To be near to God is the most wonderful and beautiful reality a person can ever know. In the Bible, Paul says it’s “joy inexpressible and full of glory.” My personal experience has been that Jesus is the sweetness of my life, warm arms around me, and my best encourager. In spite of all my mess-ups, nobody has been on my side like him.
For us pedophiles, we can be so isolated at times. It can feel like our lives are devoid of love and intimacy. But, let me tell you that God wants to be intimate with you. That may sound strange, but truly, you can have an intimate relationship with God. That makes all the difference.
Can I share with you a story from the Bible? It’s about a woman named Ruth, who was alone and destitute, until she met a man who could protect and provide for her – if only he would choose her. These were real people, and God was involved in their lives. God wanted this story to be part of the Bible, because it’s an example of what Jesus does for a person. It’s about intimacy.
Ruth was from the land of Moab. Her people were usually enemies of Israel, but an Israeli family had come to live among them, and Ruth married one of their sons. Life for her did not go as planned. One by one, all the men of the family died, and Ruth was left alone with her mother-in-law, Naomi.
Naomi decided to return to Israel, and she told Ruth to stay in Moab and marry again. But, Ruth refused to separate. Naomi tried to reason with her, explaining that she would be an outcast in Israel and would remain a widow for life. But, Ruth answered with tears, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.”
Naomi and Ruth left Moab and traveled to the town of Bethlehem, in Israel. Both women were vulnerable and in need. Ruth decided to go out in the mornings to glean fields, which was how the poor survived at the time. She collected the heads of grain dropped by the harvesters.
It just so happened that on her first day gleaning she came to a field belonging to a man named Boaz. Boaz was a wealthy man, and a warrior (most likely), who was well respected. As Boaz looked over his field and workers, his eyes were quickly drawn to the unfamiliar, young woman. He asked his workers about her. They informed him that it was Ruth, from Moab.
Boaz had already heard about her from others in town. He approached her and said, “Stay here in my field, and stay close to the young women working here. I have warned the men not to touch you, and if you are thirsty get water from the jars. I have heard of your faithfulness to Naomi. May the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you’ve done. ” Boaz even told the workers to leave behind extra grain for Ruth to pick up, and later, he invited her to eat lunch with them.
Ruth arrived home that night, and told Naomi what happened. Naomi was excited and explained that Boaz had a special connection to her family, he could be their “Redeemer”.
This was a technical term based on the law God gave to the Israel: A Redeemer was a close relative who took on the responsibility of caring for a dead man’s family. If the dead man had lost his property for whatever reason, the Redeemer would buy it back for the children. Additionally, if the dead man had a wife, the Redeemer would take her as his own and raise a son with her, so that the dead man’s name would continue. Boaz was a relative of Ruth’s father-in-law, and could be her Redeemer if he chose to.
Ruth continued gleaning in Boaz’s field through the barley harvest, and then the wheat harvest. Ruth and Boaz got to know each other better, but the question of the Redeemer was still up in the air. Technically, Ruth had to make the first move. It was her right to claim redemption, and ask Boaz to be her Redeemer. But, he could refuse.
The stakes were high for both of them. Ruth was destitute, and could only hope he would take her as his wife. If Boaz became her Redeemer, it would be a large financial burden for him, since he’d have to buy back her family’s lost property. Ruth wondered if he could love a poor, foreign widow enough to pay such a price?
Boaz had plenty to think about himself. He had fallen in love with Ruth, but she had the option of marrying other men in town. She was a very attractive woman, and there were others who might try to win her affection. He had a lot to offer, but Boaz knew he wasn’t a young man anymore. It was up to Ruth; she would have to be the one to choose him. Boaz hoped she would.
Naomi decided to step in and break the tension, and told Ruth what to do… Ruth washed herself, put on her best clothes and perfume, and waited. That night, after harvesting, Boaz and the workers were sleeping by the heap of grain. Ruth sneaked up quietly, and uncovered Boaz’s feet. She lay down and waited. There was nothing improper about this, but it would create an intimate moment. Boaz eventually woke from the cold, and looked to see a woman lying down by his feet. “Who are you?” he asked. “I am Ruth. Take me under your wing and be my Redeemer.”
“Yes!” Boaz exclaimed. “May God bless you for the kindness you show me by not going after a younger man, whether rich or poor. I will do what you ask. There can be no objection for all the people know you are a virtuous woman.” Boaz went on to explain that there was still one hurdle. Another man in town was a closer relative to Naomi, and he had the option to be Ruth’s Redeemer before Boaz could. They would have to wait and see what this man would say. Boaz sent Ruth home with a gift of grain for Naomi.
The next morning, Boaz waited in the city gate for the relative to walk by. He saw him and called, “Come friend and sit down. I would like to talk to you.” Boaz also brought over ten elders from the city to be witnesses. He said to the man, “Naomi is selling a piece of land that belonged to her late husband. You are the first of kin, so do you want to buy it?”
“Yes, I’ll take it,” the man answered.
“Fine, but if you buy the land, you must also redeem Ruth,” Boaz countered. “She is the widow of the dead son.”
The man was troubled at hearing this, because it would mean the land would end up passing to Ruth’s children, instead of his own. “If that’s how it is, I can’t take the land,” the man replied. “It would ruin the inheritance for my own family. You take my right of redemption.”
Then Boaz announced in front of all the elders and the people, “Today, you are witness that I have bought from Naomi all the property that belonged to her late husband and sons. Also, I take the widow Ruth as my wife, so that the name of the dead will continue.”
The people answered, “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the family of Israel.”
It came about that Boaz and Ruth had a son, and they named him Obed. Naomi was no longer bereaved of family, and cared for her grandson. The boy grew, and became the father of Jessie. Jessie was the father of David, who God made king of Israel.
(You may read the full story in the Bible, Book of Ruth)
You and I are a lot like Ruth, alone and destitute, needing someone to care about us. Does it feel like you’ve lost everything good in life? That was the case for Ruth. The men of her family were dead, and the family property sold away. It’s interesting that the names of the dead sons were Chilion and Mahlon, which mean “sickly” and “wasting away/coming to an end”. That sounds familiar… I’ve felt like my life was sickly, wasting away, and coming to an end.
But here’s the thing – what Boaz did for Ruth is an example of what Jesus does for us (that’s why God included it in the Bible). Jesus loves you, and will bring you close. He takes us with all our “stuff” (our mistakes, our problems, and hang-ups) and he buys it all! Suddenly, we have hope and a new future.
The price Jesus paid was the blood he spilled at the cross. He was God in human form, and he gave everything to redeem us. The Bible says that he takes us as his bride.
When you ask Jesus to be your savior, your redeemer, it is very special and intimate. You aren’t just following a king, or obeying a creator (although he is King and Creator). Jesus actually takes you as his very own, his spouse.
That may sound weird, and no, there’s nothing sexual between God and us. It’s just that the romance and intimacy between couples is an example of how close God wants to be with you.
God wants you to be near him, always. You can come just as you are, with all your “stuff”. He won’t turn you away. Instead, he will make your life a beautiful story, and he’ll will stay faithful to you throughout this life and the next.
Knowing God intimately, and Jesus as your Redeemer, isn’t a just a story. It’s real life – waking up in the morning and facing the day – it’s extremely practical. It’s about a relationship with him, walking side by side, and experiencing life together. “Everyday life” is still everyday life, but with him, each day is new.
God’s paramount purpose in creation is grander than the wonders of the world, and his hand in human history has greater meaning than any human philosophy. Countless Believers have given everything to him in love, either by life or death, just as he has given everything for them. His love for you and me has the motions of the best love story, full of sacrifice, yearning, and tender closeness.
God is a person, and he only connects with people through a real relationship. He’s not just a set of rules; it has to be open and honest between you and him. But, that means he will also treat you as an individual. He knows your quirks and characteristics, and he sees all the good things he put inside you. God also knows your mistakes and situations, but he’s gentle and kind.
God has his own personality and characteristics. You can get to know him, and I think you’ll discover he’s pretty great.
But just like Ruth in the story, you must make the first move. God is ready to say “Yes!”, but he’s waiting on you. If you would like to know Jesus yourself, and learn more about having an intimate relationship with God, please read the Article titled “Yes” to Jesus.