elizabeth and their four young children, Wyatt, Clark, Evelyn, and Josilynn. His hobbies include cheering on his kids in sports, following college football, and laughing with family around the backyard fire pit.
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