OPPORTUNITY THROUGH RESPONSIBILITY Boaz presented himself to receive God’s intervention when he accepted responsibility as guardian-redeemer. Guided by mother-in-law Naomi, Ruth proposed marriage to Boaz by virtue of the Israeli guardian-redeemer law. Boaz welcomed the proposal but offered the opportunity first to another relative next in line before him as guardian-redeemer for Naomi’s family. The closer relative declined and, thus cleared the way for Boaz, in the presence of an assembly of relatives convened to referee the interaction. Therefore, by virtue of an Israeli law that God sanctioned through Moses to preserve family inheritance, Ruth re-married to Boaz; gave birth to Obed, grandfather of David; thus joined with Boaz to become grandparents in the lineage of Christ.
We continue our study series on Ruth with a discussion of her transition from widowed daughter-in-law to legitimate wife of Boaz, a relative of Naomi’s husband. The marriage positioned her to become great grandmother of David and, thus, a link in the lineage of the Messiah. Ruth married Boaz under an Israeli law that God sanctioned through Moses to preserve family inheritance. Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi guided her to propose marriage to Boaz based on the guardian-redeemer law.
Boaz welcomed the proposal but understood that another relative was next in line before him based on hierarchy defined under the law. In his respect for the law and due process, he offered the opportunity first to the closer relative. The relative declined and thus cleared the way for Boaz, in the presence of an assembly of relatives convened to referee and witness the interaction. Therefore, Boaz married Ruth, who subsequently gave birth to Obed, the grandfather of David. Thus, Boaz presented himself to receive God’s intervention when he accepted responsibility as guardian-redeemer. The interactions highlight the potential to step into opportunities by accepting responsibilities; in addition to respect for law, customs, and due process.
KINDRED RESPONSIBILITIES Also, the proceedings reinforce our understanding that kindred responsibilities could hold the key to opportunities. The relative that declined his kinsman-redeemer responsibility would likely have decided differently if he knew the offer was indeed an opportunity to become a grandfather in the lineage of the Messiah. Therefore, a person could position himself or herself to receive God’s intervention by fulfilling kindred responsibilities: such as participating in marriages, child dedication, dispute settlement, or providing other kinds of assistance toward the well being of kindred. People that decline such responsibilities could be rejecting opportunities that God placed in their path.
BIBLE STUDY SERIES ON THE GOSPEL This is the first session in a Banking Blessings Ministry bible study series focused on the gospel. In the series, we study the life and teachings of Jesus as recorded in the gospel according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The objective is to use information from his life and teaching to improve our understanding of God’s purpose for human interactions and relationships.
STUDY SESSION ON BIRTH OF JESUS In this session of the series, we examine God’s interactions with Mary and Joseph regarding the birth of Jesus to learn his purpose for parent-child relationships. Through the study, we learn that parenthood is an appointment from God. He may choose to convey the appointment through biological or non-biological means, but the choice does not affect the nature or significance of the parent-child relationships. For example, God assigned fatherhood of Jesus to Joseph, a descendant of Abraham through David, and through the appointment fulfilled his promise to Abraham that “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” [Genesis 12:3]. Also, we learn that when God presents an opportunity, he allows the recipient freedom to accept or decline the opportunity.
The bible provides practical guidance on settling family disputes. In this first of a two-part study, we learn about family dispute settlement, roles of the Council of Relatives, and the importance of sharing food, based on interactions between Jacob and Laban during Jacob’s departure from Paddan Aram. When Laban was informed that Jacob left with his household and belongings without telling him, he gathered his relatives and pursued Jacob, caught up with him at Gilead, and confronted him the next day in the presence of their relatives. The interaction that followed illustrates that the best approach to settling a family dispute is to make peace without necessarily digging for the truth, setup mechanisms for preventing future disputes, and invite God to witness and honor the settlement.
In this bible study we learn about Jacob’s first seven years in Paddan Aram, where he lived with his uncle Laban. The passage illustrates the role of family as a structure for regulation of human interactions. This function often is performed through the Council of Relatives, constituted by informally selecting family members to represent each family. The Council of Relatives is still the same and plays the same roles today as in the days of this bible incident. The council is referred to as Umunna among the Igbo people of Nigeria, for example.