Advent Devotion for December 12
In lighting the candle, the candle lighter says: “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family.”
SCRIPTURE: Ruth 4:4-10
4 I thought I should speak to you about it so that you can redeem it if you wish. If you want the land, then buy it here in the presence of these witnesses. But if you don’t want it, let me know right away, because I am next in line to redeem it after you.”
The man replied, “All right, I’ll redeem it.”
5 Then Boaz told him, “Of course, your purchase of the land from Naomi also requires that you marry Ruth, the Moabite widow. That way she can have children who will carry on her husband’s name and keep the land in the family.”
6 “Then I can’t redeem it,” the family redeemer replied, “because this might endanger my own estate. You redeem the land; I cannot do it.”
7 Now in those days it was the custom in Israel for anyone transferring a right of purchase to remove his sandal and hand it to the other party. This publicly validated the transaction. 8 So the other family redeemer drew off his sandal as he said to Boaz, “You buy the land.”
9 Then Boaz said to the elders and to the crowd standing around, “You are witnesses that today I have bought from Naomi all the property of Elimelech, Kilion, and Mahlon. 10 And with the land I have acquired Ruth, the Moabite widow of Mahlon, to be my wife. This way she can have a son to carry on the family name of her dead husband and to inherit the family property here in his hometown. You are all witnesses today.”
SCRIPTURE: Ephesians 1:3-7
3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. 4 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. 5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. 6 So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. 7 He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.
MUSIC: For Unto Us a Child is Born - Robert Shaw (YouTube)
SOME THOUGHTS: And you are saying, “What in the world does this have to do with Advent or the birth of Jesus?” My guess is that most of you are familiar with the story of Ruth. But a quick review might refresh. There was a famine in Bethlehem, (ironic since the name means ‘House of Bread’). Naomi, her husband, and two sons left to go where there was food, in Moab. These Jews went to live in a non-Jewish country. Her sons married Moabite women. While there, the three men died and Naomi returned to Bethlehem along with her Moabite daughter-in-law, Ruth, now that the famine had ended. The Jewish Levirate law is explained above in the Old Testament passage. Boaz functioned as the “kinsman or family redeemer. Go’el in Hebrew.” Ruth, the outsider, was adopted via marriage into God’s covenant people, even as Boaz had been. His mother was the Rahab, who helped Joshua and the Israelites defeat Jericho years before. She was a woman of faith and married into the Jewish family. Unto these women were born sons who became ancestors of the Savior. Ruth and Rahab are both listed in the genealogy of Jesus! (Matthew 1:5). Paul’s passage in Ephesians points out that all of us have entered God’s family in the same way; we are adopted out of God’s love and grace through Jesus Christ. Jesus is our Kinsman Redeemer, fulfilling that role for eternity. The Church is his bride. Neither genealogy nor past life prohibits anyone from being “redeemed.” In listing the great heroes of the faith in Hebrews chapter 11, Rahab is listed and we are reminded that she had been a prostitute, but she repented, was redeemed and is listed in the Bible as a person of great faith. Beware of the accuser who tells you that you are not worthy of being one of God’s family. And that is true, but we have been redeemed by the final Kinsman Redeemer, the only One who is worthy, the Bread of Life, who was born in Bethlehem. There will never be a famine with this Bread. The Bread of Life is preparing a home for his children, fulfilling the meaning of his place of birth!
PRAYER: God our Father, the evil one, the devil, the father of lies would have us believe that we cannot be part of God’s family, and if we are a part, we are poor representatives. Like Ruth, we have been adopted into the unfolding of God’s grand design for his creation. A thousand years before the birth of Jesus, Lord, you continued to weave the thread of redemption through the lives of very ordinary people, many of whom were oblivious to what you were doing and the part they played in it. Grant this day that we may be faithful to all the little, seemingly insignificant things that lie before us. May we be found to be faithful in the unfolding of your will in the days of our lives. Thank you for adopting us as orphans, for we are in great need of a Father, not like you, but you alone. — Dan Sharp