My favorite place in the whole world is in the grip of my husband’s arms, head against his chest, swaying to the sweet sound of notes harmonizing perfectly. Sometimes those notes are in our head, sometimes they blare from speakers surrounding us.
My favorite place to dance is in the empty silence of my apartment.
But my favorite single dance was in front of three hundred familiar faces on my wedding reception dance floor.
I find it odd that I love both the solitude and togetherness when it comes to relationship, but I also know that it falls perfectly in line with God’s design.
Today, I want to use the book of Ruth to highlight the way we sway with our Jesus. Rather, the way he beckons us to the dance floor.
Quick recap: Ruth was the daughter-in-law of a man named Elimelech and a woman named Naomi. Yet after her husband, father-in-law, and brother-in-law died, she was left with only her mother and sister-in-law. Rather than going back to her original people group, she decided to accept the reality of widowhood and poverty to take care of her mother-in-law, Naomi. She decided to follow a God who was unfamiliar to her in the grand scheme of life. She chose to travel down a road of suffering and labor. All so she could faithfully care for a woman whom she loved.
So Ruth and Naomi moved to Bethlehem. Quickly and quietly, Ruth humbled herself and began gleaning in the fields–basically doing the last and less glamorous bit of work that she might be able to care for Naomi. The field in which she gleaned belonged to Boaz, a wealthy man who was related to her deceased husband. He noticed her. He noticed her hard work. He noticed her kindness. He noticed her humility. She caught his eye. And so our story continues.
Please please please take a pause from this broken, human writing and hop over to Ruth 3. Read the entirety of these perfect words breathed out by God. If you haven’t read the book recently, start at chapter 1 and read all the way through 3 to understand the sweet story in all its glory.
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 So she went down to the threshing floor and did just as her mother-in-law had commanded her.  And when Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain. Then she came softly and uncovered his feet and lay down.  At midnight the man was startled and turned over, and behold, a woman lay at his feet!  He said, “Who are you?” And she answered, “I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your wings over your servant, for you are a redeemer.”  And he said, “May you be blessed by the LORD, my daughter. You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich.  And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you ask, for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman.  And now it is true that I am a redeemer. Yet there is a redeemer nearer than I.  Remain tonight, and in the morning, if he will redeem you, good; let him do it. But if he is not willing to redeem you, then, as the LORD lives, I will redeem you. Lie down until the morning.”
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Okay, my friends. I would be lying to you if I said this is an easy chapter to understand. It’s hard. It makes very little sense to people living in our current culture. I have spent the morning researching, so let’s clear some things up.
Here is what the Bible dictionaries have told me:
- A kinsman would have simply been a close relative to someone. This relative takes most of the responsibility after death. For example, a kinsman may raise up one of his sons to take the name and inheritance of the deceased, he would become the blood avenger if the deceased was murdered, and he would redeem (we will get to that word in a second) the estate of the deceased. Finally, the kinsman could marry the spouse of the deceased, and she would get to keep her part of the deceased’s property and wealth.
- Now a redeemer is a word we are more familiar with. But let’s break it down even more. To redeem is to pay a price in order to release someone or something. It frees people from enemies, oppression, enslavement, and sin. It could mean redeeming property all the way to redeeming us from the throws of the evil we so deserve.
So. To put that all together, a kinsman redeemer is a close relative who would redeem a widow of a deceased family member. It would release her from the poverty which now entangled her and from the widowhood which haunted her.
The problem for Ruth was that the men who would have normally become her kinsman redeemer–her husband’s brothers–were no longer alive. Let me be clear. She was willing to do life without that promise.
Yet Naomi saw Boaz and thought otherwise. She looked at Ruth and said, go. Ask him. Ask him to take on this responsibility. Ask him to give you a romance. To take you under his wing as a wife.
And so Ruth did.
And so begins the romance.
The romance that is a choice.
The romance that includes great reward.
The romance that requires blood and resources and willingness.
This would be a dance.
This would be a dance that would overtake Ruth’s life, tear down the walls of insecurity and poverty and abjection. It would defy odds and protect her loved ones and lead to greatness. It would be her reward. It would include both private bliss and public delight.
Does that not sound familiar?
My friends! My co-heirs! Jesus is our Kinsman Redeemer!
We were once children of God, but when we chose sin and death over life abundant, we could no longer be His. So Jesus. Jesus. Jesus, part of the God-head trinity left His throne and came! He came down to redeem us from the punishment price we have to pay. He came down to fulfill this law. To be the ultimate and perfect redeemer.
A Kinsman Redeemer requires blood relationship. He is the son of our God and yet completely human.
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” (Galatians 4:4-5 ESV)
“For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham.  Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” (Hebrews 2:16-17 ESV)
A Kinsman Redeemer must hold the necessary resources. He was the only one who was not tied by sin and death, and he bought us! He was the only one with the necessary resources.
“for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:20 ESV)
“knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold,  but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” (1 Peter 1:18-19 ESV)
A Kinsman Redeemer must be willing to pay the price. He did it because He wanted to. He had the choice, and He chose to lay down His complete self that we might be redeemed from our own poverty of God.
“just as the Father knows me and I know the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep… No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” (John 10:15, 18 ESV)
“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” (1 John 3:16 ESV)
He says to us with His sweet redemption, Beloved, you are worth it to me.
He woos us with his ability, with his sacrifice, and with his deep desire to see us renewed.
He romances us toward Him.
He dances with us.
So in this great dance, in this dance that overtakes our lives, tears down the walls of our hearts, and defies the odds. In the greatest dance we will ever experience, let us take His hand. Let us be led by his sweet swaying. Let us love it in private, worshipping in our dorm rooms and dens, praying with our foreheads to the ground, and begging Him for his sweet rewards out loud. Let us also love it in public, singing his praises for the world to see, praying to Jesus that others might know Him, and displaying His great love for us in our own lives.
Let’s love this Jesus dance, my beloved sisters. Let’s love it more than anything else this world could possibly bring. Let’s boldly lie on His threshing floor and allow His blood to redeem us.
Originally posted 2017-02-13 20:40:48.