The 'near-kinsman" should redeem his brethren if they have
fallen into slavery or servitude (Lev 25:47-55; cp Rom 6:17,18).
He may also function as:
1. An avenger of blood: Jos 20:3-6; Num 35:15-28; Deu 19:6-12.
Cp Rom 12:19; Rev 6:10.
2. An avenger of violated rights: Rth 4:1,6,8.
3. A redeemer of the fatherless (Pro 23:10).
4. A redeemer from:
death, grave (Hos 13:14),
evil (Gen 48:16),
deceit and violence
(Psa 72:14), and
enemies (Psa 106:10;
"I know that MY Redeemer lives!"
What good is a Redeemer who does not redeem ME? What benefit
is an Avenger who does not stand up for ME? The difference is absolute: it is
the difference between gold ore buried in the mine, and gold coins in my
Reading 2 - Zep 1:4-6
"I will stretch out my hand against Judah and against all who
live in Jerusalem. I will cut off from this place every remnant of Baal, the
names of the pagan and the idolatrous priests -- those who bow down on the roofs
to worship the starry host, those who bow down and swear by the LORD and who
also swear by Molech, those who turn back from following the LORD and neither
seek the LORD nor inquire of him" (Zep 1:4-6).
"I will sweep away -- or cut off"... four distinct classes of
The OPEN idolaters: "every remnant of Baal, the names of the pagan and the
idolatrous priests -- those who bow down on the roofs to worship the starry
host" (vv 4,5).
The SECRET idolaters: "those who bow down and swear by the
LORD AND who ALSO swear by Molech" (v 5).
The backsliders: "those who turn
back from following the LORD" (v 6).
The indifferent: "those who... neither
seek the LORD nor inquire of him" (v 6).
That seems to cover the field rather well! Can we imagine any
sort of sinner who does not fall into at least one of these categories? Do we
not sometimes find even ourselves perilously entrapped in sins of most of these
It all has to do with "caring": the open idolaters CARE, but
they care wrongly; they have a zeal but not according to knowledge, and they bow
five times a day toward Mecca or burn incense to a smiling stone image, but it
profits them nothing.
The secret idolaters CARE too, but only half-heartedly; they
serve God at times, but they never quite overthrow the altar of "Mammon" in
The backsliders CARED for God at one time, but they stopped
caring. Perhaps the "cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches"
entered their lives and choked the word of God.
And, last, there are the indifferent, who CARE not at all, who
cannot be moved even with dynamite from the comfortable ruts of their sad, empty
What is the lesson for us? God sees and will judge EVERY type
of iniquity: the external idolatry of false religion as well as the secret,
internal idolatry of covetousness (Col 3:5), which wears a cloak of
"righteousness" in order to deceive (both itself and others).
"Search us, Lord, and know our heart.
With every idol bid us part."
These exhortations are lost on us if we think only of "idols"
made of wood and stone, and pride ourselves as having nothing to do with such.
But the "idols" that should frighten us, from whose bondage we should pray to be
delivered, are the modern "gods" of materialism, licentiousness (in books,
movies, and television), and pleasure-seeking! For God WILL judge EVERY type of
sin: the open indifference of atheism no more than the hidden indifference of a
lax Laodicean faith which seeks its own comfort and ignores its "nakedness" in
Reading 3 - 2Pe 3:11
"Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of
people ought you to be?" (2Pe 3:11).
"So it is with all the doctrines of Scripture; they are all
intended to have a transforming power, and it is in this way that we should view
them. This reflection provokes another: if the Scriptures are designed to have
such a vital influence upon us, how regularly and how prayerfully we should be
reading them; and what a wise arrangement it has been that in our daily readings
we set out to read all of them, and not just a selection according to our taste"
(Fred Pearce, "The Christadelphian" 114:169).