Note the nameless man…
‘ The man’ who relinquishes his responsibility to redeem Elimilech’s land and Ruth is nameless. This is a book full of names. When I first started in this book I spent so long sitting in the first chapter because the names are so rich with meaning. As a reader, looking for meaning in each and every verse, the absence of the man’s name speaks to me just as much as the many names that were there. It means that the nameless person can be any number of people in my own story and yours!!!
Let me explain…
As I look back over my own life there have been many different people who could be that nameless person, who neglected to care for me as God intended. In my story of redemption, that nameless man is any number of people at any given time. By this man remaining nameless we can give him a name…a parent’s name, a teacher’s name, a doctor’s name, a neighbour’s name, a friend, a stranger….
I can then see that despite any number of people choosing to neglect me or abandon me or not step up to care for me in any particular season that I needed them, my redeemer did. In fact, the nameless person can be any one who has ever offended us or neglected to to right by us at anytime for whatever reason, intentionally or unintentionally. As those people have stepped away, without a sandel, from my story, Jesus has stepped into my story. At no time in my journey of walking with my redeemer, has he ever walked away with a limp or ever taken his sandel off and told someone that I am not his problem. He never hands his sandel to someone else, ever!!!
Jesus was the one who claimed the sandal of the nameless men in my own story! He is my Boaz.
As this nameless man walks out of the story, I too can let go of the expectation I place on people to redeem me and my story. I already have a redeemer and he takes the sandel and all the dirt attached. Ruth knows very little about the man that ‘should have’ and ‘could have’ redeemed her . She never even got to meet him. She does not hold out anger or resentment towards that man. She never had to meet him or question him or make feel guilt. She doesn’t need an apology or acknowledgement .
The covenant agreement with Boaz released him from any further obligation. Jesus never rehashes with me all the people who should have redeemd me but didn’t. When I prove to him that I really was not worth the cost, he doesn’t call another redeemer. Redemption is not dependant on the worth of the one redeemed. The contract was not based on Ruth’s value but on the redeemer’s responsibility to fulfill the law. It holds eternal value. Redemption took place before Ruth knew it had. I am grateful for the nameless man in this story because it helps me understand my own story of redemption more fully.