At an earlier period in Israel, a man removed his sandal and gave it to the other party in order to make any matter legally binding concerning the right of redemption or the exchange of property. This was the method of legally binding a transaction in IsraeSo the redeemer removed his sandal and said to Boaz, “Buy back the property yourself.”
Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses today that I am buying from Naomi everything that belonged to Elimelech, Chilion, and Mahlon. I have also acquired Ruth the Moabitess, Mahlon’s widow, as my wife, to perpetuate the deceased man’s name on his property, so that his name will not disappear among his relatives or from the gate of his hometown. You are witnesses today.”
The book of Ruth is wonderful in its examples of kindness, faith, and patience – and the overriding grace and mercy God shows to those that remain faithful to Him during times of difficulty. Reading through the book of Ruth, and thinking about its key themes, was an opportunity for me to reflect on my life and those periods when I was going through challenging or difficult circumstances. It allowed me to see more clearly how the hand of God was at work to introduce me to new people and new circumstances, and to create changes that I did not expect in my life but that allowed me to grow further as a Christian and to see God’s grace and mercy at work.
In Ruth 4:7-10, we see what appears to be a somewhat standard type of transaction under levirate law occurring between family relatives regarding the sale of land owned by a deceased family member to another family relative. The transaction called for the “family redeemer” to purchase the land from a surviving family member and to marry the wife of the deceased man to perpetuate the man’s name on his property. When approved by the church elders, the transaction was made legal by the practice of a man removing his sandal and giving it to the other man in the transaction.
But in this case, the primary family redeemer did not agree to purchase the land and take Ruth as his wife, a decision likely impacted by the fact that Ruth was from Moab and considered a foreigner within Judah. However, Boaz, another family redeemer, and a godly man, agreed to acquire the land and take Ruth as his wife, setting in motion God’s plan for his people. This transaction, although not uncommon by the standards of the day, brought together the faithful and godly people Boaz and Ruth, to establish the family of David and the lineage leading to the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. Their faithfulness brought God’s blessing and honor to their names in ways neither one of them could have considered at the time.
At times in our lives, events occur that bring unexpected results that we see in retrospect were God’s grace and mercy at work in our lives, bringing about something much greater and more meaningful in our lives than we could have ever hoped. I pray that God will work in unexpected and mysterious ways in your life to bring about unexpected blessings and joy according to His plans.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- How often in your life has a simple meeting, encounter, geographical move, job decision or other action brought unexpected results that you can see in retrospect was God’s grace and mercy at work in your life?
- Do I need to be more faithful to the Lord in my life, and open up new ways for Him to work his perfect plan in all aspects of my life?
Pray for the ministry of the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Homes. Continue to pray for strength and encouragement for the staff, and for the children and families they serve.