Imagine you were lured away from the safety of your parent's home by the promises of a good-looking, smooth talking charmer, only to end up being kidnapped. What if your parents never wanted you in the first place and abandoned you as an infant, but instead of being rescued by a benevolent family, you were picked up by dishonorable men who raised you with no education, giving you just enough food and shelter to survive until you were old enough to sell for a profit. Maybe your own father, who was supposed to love and protect you, sold you instead to a creditor to pay off his debts? Perhaps your husband fell on the battlefield and you were brutalized and violated by enemy soldiers. Now you find yourself on the auction block, stripped naked, humiliated, treated as less than a human being while men wave money and the auctioneer sells you off to the highest bidder.
As you are led away, you walk toward your hapless future, trying to avoid the leering gaze of the gathered crowd as they stare at your nakedness. You know your fate. There are no jobs for unmarried women in your culture. Without a family, you were doomed from the beginning. There is no one looking out for you. All marriages are arranged in your society and without a father around to arrange a marriage for you, your prospects are hopeless. You cannot own land or earn a living in your country. You have been sold. You will be a prostitute. Your life will be endless suffering and misery as you are used for the pleasure of men who care nothing for you.
You are handed over to the man who has just purchased your life for money. Even if you weren't too weak and starved to run, there would be no where to go, no hope of escape. You are surprised when he takes the key and releases you from your shackles and chains. He clothes you with a clean robe and quickly whisks you away from the din of the crowd and city. When you pass the city gates, he gives you a drink, gently lifts your chin, looking into your eyes as he wipes away the tears and promises you that everything is going to be alright. You ride in quiet, stopping at a peaceful oasis about half a day's journey outside the city. He prepares a simple meal for you and after you have eaten your fill, he begins to talk.
He explains that He is part of a nation with different laws and a different God than all the other nations. His God has outlawed forced slavery. His God forbids prostitution. He assures you that you will never be used as a concubine and that no man will ever touch you without your consent. He explains that He has a special covenant with His God that provides protection for you. He let's you know that you will be working alongside his own daughters and his one and only wife in his household. You will eat the same food, sleep under the same tent and be provided with the same clothing that they are. He tells you that his son and heir, saw you in the caravan as you were being hauled off toward the slave auction. He goes on to say: My son had great compassion on you and asked if I would purchase you for Him with the dowry money we had saved up to arrange for his marriage. He's a good looking young man and kind. If the two of you get along, He would very much like to marry you, IF that is agreeable to you. We want you to be part of our family. He will never be allowed to divorce or abandon you. You will have the right to his marriage bed and can have as many children as you would like to surround you and care for you in your old age. You will always be part of our family even into your old age. You will always have plenty of food, and your portion will never be reduced. You will be kept in good clothing and have an honored place in our family which can never be taken away. If something happens to my son and he dies, our family will care for you and one of our close relatives will even marry you if that is what you desire. Your children will be valued and viewed as equals and have an inheritance among our people for all generations. Your daughters and your grand-daughters and your great-grand-daughters will never be sold as prostitutes or mis-treated as you were. Your sons will have land and an inheritance and a future among our people and will never fall into debt slavery like the boys in other nations. All generations of your family will rise up and call you blessed because of the future you secured for them by accepting this marriage covenant here today. Take this cup of wine and drink from it if you are willing to accept this covenant and I will be a father to you and these promises will belong to you forever.
This young woman's purchaser turned out to be her Rescuer. He was her Redeemer, the one who sets things right. The price to purchase her out of slavery, has become the price of her redemption. He was her Savior. She wasn't purchased to be a slave, she was ransomed, rescued to become part of a family. What I have just written is an example of how the Old Covenant was meant to work. It is intended to demonstrate the mercy, compassion and care of God for those who have been walked all over and abused by this world. Every provision I detailed in that marriage covenant the Father offered is what the Bible teaches and required of Hebrew men. I just wanted to present it in a cohesive, easy to read manner. The only way they could legally purchase a woman from another nation off the auction block was to redeem and rescue her. God's law provided protection against human trafficking and provided hope and a way out for those trapped by it, and the death penalty for the traffickers. Rahab was a prostitute who was rescued out of Jericho when it fell. She was married into the tribe of Judah and her descendants were part of the nation of Israel. Her children did have an inheritance among God's people. Her son was Boaz, one of the most stand-up guys in the Bible. Her descendants also include King David and the entire line of Kings all the way to Jesus, Himself.
And that brings us to the point. While God, the Father, never abandoned us or sold us for money, ALL of us have been lured away from our heavenly Father by a smooth talking charmer called Satan. We have all ran away, gone astray. We have all been slaves to sin. But Jesus, God's only Son and heir, saw us in our humiliation, defeat and slavery. He paid the price, the ransom for our lives. He has already paid the price to redeem us from slavery and release us from the shackles and chains of sin. Those of us who have already accepted His covenant, collectively as the church, are his bride. Just like the man in this story, or just like Hosea who rescued a woman of prostitution and took her outside of the city to speak to her softly, proposing a new covenant of marriage, Jesus calls to us, in that still small voice through His Spirit, asking us to accept His covenant. Trust in Him. Ask for forgiveness for your sins. Accept the price of redemption He has already paid for you with His own life and choose to be part of His family. Just like Rahab, future generations of your family will be blessed because of your decision.