Kinsman Redeemer...

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It is with great pride that as parents, my wife and I look forward to the sacred and special milestone of marriage for our son and his soon-to-be bride. Even amidst the craziness of our lives (loss of employment, battle with Parkinsons, home purchase) and the thrilling joy of offspring accomplishments (university graduation, job promotion, Provincial basketball title and participation in a Provincial 1st place writing competition), there are still blessings stacked like a plate of pancakes on top of one another, each with it’s own ounce of sugary, sweet syrup, to demonstrate that God keeps us covered in a layer of of His love, making us feel equipped, and wrapped securely, to go out and face a sometimes cruel world, conquering and transforming it, each step of the way. It is with that kind of securely built love that we can be assured, that no matter what trials and struggles there will be, no matter what joys and happiness a godly couple encounters, their union will be a safe fortress, able to withstand even the fiercest of storms.

Yet, in order to be fair in my life analysis of marriage, of course, not everything is sunny and rosy. In the Old Testament, Israel’s security was wrapped in a layer of laws (and, at times, balancing on the edge of absurdity). However, there were also many that promoted goodness and well-being. And, for Exodus 21 and Leviticus 25 we can almost see the faint apparition of a parable-like scenario. They are both illuminating us on different aspects of slavery. Exodus 21 refers to the process of regulating slavery. What is prominent in these few verses of composition is the an Israelite could not enslave a fellow patriot (or Israelite). However, if an Israelite incurred debts towards a national comrade and could not pay them back, he could enslave himself to the Israeli creditor—temporary indentured servitude—by working off his financial obligations.

The plot thickens when we learn further on that if this indentured servant was a single man when his verdict of bondage began and through the course of his term of financial honour he obtained a wife, once his debt of obligation was fulfilled, she could not just depart with her husband; because the the young man had not paid the bridal price, required by Jewish Law. In order to retain his beloved, he would need to compensate the Master, the proper sum, or remain enslaved until payment for the bride was worked off; 2 situations of repayment, both straddled with helpless bondage to a dishonorable master.

Nevertheless, in seeing the legal loopholes that Israeli representatives of the law were skillfully and sometimes even deviously extracting from God’s Laws, the Lord, concocts to legal wizardry of His own, and adds an addendum, a postscript and a last word on the subject to bring about restoration and balance; the kinsman redeemer. This was a very close relative, who would buy back the property, or in this case, the financial debt, for the family or individual. This protected the family, the poor relative or enslaved victim from becoming ultimately destitute. 

In the phenomenon of Christ paying for our sins on the cross, He satisfies God’s wrath and justice, making God both just and justifier to those who believe (Romans 3:21-26). He represents victory over sin and Satan (Col. 2:15; Heb. 2:14), and He pays, in full, the debt and ransom required to be repossessed back into the family of God’s eternal elect. (Mark 10:45) Jesus is entirely and completely our Kinsman Redeemer, who not only paid the the debt of sin, but went one step further and paid the bridal expenses, as well, so that we could never lose our inheritance and run the risk of becoming destitute.

I remember when my wife and I were first engaged. We felt as though we were on top of the world—and still do. We had so many dreams and plans for our special day and we accomplished making it a very unique ceremony, with many unconventional things that we sprinkled throughout the service. But, one thing we neglected to admit to ourselves was our financial obligation to reality. We were swept away with the excitement of the occasion, thinking that we were going to cover expenses with monetary gifts from friends, but the majority of the gifts were concrete and practical items that we needed for everyday living. Well, in that case, there was no “kinsman redeemer” for us, but we did learn an excellent lesson even amidst the struggle. "Poverty is not a character failing or a lack of motivation. Poverty is a shortage of money." B. Ehrenreich

Leviticus 25:25: “‘If one of your fellow Israelites becomes poor and sells some of their property, their nearest relative is to come and redeem what they have sold.”

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