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By: Larry Shaffer
I am going to be taking the next several weeks for a summer break. I’ll be back later this summer to begin a devotional study of 2 Corinthians.
Please don’t miss today’s summary of Ruth!
Genealogies are usually boring. When reading the Bible, we usually skip or scan right through them. Well, Ruth ends with a genealogy and as I wrote last time, it’s a pretty cool genealogy. It begins with Perez, the son of Judah. By beginning with Perez, Ruth and Boaz are connected all the way back to Abraham. It also states that to Boaz was born Obed, who fathered Jesse and to Jesse was born David. It ends at David as Ruth was most likely written by Samuel during the time of King David. King David was the great grandson of Ruth and Boaz.
Another interesting fact of this closing genealogy is that Salmon was the father of Boaz. Salmon, of the line of Judah, was one of the two spies sent into Jericho by Joshua to spy out the promised land. When the king of Jericho discovered spies were in the land he began a search. The two spies, one of which was Salmon, found refuge in the home of Rahab the harlot, who hid the spies and saved their lives. Consequently, Rahab embraced the God of Israel and was protected when Israel took over Jericho and the promised land. Salmon’s appreciation for Rahab’s actions turned into love and Salmon married Rahab, the former harlot, the former idol worshiper and Amorite foreigner. Thus, Rahab became the mother of Boaz.
So, Boaz had a mother who was a foreign-born harlot. Undoubtedly, her life and her words taught Boaz from his early years that the God of Israel is a redeemer. He had saved Rahab spiritually and protected her physically. Rahab was a very special lady. She didn’t just do a good thing by hiding the two spies. She was so compelled by her faith in God that she risked her life rather than disobey God’s calling to hide the spies. Her life was so significant in the history of God’s story of redemption that she was mentioned as a woman of faith in the hall of fame of faith given in Hebrews 11. Rahab the harlot is mentioned as a hero of faith alongside Abel, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and Samuel in Hebrews 11. Additionally, her title as a harlot was retained throughout the Bible.
The heart to redeem
In most cases, I certainly don’t believe Christians should carry their past descriptions of sins into their new life in Christ. In Christ, all things are new. Nevertheless, the Bible doesn’t let us forget Rahab’s past. Her title as a harlot sticks to her throughout the Bible. This, I believe, was to emphasize the heart of God as a redeemer of sinful, idol worshiping foreigners. Yes, God chose Abraham and as such He chose a particular nation to bless as the nation of the Messiah. Israel is a chosen nation. But God always had a heart to redeem foreigners and sinners and show his grace to all nations. So, Rahab retains the title of harlot throughout biblical history, not to bring her disdain, but to highlight the heart of God; a Kinsman Redeemer. Redeemer, meaning he saves and kinsman, meaning He makes those he redeems FAMILY with all the benefits of being a son or daughter of the King.
For I am one
Boaz, the son of redeemed harlot now marries a redeemed poverty-stricken Moabite widow. His father married and redeemed an Amorite harlot and He is now redeeming a Moabitess widow. In both cases, these woman, with sinful pasts, were welcomed in as FAMILY and honored throughout biblical history as woman of God and ladies of great faith. Boaz is a foreshadow of our Messiah and Kinsman Redeemer who redeems foreign gentiles, such as many of us, into the full blessings of family. The Messiah will say, “Go into all nations and make disciples…” Praise God, He has a heart to redeem sinners for I am one! Amen