“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 the way of the Old Testament law to provide 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 tells Ruth to clean up herself, go to where Boaz was winnowing barley, and lay down at his feet after he falls to sleep. Noami instructs that when Boaz wakes up, Ruth is 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 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 carry out this obligation (Deuteronomy 25:5-10; Ruth 3:8-18). However, the closer relative cannot carry it out (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 showing God’s providential care for those who commit themselves to Him. It is an account about the innocent love of a man and a woman. It is the interaction of 2 people, Boaz and Ruth, who conduct themselves in an honorable way which glorifies God. It is a romance which should encourage all the unmarried among God’s people that if they will commit themselves to following God, and if it is God’s Will for them, He will provide for them a mate.
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 (i.e. even among those professing to be followers of Christ) 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).