3/7/13 “A Virtuous Woman (And Man)”

“And he said, ‘Who are you?’ So she answered, ‘I am Ruth, your maidservant. Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative.’ Then he said, ‘Blessed are you of the Lord, my daughter! For you have shown more kindness at the end than at the beginning, in that you did not go after young men, whether poor or rich. And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman’” (Ruth 3:9-11).

After returning with her mother-in-law Naomi to a foreign land she had never known, Ruth enters this land with no idea of how she is going to provide for herself. She and Naomi are widows. They did not have any kind of social program such as Social Security to take care of them. She begins to glean the leftover crops from a field owned by Boaz, one of Naomi’s dead husband’s relatives (Ruth 2:1-3). Boaz is an honorable man and goes out of his way to fulfill this Old Testament law as a way of providing for the poor and the stranger (Leviticus 19:9-10). Boaz instructs his servants to make sure they purposely let additional grain fall from their bundles so that Ruth may glean it (Ruth 2:4-23).

Naomi, Ruth’s mother in law, rejoices in this and seeks a way of providing future security for Ruth (Ruth 3:1). Naomi is well aware of a law of God that required that when a man died without children, his closest relative was to marry the widowed wife and raise up children for that man so that his land inheritance would not be lost and that his name would not be forgotten (Deuteronomy 25:5-6). Naomi instructs Ruth to go to where Boaz was winnowing barley, clean up herself, and lay down at his feet after he had went to sleep. When he wakes up, Noami instructs Ruth to ask him to carry out this Old Testament duty and care for her as the widowed wife of his close relative (Ruth 3:1-7).

As the opening verses above indicate, Boaz is more than willing to do this. However, there is a closer relative to Ruth’s dead husband than he. Boaz must first give him the opportunity to do so (Deuteronomy 25:5-10; Ruth 3:8-18). Boaz does this and the closer relative is unwilling to carry out this duty (Ruth 4:1-12). Boaz marries Ruth, Noami rejoices, and they all literally live happily ever after (Ruth 4:13-22).

This is a beautiful story that shows God’s providential care for those who commit themselves to Him. It is a story about the innocent love of a man and a woman. It is the story of 2 people, Boaz and Ruth, who conduct themselves in an honorable way and glorify God by their actions. It is a story which should encourage all of God’s people as they reflect if they will commit themselves to following God, He will provide a way for them.

How different is this story from what we see how people “fall in love” according to Hollywood. Hollywood has men and women playing games with each other, jumping into sexual relations on the first date, and never facing any challenges in their relationship once they are “together”. Unfortunately many young people (even among those professing to be Christians) buy into Hollywood’s version of “falling in love”.

I encourage young people to study this great story of the romance of Boaz and Ruth. It is a powerful example of “true love”, dedication, and purity. I appreciate the challenges young people face to keep pure and conduct themselves with honor in their relationships with the opposite sex. Today, I will rejoice in my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who seek to follow the example of Boaz and Ruth and conduct themselves with honor in their relationships with the opposite sex.

Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).