Redemption in Bethlehem-judah

by John O’Malley

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"So they two went until they came to Beth-lehem” (Ruth 1:19).

The journey home finally begins. This journey had been in God’s plan since before the day Elimelech’s family left Bethlehem-judah more than ten years earlier. Naomi’s strides toward Bethlehem-judah are sure and steady. Heaviness and hope mark each footprint on this sixty-seven mile journey. Their journey to Bethlehem-judah should give a student of the Word of God much to contemplate. 

Scripture indicates Bethlehem-judah has certainly been a place where God has sought to conduct His divine work of redemption. On no less than three directly related occasions in Scripture, God has established His interest and wrought redemption in this tiny town of Bethlehem. The trip of Naomi and Ruth would be the first of three redemption journeys detailed in Scripture. 

God began this trilogy with the redemption of a Moabitish girl named Ruth. He would use a man named Boaz who would stand in Bethlehem-judah’s gate and declare his intention of being the kinsman-redeemer to Elimelech’s name and Mahlon’s widow. This redemption restored the birth line of the Messiah. 

The second incident of God’s redemption in Bethlehem-judah occurs in 1 Samuel 16:1. Saul, the King of Israel, has had his leadership terminated by God because of his pride. Samuel, the prophet, is told by God to go to Bethlehem-judah and find David, the great-grandson of Ruth, the redeemed Moabitess. God sought on this trip of redemption, not the redemption of an individual, but rather the redemption of a nation, Israel.  

The third occasion in the trilogy of God’s redemption in Bethlehem-judah occurs with a relative of David, the great-grandson of Ruth, the redeemed Moabitess. It will be about fourteen generations later, and God will take an unlikely couple and send them to Bethlehem-judah for the third episode of redemption in Bethlehem. They get to Bethlehem, and Mary gives birth to Jesus her first-born son, not of Joseph, but of the Holy Ghost.  

Joseph and Mary’s trek to Bethlehem-judah was not for the redemption of an individual, nor for the redemption of a nation, but for the redemption of the world. Angels would herald to shepherds the good news, which was for all people. This good news was a Saviour born for the world. Yes, this would be the last of Bethlehem’s involvement in God’s plan of redemption. Bethlehem’s story of God’s redemption must be told and re-told.When last did you tell it?

Think about it...

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