Ruth 3 The Risk Of Loving
In this chapter, we see a wedding proposal/engagement in a very different way than we do today. Ruth and Boaz began their marriage different than couples do today. In biblical times, the engagement was known as betrothal that involved a much deeper commitment than our current understanding of engagement. Betrothal almost synonymous with marriage, Israelites recognized the moral and spiritual principles underlying the pledge of a girl to be married.
There is a definite difference in how our spiritual ancestors saw marriage than we do today. We have lost the reverence of marriage. We jump in and out of marriage, as it meant nothing. If we were to recapture even a sliver of this reverence than maybe divorce and broken families would not be as rampant as they are. Marriage is serious business and it should be seen as such.
I am not sure what traits and attitudes the Boaz and Ruth relationship is teaching us about marriage, but I think it is saying something about our relationship with God. This primary relationship can and should be seen as a covenantal way. Our relationship with God is not about religion, but relationship. Religion says do this and that, clean yourself up and make yourself worthy. Relationship is about the dance and drama with the divine. Relationship is about living towards the way God already sees you. The first commandment in this light can be seen as saying you will have no other lovers.
Ruth 3 also says something about prayer. Naomi takes her hope and prayer for Ruth to get married into her own hands. This is not necessary a bad thing. There is biblical precedence for both ‘waiting on the Lord’ in prayer and pursuing answers for prayer yourself.
I see prayer as a way of stopping, thanking, and having a deeper awareness of life where you have been and where you are going. Prayer is a tool waking to where God is working in you and the world, of seeing where God is pushing and guiding you. It is a way of connecting God and it should be less seen as way of getting things and more as way of seeing all you already have.
I think we should pray and do. Prayer should come first, then it should lead us to do something.
There is a story about waiting too long for God and seeing where God is acting.
The rains continued to pour down, and the water was rising fast. Robby refused to leave his house despite all the warnings. There was a knock at his door. The firemen in their orange rescue boat demanded, “Sir, you’ve got to leave.” But Robby refused, “The Lord will save me.”
A few hours later, the water crept inside the house ankle deep. There was another knock on the door. This time the firemen were starting to get worried. “Sir, you need to leave now! The water is rising too fast.” Again, Robby refused, “No, the Lord will save me.”
As the hours passed, the unforgiving water continued to rise. It had pushed Robby up outside on the roof where he sat precariously on the ledge. The loud noise of the helicopter hovered overhead. The loud speaker crackled, “Sir, grab the rope and we’ll pull you to safety.” Robby shouted as loud as he could, “No, the Lord will save me!”
Within a few minutes, the water had risen so rapidly that Robby was swept away and drowned. Standing before God’s throne in heaven, Robby raised his hands and questioned God, “Where were you God? I was waiting for you to save me.” God answered, “Robby, I sent you two boats and a helicopter. What more do you need?”
We’ve heard this before and we laugh. Yet, it is very true. Sometimes, we fail to see where God is working and pushing us to go. Sometimes we need our own Naomi to push to get us moving to do what God is calling us to do.
There was some serious risk in this chapter. Naomi’s plan risked Ruth and Boaz’ reputation, risked Ruth’s life, risked her chances with Boaz. Ruth’s agreement to follow Naomi had her acting out of her normal character. I believe that to love is to risk. We risk being hurt and rejected by stepping out and loving others. To a certain extent, we will be hurt even if our love is not thrown back at us. Love hurts. Love is dangerous. Love is risky. Love is serious. Yet, this is what makes love so transformative, such a worthy endeavor. If love wasn’t so risky, dangerous, and life transforming than it wouldn’t so powerful and fulfilling.