You did something you regret. You said something that you want to take back. Good news! You’re a prime candidate for God the Redeemer to deliver you out of your troubles and buy you out of your self-inflicted prison.
This is one of God’s names. It is part of his character.
First let’s define the Hebrew word ga’al, so we can be sure about what God is doing for you and who he is in his character. The basic meaning of redemption or to redeem is to buy back. In some contexts it can mean deliverance from enslavement and captivity.
Goodrick and Kohlenberger in their NIV Exhaustive Concordance write: “often … of saving from danger or hostility, as a figure of purchasing a slave or relative from slavery” (no. 1457).
This Hebrew lexicon very simply defines it with biblical references, as follows:
(1) TO REDEEM, BUY BACK, as a field or farm sold, Lev. 25:25; Ruth 4:4, 6; a thing consecrated to God, Lev. 27:13, 15, 19, 20, 31; a slave, Lev. 25:48, 49. Participle … redeemer (of a field), Lev. 25:26. Very frequently used of God as redeeming men, and specially Israel, as out of the slavery of Egypt, Ex. 6:6; from the Babylonian captivity [or other dispersions], Isa. 43:1; 44:22; 48:20; 49:7, etc. (Wilhelm Gesenius, trans. Samuel Prideaux Tregelles, Gesenius’ Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems 2003, p. 151)
For this study and devotional we remain in the OT and look at key moments in Israel’s history or an individual’s life. If God can redeem them in the Old Covenant, it is a sure thing he will redeem us in the New.
We focus on God’s character and heart as the Redeemer.
Let’s get started.
In Psalm 19, David describes the heavens and the sky declaring the glory of God and knowledge of him; they speak to us. Then David goes from the universe and gets personal (vv. 12-13). He prays that God would keep him from willful sins. But what happens if David willfully sins, anyway? He seeks to please him in his heart and with his words. But more importantly he calls out on God his Rock, where he can stand steady, and on his Redeemer, who will restore and defend him.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Ps. 19:14)
Israel sinned mightily against the Lord. They missed out on God’s blessings (Deut. 28) and messed up. After they were judged by Babylon, God promises them redemption and direction, guiding them where they should go:
This is what the LORD says—
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the LORD your God,
who teaches you what is best for you,
who directs you in the way you should go. (Is. 48:17)
God further promises redemption for formerly judged Israel. She had been a fearful, shamed, disgraced, and humiliated widow. Now, however, God becomes her husband. He is her Redeemer.
4 Do not be afraid; you will not suffer shame.
Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.
You will forget the shame of your youth
and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.
5 For your Maker is your husband—
the LORD Almighty is his name—
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer;
he is called the God of all the earth. (Is. 54:4-5)
In this single verse, if you messed up and missed out, all you got to do is repent, and God himself will visit you.
“The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,” declares the LORD. (Is. 59:20)
The next verses speak of the Blessed Exchange. You give him the hatred and forsakenness other saw you having, and he gives you pride and joy in the very same people who had looked down on you yesterday. You give him your barely-get-by, but he gives you royal sustenance. You give him bronze, but get gold in its place. He gives you silver for you iron, bronze for wood, iron for stones. You give him your turmoil and sin, but get peace and righteousness instead. In short, you give him your defeat because you messed up and missed out, but he gives you victory anyway. That’s that redemption from your Redeemer.
15 Although you have been forsaken and hated,
with no one traveling through,
I will make you the everlasting pride
and the joy of all generations.
16 You will drink the milk of nations
and be nursed at royal breasts.
Then you will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior,
your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.
17 Instead of bronze I will bring you gold,
and silver in place of iron.
Instead of wood I will bring you bronze,
and iron in place of stones.
I will make peace your governor
and righteousness your ruler. (Is. 60:15-17)
You have questioned God. Where were you? Why didn’t you guide me? In the middle of Israel’s doubting God’s compassion and guidance, Isaiah proclaims:
But you are our Father,
though Abraham does not know us
or Israel acknowledge us;
you, O LORD, are our Father,
our Redeemer from of old is your name. (Is. 63:16)
God is your Father and Redeemer, no matter what happens to you.
Finally, Jeremiah has long, sad prophecies about judgment on Israel and Judah. They had messed up and missed out. They were sent to Babylon as prisoners and exiles. First Jeremiah describes their degraded condition. Then, however, he proclaims that the Redeemer will defend them and give them rest, while their enemies will get unrest – another Blessed Exchange.
33 This is what the LORD Almighty says:
“The people of Israel are oppressed,
and the people of Judah as well.
All their captors hold them fast,
refusing to let them go.
34 Yet their Redeemer is strong;
the LORD Almighty is his name.
He will vigorously defend their cause
so that he may bring rest to their land,
but unrest to those who live in Babylon.” (Jer. 50:33-34)
How does this post help me grow in Christ?
So redemption is embedded with the notion of purchasing. Who pays and who is or what is paid?
If you messed up and missed out, God is your Redeemer. He will buy you back and deliver you from your captivity – your self-inflicted enslavement. God will buy you out of your pathway to hell. In a sense, he pays the price built on justice, which he set up in the first place. He buys you out of your self-inflicted injustice, which sends you to hell. He pays the price through the sacrifice of his Son to buy you out of your just condemnation because of your sin. When you respond with repentance at his redemptive mercy to purchase you, you are placed on the pathway to eternal life right now and ultimately to heaven.
God pays, and he pays justice and righteousness, which he set up, built on his character. He reaches down and lifts you out of your degraded life. How do you know your life is degraded? You compare it with his perfectly just standards. He sent his Son to bridge the gap between your degraded life and his perfect justice by his sacrificial death on the cross, taking your penalty of death while he hung on the cross. And so it is in that sense that he pays himself or his justice, through the blood of his Son, who is God incarnate.
God pays the fine or penalty within his own justice system, the fine or penalty which you had owed.
God through his Son pays the price of your sin, and he pays himself or his perfect justice and now extends his mercy to you.
God wants to redeem you. Your Plan B will turn into his Plan A.
It’s all about redemption. Seek your Redeemer and wait on him.