21 Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us, 22 beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.”
23 So they nominated two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. 24 Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen 25 to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.” 26 Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.
The 11 disciples that remained had been very close to Jesus all the time. He had taught them when they were away from the crowds. They had helped him in his special work on earth. They had also seen him many times after his resurrection. They had watched him leave the earth. And they had watched him go up to heaven. They wanted the new disciple to be someone who had known Jesus like this. He must tell everyone that Jesus had beaten death. So, he needed to have seen with his own eyes that Jesus was alive.
Barsabbas means ‘son of the Sabbath’. Maybe he was born on the Sabbath day. Justus is a Gentile name. Many Jews had both a Jewish name and a Gentile name.
Eusebius lived from about AD 260 to AD 340. He wrote history. He said that the 70 disciples in Luke 10:1 included Matthias and Barsabbas. But we do not really know that. Luke does not write about Matthias and Barsabbas again.
Verse 24 ‘Then they prayed’. The disciples asked God to choose between Matthias and Barsabbas. God always knows what is best. Therefore, we should pray about everything that we do.
Philippians 4:6-7 New International Version (NIV)
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Judas chose to leave his life as a disciple. Therefore, the place ‘where he belongs’ was not with the disciples. He had been chosen into one place by Jesus, but had made another choice for himself, which had ended in destruction. That “his own place” when thus used was, to the Jewish mind, an equivalent for Gehenna = the place of torment, may be seen from the Baal Haturim on Numbers 24:25, where it is said “Balaam went to his own place, i.e. to Gehenna.”
‘Then they cast lots.’ This was the usual way for Jews to make a choice. It was used many times in the Old Testament.
The practice of casting lots is mentioned 70 times in the Old Testament and seven times in the New Testament. In spite of the many references to casting lots in the Old Testament, nothing is known about the actual lots themselves. They could have been sticks of various lengths, flat stones like coins, or some kind of dice; but their exact nature is unknown. The closest modern practice to casting lots is likely flipping a coin.
The practice of casting lots occurs most often in connection with the division of the land under Joshua (Joshua chapters 14-21), a procedure that God instructed the Israelites on several times in the book of Numbers (Numbers 26:55; 33:54; 34:13; 36:2). God allowed the Israelites to cast lots in order to determine His will for a given situation (Joshua 18:6-10; 1 Chronicles 24:5,31). Various offices and functions in the temple were also determined by lot (1 Chronicles 24:5, 31; 25:8-9; 26:13-14). The sailors on Jonah’s ship (Jonah 1:7) also cast lots to determine who had brought God’s wrath upon their ship. The eleven apostles cast lots to determine who would replace Judas (Acts 1:26). Casting lots eventually became a game people played and made wagers on. This is seen in the Roman soldiers casting lots for Jesus’ garments (Matthew 27:35).
The New Testament nowhere instructs Christians to use a method similar to casting lots to help with decision-making. Now that we have the completed Word of God, as well as the indwelling Holy Spirit to guide us, there is no reason to be using games of chance to make decisions. The Word, the Spirit, and prayer are sufficient for discerning God’s will today—not casting lots, rolling dice, or flipping a coin.
When people ‘cast lots’, they wrote people’s names on stones. They put the stones in a jar. Then they shook the jar until a stone fell out. The name on the stone was the person that they must choose. This was the last time when they cast lots in the New Testament. After the Holy Spirit came, the disciples did not need to do this. Instead, the Holy Spirit guided them.
In the book, Surprised by Joy, C.S. Lewis shares a story about one of his favorite teachers, who was a brilliant teacher and personal friend of Lewis’s father, Mr. Kirkpatrick was the one who taught Lewis how to be a merciless debater by building a strong logical case, one that would be hard, if not impossible, to defeat. A staunch atheist, Mr. Kirkpatrick wanted to strengthen Lewis in his own beliefs.
Yet years later through Christ’s grace and deep friendships with Christians, C.S. Lewis began questioning his atheism and within a few years, became a Christian himself. Because of his early training by Mr. Kirkpatrick, Lewis was an amazing debater and God used his former training for good as C.S. Lewis became one of the greatest defenders of the Christian faith in the 20th century.
Genesis 50:20 New King James Version (NKJV)
20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.
In some ways, I feel Paul is a little bit like C.S. Lewis before Lewis became a Christian. Both men were very well educated and trained at a young age to defend their “beliefs” and oppose the opposite side. Both men were all-stars in their worlds of academics with high expectations from those who trained them.
Galatians 1:14 New King James Version (NKJV)
14 And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers.
Paul was the Jew of all Jews. He was the elite. He had the education and the pedigree… and he knew it.
Because of the pride in his heart, Paul was blinded to the truth.
He was a man of religious deeds and was an amazing religious rule-keeper. So focused on being right and persecuting those he felt were wrong, Paul missed the big picture of what God was doing in the world…redeeming it through Jesus Christ.
Galatians 1:15 New King James Version (NKJV)
15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace,
We see how God had set Paul apart from birth, preparing him all along the way for the exact purpose of being one of the greatest defenders of the Christian faith of all time.
Nothing from Paul’s past was unused.
The pride that had driven him to be the best, the most worthy and the moralist, now was replaced with God’s grace. God in his amazing redemption used all of Paul’s past experiences, failures, and zealous pride to break him and then equip him to be the very man to build His church – the very church Paul once persecuted.
What a powerful reminder to all of us today: NO ONE is too broken for God’s redemptive grace!
If God can take a man like Paul – a man who was filled with pride, who hated Christians and even killed them – and turn his life around, how can we ever doubt He can’t do it again?
May we never forget we serve an amazing God who redeems the religiously prideful just as He does the lost. No one is too far out of reach for our Lord to touch with His amazing love and grace!
Let us take courage and find delight in the mighty way God worked through Paul’s life to redeem his past and bring hope for his future! Just as God extended redemption to Paul, He does for us, too. God takes our sins, our past misunderstandings, our previous training and brings purpose to it all.
May we not be afraid of our pasts and the sins we wish we could erase, but rather allow God to redeem them for His glory just like He did in Paul’s life!
Spend time praying today for the “Saul” in your life, asking God to intervene in this person’s life and redeem their past for Jesus’ glory! And have hope sweet friend, God turned Saul into Paul and He can do it again!
If you read the Bible study on Ruth, you know I had to memorize this section of scripture as a teen. Genealogies can be tedious and hard to read. However, I challenge you while reading this to look for people you know. Link their stories in your mind to Jesus’ birth.
The Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah
1 This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham:
2 Abraham was the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
Perez the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
4 Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse,
6 and Jesse the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah’s wife,
7 Solomon the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asa,
8 Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram,
Jehoram the father of Uzziah,
9 Uzziah the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,
10 Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amon,
Amon the father of Josiah,
11 and Josiah the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.
12 After the exile to Babylon:
Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
13 Zerubbabel the father of Abihud,
Abihud the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
14 Azor the father of Zadok,
Zadok the father of Akim,
Akim the father of Elihud,
15 Elihud the father of Eleazar,
Eleazar the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.
17 Thus there were fourteen generations in all from Abraham to David, fourteen from David to the exile to Babylon, and fourteen from the exile to the Messiah.
The stories about Jesus in the Gospels are true. They really happened. They tell us how God completed his plan. His plan was to save men and women. He wanted to save them from the power and the results of their sin.
Before Matthew wrote the first book of the New Testament, he was a disciple of Christ. Before that his job was to collect taxes. He became one of Jesus’ best friends. (Read Matthew 9:9–13. Then read Mark 2:13–17 and Luke 5:27–32.)
Matthew was writing down what actually happened. He wanted his readers to understand this. Look at the first words of his book. They seem to just tell Jesus’ family history. But it is probably more than this. Matthew was introducing the whole book. He was saying, ‘This book gives the history of Jesus Christ.’
Many of us know the word, Messiah. It is a common term for Christians today. However, the Jews of this time had been waiting for the Messiah for generations and generations. To a Jew, this meant the one who would save them.
The Old Testament is full of promises and prophecies about the Messiah who would come. Jews in Matthew’s time knew about the Messiah. The Romans had been their rulers for many years. Jews hoped that the ‘Christ’ would save them from the power of the Romans.
The name ‘Jesus’ means ‘he will certainly save’. Matthew 1:21 says, ” She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins . Jews expected the Christ to have the name of Jesus. So, many mothers gave this name to their sons. They hoped that their child would be the Messiah. This Jesus was the son of Mary.
But, Jesus came to save the Jews from much more than the Romans. He came to save them from the results and power of their sin. He came to establish a kingdom. His kingdom would be much greater than any other one.
2 Samuel 7:16
16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me[a]; your throne will be established forever.’”
The Jews knew these passages. They are about the Messiah who would come. He would save them. The Jews would know him when he came. They were sure about this. Christ would come from the families of both Abraham and David. Matthew tells us that this was true about Jesus. He was ‘the son of David’. He was ‘the son of Abraham’.
The beginnings of families
People want to discover who their past family members were. The word for them is ‘ancestors’. Today, there are huge businesses created to help you connect with your ancestors. In many parts of the world, it has always been vital. The Jews kept careful records. Either the oldest members of the family would remember, or, they would write down the names. Matthew was writing especially to Jews. So, it was important to give proof. He must show that his claims about Jesus were true.
Matthew began his book with a list of names. He divided it into three sections. Each section has 14 names.
The first section begins with Abraham. He was the first man to have a promise like this from God. The promise was that God would send someone special. This person would be from Abraham’s family. He would come to save people. Genesis 12:1–3
12 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
2 “I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.[a]
3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”[b]
The first section ends with David. He was the Jews’ greatest king (1:2–6a). So, Matthew showed the human part of God’s promise. David was the greatest member of Abraham’s family. This was true until the time when Matthew lived. But, after David had died, his kingdom divided. It became two separate parts. Then, it stopped being a great kingdom. But God gave greater promises to David in 2 Samuel 7. The person who would save them would be greater than David.
The second section continues with David’s family. It ends at the time of the exile.
Then there is the third section. This deals with the years from the exile to the birth of Jesus Christ. (This is in 1:12–17.) Some people claimed to be the Messiah. This happened even before the time of Matthew. But there was nobody who could convince the people. Then, Jesus came. Matthew shows that Jesus is the Messiah. All of God’s promises in the Old Testament come true in him.
Think about it.
Some people say that the stories about Jesus just contain truth. This religious truth is what matters. It is not important whether they actually happened. What would you say to these people?
What is the most important thing to tell non-Christians? What does your church group think? Matthew emphasised that ‘God saves’. Do you agree with him?
Jesus will establish a kingdom one day. Do you concentrate on this fact? Or, do you care more about what you can get from him now?
Can you see God’s plan running through history? Can you see how he laid it out from the beginning?
The sheer amount of God’s promises overwhelms me. In this last section of psalm 91, God makes eight promises in one paragraph! He pledges to deliver, to protect, to answer, to be with us, to rescue and honor us, to satisfy and show us his salvation. God’s love moves him to joyfully commit to lavish and unbelievable promises!
Psalm 91:14-16 New International Version (NIV)
14 “Because he[a loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”
God offers all these promises to us if we do three little things: I must hold fast to him in love, know his name, and call to him in trouble. I take this to mean when I know God in the fullness of all His amazing ways, I will then love him with a steadfast love. And my complete dependence on His love causes us to have a deep cry for salvation. He gets the praise, I get the freedom. He gets the glory, I get the rescue!
Do not think that knowing him, holding fast and calling on him still works we must contribute to our salvation, as works. These are necessary works God both requires and supplies! We only contribute what He has already given.
We know him only because He knew us first and enabled our knowing Him. “Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God,” (Galatians 4:8-9). We know God because He knew us first and that empowers our knowing Him.
We hold fast in love, not by our strength or virtue, but because He holds fast to us. We call upon him because He has called us first. “To those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours” (1 Corinthians 1:2). We only call on Him for salvation because the Holy Spirit convicted us to do so.
These promises in psalm 91 are made to the one who trusts in God: “I will say to the LORD, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust’” (Psalm 91:2). As you trust in Him, you will know Him more clearly, love Him more deeply, and call on Him more freely. The root of every good fruit is trust in God.
Why did Satan seek to tempt Christ with verses 11-12 of this Psalm? Because he knew that Jesus Christ is God. Christ’s refusal to put His Father to the test shows His obedience is perfect; so should we strive to be, if we are in Him.
Know God then, in the face of Christ, because in Christ you are fully known. Hold fast in love to Christ because it is God’s love in Christ which holds you fast. Call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, for in Christ you have been called.
Has your family struggled recently? What trials or difficulties have come your way? What pains have you experienced so far this year? These next verses in Psalms have a lot to say about these trials and how we should think and feel about them in relationship to the great God we serve and worship.
Psalm 91:9-10 New International Version (NIV)
9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
God is called the refuge for those who have made Him their dwelling place both in verse 2 and 9. A refuge is a place of protection and rest from dangers and troubles. We live in a wretched sinful world, one that is full pain and suffering. Because of that, all people will experience problems or as we read earlier in Psalm 91, “Terrors in the night” or “deadly pestilence.”
But, even in the middle of such difficulties, for those who make God their dwelling place, He will be their refuge. Look at this for a minute. To dwell means to live. a dwelling is a house, a place where you have all your stuff, where you rest, where you eat, and where you feel safe. Where you dwell is where you live. So “If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling,” you are living in the Lord. You are going everyday and spending time. You return often and feel safe. And, ultimately and finally, God will keep evil from befalling those who are His. This is all because of the power and grace of His Son, Jesus Christ, who took the punishment due to those who are His.
The key, though, is that for people to experience this comfort and reassurance they must make God their dwelling place. This comfort and peace don’t come simply from thinking ‘happy thoughts’ or putting forth ‘positive energy.’ It is rooted and grounded in an objective being, God, or as the psalmist refers to Him, the Most High.
No harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent is the next section this does not mean everything is sunshine and roses. Look closely! No harm will overtake you. How can it? God is all powerful. Trails may come, but they can’t overtake you if you are living in the Most High. I have seen people go through tremendous tragedies and cancer and never lose their joy. It can not overtake them. They have the hope of eternity in Jesus and no earthly troubles are going to change that.
Are you clinging to God? Are you calling out to Him when the difficulties and trials of living in a sinful world come at you? Do you know and are you trusting in the Most High to be your refuge? If not, please turn to Him, the Creator of all things and experience the comfort and blessing of knowing Him and living under His comforting shelter.
The next two verses in Psalm 91 are sometimes difficult to comprehend. Is it literal, or is it figurative, or is it symbolic? But the more important question is, “Do you have the courage to believe that God means this literally in His promise of protection?” Is it possible that this could mean exactly what it says? Can you see that this paints a picture of spiritual warfare, as well as physical attacks? I think it is safe to say that not everyone will benefit from this promise. Like all the other promises in Psalm 91, this one is available to all; but only those who believes in God and holds onto the promises within, will receive the benefits. But we need to choose to believe and trust His Word!
Psalm 91:7-8 New International Version (NIV)
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
Notice that this verse follows on the heels of verse 6, which tells us that we will not be afraid of the destruction…. God knows that there will be times when we will be overwhelmed with all the negative reports in life. Current events come to my mind; how about yours? That is why He is warning us in this verse that thousands will fall around us; they will not only cave into the doubts and worries of spiritual warfare, but could be consumed by the actual real-life events that are happening all around us(wars and mass murders; viruses and diseases).
At this point, we have to choose whether we will believe and trust; running to that shelter of the Most High, where He promised we would rest in His shadow. Remember Psalm 91: 1 and the first promise? He offers the promises of protection, but we must choose to claim them! Otherwise, we find ourselves, along with the rest of the world, passively accepting the consequences of “the destruction” that is happening to the thousands at our side, and the ten thousands at our right.
Now let’s take a look at the rest of our selection today. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked . Here God is telling us that we will see His judgment at times. Sooner or later, every unconfessed sin of unbelievers will be exposed and paid for. We have seen that happen. An evil dictator falls; an aggressive tyrant faces his crimes against humanity. I think this verse is telling us that if we seek His protection from the evil that is causing those around us to fall, we will see it and not let it become part of us. Our protection keeps us from letting the Enemy’s hate become a part of us. By believing and trusting in His protection promises, we are putting ourselves in a separate category from the wicked mentioned in the verse. I want to caution you that Psalm 91 does not promise protection from persecution. There is a difference in the destruction of the enemy and persecution for the gospel’s sake.
In truth, Jesus, himself, told us that if we follow Him, we can expect to be persecuted. Jesus suffered persecution, but He did not face calamity, disaster, disease, or catastrophes. This verse lets us know to expect that spiritual warfare will be a part of our Christian walk, as well as physical attacks. The words of this verse are not written just to inspire or comfort us, but to provide protection and deliverance from the attacks of the Enemy.
What I hope you have seen, and will see in the coming verses is that Psalm 91 is a complete covenant package of protection. It covers all the evils known to mankind, and God tells us how to claim His protection over them all!
Just because we all experience fear doesn’t mean we have to live with it. Perhaps the most famous fear quote of all time came from Franklin D. Roosevelt at his first Inaugural Address, which occurred in 1933, in the middle of the Great Depression: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror, which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
The Bible says about fear. The word afraid is found over 200 times in the Bible, and the word fear is found 53 times in the Psalms alone. Knowing this we can understand when you are afraid you are not alone. It is something the majority of people deal with.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday
The “You will not fear” phrase here is not a polite suggestion, but a command. It is spoken emphatically and often by God to His servants. God wants us to fear Him, but not the world. God doesn’t tell us, “fear isn’t good for you,” “fear isn’t helpful,” “try not to fear.” No. We hear this exact Hebrew command meaning “do not fear” or “you will not fear” 51 times in the Bible.
God said to Abraham (Abram) after he rescued his nephew Lot: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield, your reward will be very great” (Genesis 15:1). God said it again to Abraham’s son Isaac, “Fear not, for I am with you and will bless you and multiply your offspring” (Genesis 26:24).
For me, the most memorable is in 2 Kings when Elisha’s servant is terrified as he awakes to find the city surrounded by horses and chariots from the King of Syria. “… And the servant said [to Elisha], ‘Alas, my master! What shall we do?’ He said, ‘Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ Then Elisha prayed and said, ‘O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.’ So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (2 Kings 6:15-17).
We know that God can protect us and keep us safe, so why fear. Especially the world and Satan? God is bigger that our fears. In these verses we read, “the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. ” Notice What we are not to fear. Things during the day and night. When I was young I rarely got scared in the day time. But it was a whole different story at night. Our mind wanders in the night and every sound becomes a terror until we turn on the light. Jesus said He is the light. If we have him there is nothing to fear.
So we are to be fearless no matter the time of day: we should not fear the terrors “of the night,” the arrows “by day,” the pestilence “in darkness,” or the destruction “at noonday.” We are to be fearless no matter how big the problem is, whether the unknown “terror” or dread in our minds, the slim “arrow,” the microscopic “pestilence,” or the monstrous “destruction.”
How can God require this of us? Because He is the answer to all of our fears. He is our shield and rampart. Stop being parallelized by fear and start facing your fears with God.
As you know, My husband is my Boaz. And one of the things I just love is how Boaz is a man of his word. When Daniel and I were about to get married we discussed much of what we wanted our marriage to be like. One thing we always said and still do is, “Mean what you say and say what you mean.” This means always be a person of your word and don’t be passive aggressive or beat about the bush with something. Because of this, we have grown to trust and lean on each other more than any other relationships in our lives. Boaz also embodies this phrase. Right after Ruth heads back to Naomi with a shawl full of barley, Boaz wastes no time and travels into town, just like he said he would.
Ruth 4:1-12 New International Version (NIV)
4 Meanwhile Boaz went up to the town gate and sat down there just as the guardian-redeemer he had mentioned came along. Boaz said, “Come over here, my friend, and sit down.” So he went over and sat down.
2 Boaz took ten of the elders of the town and said, “Sit here,” and they did so. 3 Then he said to the guardian-redeemer, “Naomi, who has come back from Moab, is selling the piece of land that belonged to our relative Elimelek. 4 I thought I should bring the matter to your attention and suggest that you buy it in the presence of these seated here and in the presence of the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, do so. But if you[b] will not, tell me, so I will know. For no one has the right to do it except you, and I am next in line.”
“I will redeem it,” he said.
5 Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the land from Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the[c] dead man’s widow, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property.”
6 At this, the guardian-redeemer said, “Then I cannot redeem it because I might endanger my own estate. You redeem it yourself. I cannot do it.”
7 (Now in earlier times in Israel, for the redemption and transfer of property to become final, one party took off his sandal and gave it to the other. This was the method of legalizing transactions in Israel.)
8 So the guardian-redeemer said to Boaz, “Buy it yourself.” And he removed his sandal.
9 Then Boaz announced to the elders and all the people, “Today you are witnesses that I have bought from Naomi all the property of Elimelek, Kilion and Mahlon. 10 I have also acquired Ruth the Moabite, Mahlon’s widow, as my wife, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property, so that his name will not disappear from among his family or from his hometown. Today you are witnesses!”
11 Then the elders and all the people at the gate said, “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the family of Israel. May you have standing in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. 12 Through the offspring the Lord gives you by this young woman, may your family be like that of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah.”
Boaz is ready to make good on his word. He will do everything in his power to bring redemption to both Ruth and Naomi’s lives. From the Scripture, we see Boaz is not only able to meet with this nearer, unnamed kinsman-redeemer, but he is also able to gather the ten elders of the town to hold this important meeting.
At first, this man seems eager to redeem Elimilek’s property. My heart screams out, “No!” Even though I know the story, I tend to get caught up in the narrative. Until he hears that Ruth a Moabite comes with the redemption.
The cost is too much.
The potential sacrifice to his own estate too high.
He is only willing to redeem that which will benefit him and carry on his name… not the name of someone else.
Should he step into this redemption kinsman-redeemer role and take on Elimilek’s land and “property,” this man would risk putting his own heritage at stake. So he counts the cost and decides to pass on the opportunity. And of course, all of us cheer with excitement for what this means for Ruth and Naomi!
Boaz steps in and makes good on his word. He accepts her, loves her, and joyfully takes on the responsibility of caring for both Ruth and Naomi. He does not worrying about Ruth’s Moabite past. Just as Jesus steps in as our Redeemer with no worries of our sinful past.
How ironic that the first kinsman-redeemer was more concerned about protecting his name and his inheritance, yet we don’t even know his name. Boaz, on the other hand, didn’t care about those matters. He chose to love, accept, and help those who didn’t have the power to help themselves, and his name has been kept through generations because of his obedience and the good he did. Boaz’s name and deeds live on through Scripture.
We all have a choice to make just as Boaz and the nearer kinsman-redeemer, the choice to live for ourselves or to live in obedience to God. We can choose to live lives that are ordinary in our own strength and what we can accomplish, or we can choose to live out God’s truth and live lives that are extraordinary because of how we allow God to work through us.
We can choose to play it safe, or we can choose to live lives in complete obedience to God. Our choices dictate the type of legacy we leave behind.
Boaz’s name is preserved in Scripture and the other man is never heard of again. What he thought he was saving, he lost. What Boaz didn’t care to save, he kept.
May we choose to be like Boaz, people who are not only willing to obey God, but have a passion for it. Be someone who is willing to redeem, love, and protect those rejected by the world. May we be people who love and care for the least in our midst. May we be people who are like Boaz. And in turn be more like Jesus.
Let’s Talk: Who has been a “Boaz” to you and what impact did this person’s kindness have on your life?