Ruth 3-4 – Relationships Should be a Two-Way Street

Note: If you’re not familiar with the story of Ruth, I encourage you to read the book of Ruth before reading further. At least read Ruth 3-4. You’ll be glad you did!

A relationship should be a two-way street.

In Ruth chapter 3, Ruth (at the encouragement of Naomi) pursues Boaz. It was important that she do so, because though Boaz had shown his heart by caring for Ruth and going the extra mile to provide for her, Ruth needed to show that she too was interested in and desirous of him.

Then, in Ruth chapter 4, Boaz aggressively pursues Ruth by masterfully making the proper arrangements to secure Ruth for himself; (even though she was a foreigner and had nothing to contribute to his estate.)

That’s how relationship should work. They should go both ways.

This is a great love story, but it’s more than just a love story between Ruth and Boaz. It’s a picture of the love story Jesus seeks with us! Jesus is our Boaz. The One who desires to secure our future through His provision and protection. Even before we demonstrate interest in Him, He cares for us, provides for us, and has His workers show favor toward us.

But there comes a time when we must actively show our desire and commitment to Him. For a love story is only complete when both partners are responding. A relationship should be a two-way street. (James 4:8)

And just a side note…it was the two-way relationship between Ruth and Boaz that eventually brought King David (the giant slayer) and King Jesus (the sin slayer) into the world. Imagine what your two-way relationship with Christ and with others might do!

Ruth 2 – More Than a Fable

Aesop’s fables are engaging little stories that are both entertaining and instructive. The Book of Ruth is both entertaining and instructive, but it’s more than a fable. There we find the story of Ruth, a destitute foreigner and widow, who makes a commitment to her mother-in-law Naomi.

The story also about Boaz, a man who was not only wealthy, but also kind-hearted and wise. Boaz is referred to as a “kinsman redeemer.” This is a relative who steps in to rescue a wife and a family line from being destitute and extinguished due to the death of the wife’s husband.

Ruth is the story of a person in great need, a person of great benevolence, and the sovereign providential God who brings them together. In chapter 1, you see the great need of Ruth. And in chapter 2, you see God providentially introducing her to the benevolent Boaz.

It’s an entertaining story, but what’s the point? The point is this…every person on this planet is a Ruth. We’ve been separated by death from our first husband (God.) We’re destitute and we don’t fit. We strike out on our own to try to provide for ourselves, but we’re unable to do it on our own. We need help. But God wants to introduce us to a Boaz (Jesus) who will show kindness to us and woo us away from our poverty and into His safety and provision.

The question is, will we recognize the overture of our Boaz and will we respond to His invitation to stay with Him, enjoying His protection and provision.

This is not an Aesop fable, but rather an awesome truth waiting for us to grasp and own!

Ruth 1 – Commitment

These days, absolute and total commitment is more of an ideal than a reality. Employees jump from company to company. Employers lay off workers, then give their jobs to others for less pay. Marriage vows state “till death do us part” but are translated “I hope this works out and we’re lucky enough to stay together.”

The book of Ruth is about commitment. There you see the  commitment of a daughter-in-law to her mother-in-law, the commitment of a relative to another relative, the commitment of a man to a woman, and the commitment of God to His people.

Chapter one of Ruth sets the theme of the book by focusing on Ruth herself. After her husband dies, Ruth has every reason to cut ties with her mother-in-law (Naomi). Ruth is a foreigner with no cultural obligation to Naomi, Naomi’s people, or Naomi’s God. As a young widow, it would be perfectly understandable for Ruth to pursue a new marriage and family at home, rather than caring for an old woman to whom she has no further ties, in a foreign land where she knows no one.

Yet, in Ruth 1:16-17, Ruth expresses an unwavering commitment to Naomi, surrendering her life for the good of Naomi. And, as we see later in the book, this commitment changed not only these two women, but the course of history.

This is the type of commitment God wants the readers of Ruth to see. It is the type of commitment he desires from us, because it is the type of commitment He has made to us…though He was under no obligation to do so.

The book of Ruth is our call to be people of commitment…first to God, and then to those around us.