Julie Lyles Carr: Sunday Selah

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday Selah

"Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer."
Ruth 4:14

It must have seemed a long day.

Waiting to hear the news.

Waiting to hear her destiny.

When Ruth accompanied her mother-in-law Naomi to Naomi's hometown of Bethlemhem, she came as an outsider, a foreigner, a woman with a dead husband and dreams of dust. It seemed divine appointment that she would catch his eye, this Boaz. He was a righteous, prosperous man, kind and generous. He had favored Ruth as he saw her following his harvesters, picking up grain to take to her mother-in-law.

And she had favored him with a marriage proposal.

Upon the advice of Naomi, Ruth lays herself at the feet of Boaz and asks for him to be her covering as her husband. Boaz is willing, but in the custom of the day, he must first 'redeem' her from a relative who is more closely related and has greater legal right to claiming her and her first husband's property.

Boaz leaves first thing in the morning to meet with this closer relative.

And Ruth is left to wait.

It was spring. The barley and wheat harvest was completed. The hard labors of the previous weeks was now at rest and the stores of grain had been secured against the winter. The sounds of new lambs bleating to their mothers filled the air and the scent of wild flowers carried like a soft note on the air.

And she waited.

Waited to learn if some stranger would stake his rightful claim to her. Waited to see if she and Naomi would have provision. Waited to hear if the protection and kindness she had known in Boaz would become her way of life or if she would become the lesser wife of this closer relative.

Boaz goes to the city gate. He approaches the relative with greater rights. He asks if this relative is willing to purchase the fields belonging to Naomi and Ruth's deceased spouses. The relative affirms that he will. And then Boaz throws in this crucial piece of information.

If this relative redeems these fields, he will receive Ruth as a wife in the deal.

And then I can imagine Boaz holding his breath.

It is common in many cultures that an agreement is sealed with the exchange of a handshake, of documents, of signatures. And in this culture, it was the custom that if one party was giving up the right to property, he would remove his sandal and hand it to the one who was taking that property.

And Boaz finds a sandal being placed in his hands, securing his right to take Ruth as his wife.

Ruth waited, small tasks occupying her time, tidying, folding, dusting.

And then, she sees him. She sees Boaz striding across the fields, his robes slapping against his legs in his hast. She searches his face, looking for news. And then she sees his hand pull something from the folds of his robes.

It is a sandal.

And for Ruth, it is her glass slipper. The glass slipper that identifies her as Boaz's. The glass slipper that gives her a future and an identity in a new country. The glass slipper that means she is accepted and blessed.

Ruth's glass slipper in the hands of the kinsman who has redeemed her.

There comes a moment for each of us, a moment when we realize that we are nothing in this vast universe without Jesus. We feed on the barley seed of His word and we see His kindness, His goodness. And there comes that moment that we lay at His feet, at the foot of the cross and we tell Him that we want to be His bride.

And He goes to see someone about a shoe.

Because the enemy of our souls has stronger rights to us without Jesus's sacrifice. This enemy knows our weaknesses and our sins and tells us we don't need a savior, we don't need anything but our pride and selfishness to survive.

But when we come to the end of ourselves, we know. We know we are nothing without the Lord.

Jesus comes striding through the fields of eternity. He holds something in His hand, something that He has bought with blood and suffering. And in His smile, we see what it is.

It is our glass slipper. He fits it onto the small feet of our existence and in that moment, we are no longer lost.

We are born anew.

As daughters of the King.


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