One of my favorite words expounded

Just as kind of a warning. This is a wordy post. I’ve worked thru my thoughts on this subject and it may be a little tangent-y. Also I’m no Biblical scholar, but I love the scriptures.

Redeemer. Its one of my all time favorite words.

I’m no literacy expert, I don’t even really have good grammar, but I love words! I especially love words from the Old Testament in the Bible because they are so rich with meaning. This is why a couple Sundays ago, when my pastor talked about an ancient Hebrew word I got really excited.

The word is ga’al.

Ga’al means: to redeem, act as kinsman-redeemer, avenge, revenge, ransom, do the part of a kinsman.

Doesn’t that excite you?!

I should explain.

My pastor was talking about a system of government described in the Old Testament which Israel lived by. He explained that capital punishment, in cases of murder, was carried out by the nearest kin of the person who was killed. That closest relative is called ga’al because he had to avenge the death of his relative by executing the person found guilty of the killing.

What really caught my attention was when he pointed out that the word used to describe this next of kin who carried out the execution is the same word used in the book of Ruth to describe Boaz, the wealthy man who married her.

Ruth was rescued from a life without a future when her dead husband’s nearest relative, a man named Boaz, willingly took her as his wife. She was given a whole new life, even the honor of being in the geneology of the Savior of the world, when Boaz married her. Its really a wonderful story. This story has helped me over the years to see in more detail the reality of what Christ has done for me. He has mercifully given me a RICH future and hope.

In Ruth’s story Boaz layed down his life for Ruth in that he took on the responsibility of marriage- loving a wife, investing his life in hers. In that he showed redemption. He paid the price to save Ruth from a hopeless future. But in the case of the ga’al who makes certain a person guilty of killing his relative pays the price, how can he be called the kinsman redeemer? How is he redeeming anyone?

As I was listening to my pastor talk about the ga’al carrying out the punishment for a crime, Romans 8:34 came to mind and my insides leaped for joy! The answer is right there!

Who [is] he that condemneth? [It is] Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. – Romans 8:34 KJV

There is someone who can condemn us. Christ can! He is our ga’al. He is our kinsman redeemer. He is humanity’s next of kin in that He is the closest relative we have to God. He is the only MAN who lived the undefiled image of God. We were all created in the image of God, but as Lamentations says, “The crown is fallen from our head: woe unto us, that we have sinned!” (Lamentations 5:16)

Christ is the only God-man. He is the only connection, the only mediator, the only kinship we have to the One who made us in His image. We are not God, be we were made in His image, to display His likeness, to give weight to His character. But we don’t! That’s why life is a mess! That’s why neighbors fight and dogs get parvo and 6 year olds hit each other and yell, “THAT’S MINE!” and babies die and parents neglect their children…. I could go on and on!

We have destroyed each other, either directly or indirectly, and Christ is the nearest kinsman we have to God. He can condemn us because He’s the ONLY one who can save us, or He’s the ONLY one who can save us because He can condemn us. He is God in flesh. He has every right to carry out vengance on us for our actions, but instead He layed down His life for us. He took upon Himself the death our plagued-with-sin actions cause.

Christ is humanity’s ga’al. We stand before Him condemned, guilty in our sin. And we have a choice. Either we humble ourselves, like Ruth, acknowledging our dependence upon Him for our future, embracing the redemption that is ours since HE paid the price. Or we proudly go about our lives, denying our need for a Savior.

All have sinned. All are offered the redemption of our ga’al. The good news is so good because the answer to the question, “Who can condemn us?” in Romans 8:34 is, “Christ! But He died for us! And He rose from death and lives forever interceeding on our behalf!”



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