A foreigner is a person who is not a native of a place or community while a redeemer is someone who delivers others from difficulty, danger, or bondage, usually by paying a ransom. He could buy back the properties of his relative, sold as a result of poverty. Such a person restores the rights of others. Boaz is a typical example in the Old Testament, while the New Testament gives us the perfect example of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of humankind.

This month, we shall be learning about the family of Elimelek, Ruth, and Boaz and how Jesus Christ came through this lineage of a foreigner. The topics for each Sunday are ‘Hard Times forElimelek’s Family’, ‘Ruth Shows True Love,’ ‘Boaz Redeems Ruth’ and ‘Jesus – Our Redeemer.’The texts shall be taken from the books of Ruth, Galatians, and 1 Peter.                    

Note for teachers: Before you teach the children about these characters and how Jesus Christ our Redeemer came from this lineage, you need to ask yourself this question; ‘Have I been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ?’ This question is necessary because you cannot teach the children what you do not know or have. If your answer is ‘No,’ then this is an opportunity for you to ask Christ to redeem you. This experience will help you guide the children through the lessons and to know why they need and should depend on the ‘Redeemer’ in their journey in life.

Hard Times for Elimelechi’s Family

Elimelech was an Ephrathite from Bethlehem in Judah who went on a sojourn in the country of Moab with his wife, Naomi, and their two sons, Mahlon and Kilion. (When people leave where they are living to live in other places, it is called migration. While some and other people migrate to look for better job opportunities, some convenience; and others leave for places where there is availability of social infrastructures like electricity, good road network, pipe-borne water, and so on. Let children mention some other reasons why people migrate from one place to the other.)In the case of Mr and Mrs Elimelech and their sons, they left Bethlehem in Judah because there was famine in the land. They left in search of greener pasture and they settled in Moab. However, while they were living in the land of Moab, Elimelech died.

After the death of Elimelech, Mahlon andKilion both got married. Mahlon married Ruth, while Kilion married Orpah. (The two women were Moabitesses.) After about ten years of living in the land of Moab, Mahlon and Kilion also died. When Naomi got to know that God had answered her people and there was no longer famine, she decided to return to her homeland, Judah.

Ruth shows true love

Read Ruth 1:8-22

After the death of Elimelech and their sons, Naomi was greatly grieved and decided to return to Bethlehem of Judah. While she set out to leave, she urged her daughters-in-law (Ruth and Orpah)to go back to their mothers to start a new life. Naomi thought there was no reason for them to follow since she did not have other sons who could marry them. More so, even if there is the hope of having another son, they would not be able to wait to marry them. Therefore, she pleaded with them to return home and prayed that the Lord would give them new homes. She gave them parting kisses and they both cried bitterly.

Meanwhile, Orpah and Ruth told their mother-in-law that they would go with her to her people. After much persuasion, Orpah gave her mother-in-law a parting kiss and went back to Moab. But Ruth clung to her mother-in-law and made a promise never to leave her. (Let a child read Ruth 1:16-17) Although Naomi and Ruth were grieved, Ruth made a wise choice to follow the God of Israel that Naomi and her people were serving. She also pitied the situation and thought that Naomi needed someone to stay with her at that moment of grief as she had no husband and children.

When Naomi realised that Ruth was determined to go with her, the two of them continued on their journey to Bethlehem. When they arrived at Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women there asked,’ Can this be Naomi?’ She (daughter-in-law)eventually followed her. The answers to these questions are in Ruth 1:8-22. Open your Bibles as we read together and listen attentively. He told them to stop calling her Naomi; but instead, they should call her Mara, which means ‘bitter’ because God had made her life bitter.

Ruth took Naomi as her mother and decided to live with her for the rest of her life despite her situation. She showed her true love. Whom do you need to show true love today? You cannot give what you do not have. Do you love God? Without loving God, you cannot love people around you. Are you willing to accept God’s invitation of love today? As you go about your daily activities this week, make up your mind to show love to people around you. You can show love to people by sharing what you have with them, especially poor children. You can run errands for adults and those who have no children. You can also visit the sick.

Boaz redeems Ruth

Read Ruth 4:1-17.

Boaz was a guardian-redeemer of Elimelech’sfamily.(Guardian-redeemer is a legal term for one who should redeem a relative in serious difficulty.)However, when Ruth approached Boaz, he admitted that someone was closer to Elimelech’s family than himself. Boaz went up to the town gate and sat down there as the guardian-redeemer he had mentioned also came along. When the guardian-redeemer arrived, Boaz invited him to sit, then he also invited ten more elders and presented the case of Naomi to them.

He requested that the guardian-redeemer buy the piece of land that belonged to their relative Elimelech in the presence of the elders. If he would not, then he, Boaz, will buy it. The guardian-redeemer agreed to buy the land. Then, Boaz made him know that when he buys the land from Naomi, he will also marry Ruth the Moabite, the deadman’s widow. The marriage is to maintain the name of the deceased and his property. Theguardian-redeemer refused the redemption because he did not want anything to affect his estate. So, he told Boaz to buy the land on hearing the conditions. According to the Israelites’ custom, he removed his sandal. (This was the method of legalising transactions in Israel.)

Boaz called the attention of the elders and all the people at the gates as witnesses that he had bought all the properties of Elimelech, Kilion, and Mahlon from Naomi. Ruth, the widow of Mahlon, will also become his wife. The witnesses prayed for both Boaz and Ruth that God would bless them with children like Rachel and Leah, who both built up the family of Israel. (Let a child read Ruth 4:11-12.) The Lord answered their, prayers; Ruth conceived and gave birth to a baby boy named Obed, whom Naomi nursed. Obed was the father of Jesse, and Jesse, the father of David, and Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the whole world, came from their lineage. Ruth obeyed the instructions of her mother-in-law, and through her lineage, Jesus Christ, the Redeemer was born. Will you also commit yourself to obeying godly instructions?

The guardian-redeemer, who was supposed to redeem Ruth, could not do so because he did not want anything to affect his estate, but Boaz sacrificed to meet the needs of Naomi and Ruth. As you go this week, watch out for people who may need your help and try to meet their needs.

Jesus, Our Redeemer 

Read 1 Peter 1:17-22; Galatians3:13-14

Peter wrote this letter to encourage Christians to live as foreigners on earth in fear of the Lord because they have been redeemed from their ancestors’ empty way of life. They were not just redeemed with things from this world that could be spoilt at any time, but with the precious blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb without blemish or defect who was chosen before the creation of the world.

Christ had to die because His Father sent Him to the world to repurchase us from eternal death and condemnation. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. (Show children the cardboard with the inscription-‘He redeemed us so that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus.’) To be hung on a pole was considered a curse, yet Jesus Christ was nailed to the cross to redeem humankind.

He did this so that the blessings of Abraham and the promise of the Holy Spirit might be for everyone who accepts Him as Saviour and Lord. Also, because Jesus Christ obeyed His Father, He raised Him from the dead and glorified Him. As children of God, you must prepare yourself for Christ’s second coming by putting your faith and hope in God, purifying yourself through obedience to the truth of God’s Word and loving others deeply from your heart. If you have not invited Christ into your life, you need to do so now. If you once gave your life to Him but still engage in sin, ask God to forgive your sins