In the story of Ruth, we see the first real redemption in all of Scripture. Sure, God has saved a man or two before now, but it has been somewhat dependent upon what that man does in faith and obedience - Noah's obedience in building a boat, Abraham's willingness to sacrifice Isaac, Moses's circumcision of his son. But in Ruth, we see a pure redemption - not resting on any perceived action by Ruth herself.
Recall the story: Ruth has come with her mother-in-law, Naomi, back from Moab to the land of God's promise. Naomi's husband died, as did her son (Ruth's husband), and the two women are alone in the land. Ruth goes out to see if she can find a field to work in or some way to acquire the basic necessities she and Naomi need to continue living, and she winds up in the field of a man named Boaz, who she later finds out is actually family - the man who could redeem Ruth and Naomi and fold them back into the family of Israel.
Ruth has been working in Boaz's field for a season and has earned his favor; he's instructed his laborers to make sure she always has enough, but not to be condescending about it. Naomi tells Ruth who this man actually is and sends her to lay at his feet until she gains an ear to tell him who he is and to ask for his redemption.
After a night of laying quietly at his feet, Ruth tells Boaz who she is and identifies him as the kinsman-redeemer. It seems like a match made in heaven.
But then, Boaz does something strange - he says he has to wait a minute. He says there is someone else he has to ask first. He says he is really only second in line, and if he's going to redeem Ruth and Naomi, he wants to do it the right way.
Most of us, in our world, would say...what right does this other man have? Boaz is the one who has welcomed Ruth into his field. Boaz is the one who has already been providing for her. Boaz is the one who obviously knows how to treat a woman. Why bother with all the legal mess of bringing in someone else who has no idea what is even going on? Ruth has hit the jackpot in Boaz...but Boaz knows there's a right way to do things.
God knows there's a right way to do things, too. That's why He never just reached down and snatched His people from the clutches of the world or the devil. That's why He doesn't just push forward in providing for us without declaring for us. That's why when we ask God to step in as redeemer, He says...wait a minute.
Wait a minute while I put on flesh. Wait a minute while I come to walk among you. Wait a minute while I raise this bread, bless it, and break it. Wait a minute while I submit myself to the world so that everyone who is there can stand as a witness that this deal is legit. Everyone at the edge of the city, everyone who sees My Son raised up on that Cross will be able to say I did it the right way.
Not because it was easy. Not because it was obvious. Not because it was good. Not because it was natural.
But because it was love.