I am currently doing a study on the book of Ruth and something was brought up that I am so extremely excited to share with you all today. I want to warn you, this blog is probably going to be a lengthy one, but I promise you that this is something worth reading. You will discover the value of not only the story of Ruth, but also God’s romance in redemption through Christ Jesus. I pray that this not only makes you smile, but that it gives you a true understanding of what Christ did for us and who He really is in our lives.
Goel: What does it mean?? So I want to dig into the background on what a goel is before I start making connections. The term is used often throughout the bible and even throughout history. I came across it while reading the book of Ruth and so that is where a lot of this information is going to tie into. “If one of your fellow Israelite’s becomes poor and sells some of their property, their nearest relative is to come and redeem what they have sold.” Leviticus 25:25. In the Hebrew Law, the goel is is a person who as the closest living relative of another is charged with the duty of restoring the rights of another and avenging his wrongs. He was a kinsman, but also a redeemer or deliverer, someone who fulfilled or paid in full a debt which their kinsman owed. This particular individual had certain obligations or duties to perform in the event of his next of kin dying or becoming very poor and that is what we are going to talk about: what the duties are for a goel, what the requirements are and how they would go about fulfilling these obligations.
Duties ~ The goel has a specific amount of obligations that they can choose whether or not to fulfill. One of them is restoring or redeeming the land of their kinsman. Often times, we see a person who is forced, whether by man or circumstances, to sell all their belongings and are left in poverty. It is the duty of a goel to provide and redeem their next of kin in order to keep them from starvation. Another duty is the law which deals with continuing the family line. They would take their kinsmans childless widow and allow the family to be fruitful. This allowed for that widow to have children and it is still apart of the biological line within the family. The last duty was to be a blood avenger. If their kinsman was murdered, it was the obligation of the goel to avenge the blood of their relative by justly killing the murderer. Now, there was a trial that was conducted and many different things that must take place in order for this to happen, but it was their job to be the avenge the murder of a relative. I could go into so much detail on each of these, but then that would be a place to write a book, not a blog.
Requirements ~ In order to be a goel and fulfill the duties laid out before them, they had to be the closest living relative. There has to be some kind of relation between the deceased and the redeemer. Another is that the goel needed to have the means to redeem their next of kin. You cannot go to the closest living relative and tell him he must preform the duties of a goel if they did not have the ability to act upon the calling. Lastly, the deliverer needed to have a desire or willingness to redeem. Please note that they had to be in that order. You could have a kinsman who is very eager and willing to redeem, but if he does not have the means, he is not able to provide the protection and support they need.
Fulfillment ~ The biggest part of fulfilling the duties of a goel is being willing or having the desire to be a redeemer. It is important for them to do it out of compassion for the people and honor to the Law and this is very evident throughout the book of Ruth. If the goel was unwilling in any way, the duties would pass on to the next closest relative and on from there. There must be a desire to accomplish and fulfill the process of redemption and to nullify the debt.
Now onto the miraculous correlation between Boaz in the book of Ruth, and Jesus Christ. In Ruth, we see a woman named Naomi, who moved from Bethlehem with her husband and two sons to the land of Moab due to a famine in their land. While in Moab, her sons married and then later died, along with her husband. Ruth, Naomi’s daughter-in-law, went back to Bethlehem with Naomi, to a home that was in disarray. Naomi and Ruth were now in poverty; working in the fields in order to get enough food for herself and Naomi to eat. Boaz, who was the next of kin to Naomi, was the goel in this story, and his life will give us an example of exactly what Christ did and how He is our redeemer and our deliverer.
Throughout this story, we see that Boaz restored the name of Ruth (I would encourage you to read more about who the people of Moab were and why Ruth had things so hard when she moved into the town of Bethlehem in the book of Judges.) He not only paid their debt in full, but Boaz went above and beyond the call of duty. He didn’t just provide, but he also loved and protected Ruth. There was redemption, there was restoration, and there was fulfillment in the duties he was called to. He did it joyfully, willingly, and at the end of the story, Ruth becomes Boez’s wife.
So how does this connect to who Christ is for us? Christ has given us a new name, very much like Ruth. She was a descendant of the house of Moab, who were very sinful people. They were “those who did what was right in their own eyes.” Judges 21:25. She came from a background of people who were saturated in sin, lust, and selfishness, and yet, Boaz changed her name. She no longer wore the label of a Moabite, which is just like us. The children of God no longer are branded by the sin in our lives, but have been given a new name in Christ; His children. Ephesians 1:7, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” Jesus fulfilled His righteous purpose and was able to pay our debt in full. Through His death, we have been freed from the bondage of sin and separation from God and brought into a new life, a new creation, who is alive in Him. And something I love is seeing Ruth become the bride of Boaz, just as we are the bride of Christ.
Christ came to earth in order to fulfill the duties as our goel. he fulfilled this so perfectly, it is absolutely incredible! He became a man, born into humanity, which meant that He was now our kinsman. Hebrews 2:14-15 “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” His perfect, sinless, spotless blood was the only means that would bring redemption to us. 1 Peter 1:18-19 “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” Jesus willingly laid His life down, sacrificed Himself in order that we may be able to live! John 10:18 “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
Christ is our goel! Our redeemer, our kinsman, our deliverer. Very similar to Boaz, Jesus doesnt just take the punishment for our sins but He also goes above and beyond! He desires not only that we are redeemed, but that we have the opportunity to personally know Jesus Christ and His never ending forgiveness is new every morning. This wonderful truth brings me to tears seeing the way this is laid out for us in the story of Ruth and Boaz. I know there are a lot more details that can be shared that deal with this topic, and maybe I will do another blog post about it. But for now, I pray that you find joy in hearing this and seeing the beautiful outline for us in the Word. When I truly think about things, I realize how much we resemble the story of Ruth, and Christ as Boaz. I love how intimate the romance of redemption is and praise God for the unconditional love and compassion that Christ has for us, His children.
I pray and hope that this brings you encouragement and peace knowing that Christ loves us on such a personal level. When we lay our life down and submit it to him, just a Ruth did, broken and hopeless, we will find that our perfect goel, our Lord and Savior is right there to give us forgiveness, redemption, and an unconditional love that we cannot even comprehend. This is what Christ has done for each of us, and we have a choice to believe it and live our lives for Christ, accepting the selfless gift He gave us. Praise God for our amazing redeemer!! If you would like some more detail about the background of Ruth, who the people of Moab were and even more verses about the context of goel throughout the bible, please leave me a comment and let me know. I would love to continue this little study together. Thank you all for taking the time to read my blogs, I pray the Holy Spirit uses it to encourages you as much as it does me. God bless!