Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Two Love Stories

But Ruth said, "Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. "Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the LORD do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me." Ruth 1:16-17

This week we are looking at some of the great love stories in the Bible because of Valentine’s Day.  The story of Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz provides us with a look at two very different kinds of love.  Ruth was Naomi’s daughter-in-law.  Sadly, both Ruth’s and Naomi’s husbands had been killed, as well as another son of Naomi’s.  Naomi encouraged her daughters-in-law to go back to their people and one of them did, but not Ruth.  She told Naomi she was going to stay with her. 

First of all, Ruth loved her mother-in-law so deeply that she did not want to leave her and go back to her own people after her husband died.  Instead of having a pity party over the death of her own husband, she devoted herself to serving and meeting the needs of her mother in law; to filling the void in her life and helping the best she could.  She could have gone home and started over.  She was young enough to have a new life; maybe even marry again.  But instead, she put Naomi’s needs above her own possibilities.  Her concern for her mother-in-law was her only motive.  Her life was a testimony of her faith and love for God and a source of inner strength for her as she sacrificed and served in love.  This is the love and devotion of a deep friendship.  Do you have a friend like that?  Are you being a friend like Ruth? 

The beauty in Ruth that comes shining through for others to see is this unselfish and serving love.  The passage does not speak of outer beauty, but it does say she had an inner beauty.  She possessed genuine humility and a meek and quiet spirit, some of the most valuable assets a woman can have. This is what Boaz saw in her that spurred the second type of love in this story – romantic love.  He invited her to have lunch with him and told the servants to let her glean where there was still plenty of grain on the ground.

She dropped to her knees, then bowed her face to the ground. "How does this happen that you should pick me out and treat me so kindly--me, a foreigner?" Boaz answered her, "I've heard all about you--heard about the way you treated your mother-in-law after the death of her husband, and how you left your father and mother and the land of your birth and have come to live among a bunch of total strangers. GOD reward you well for what you've done--and with a generous bonus besides from GOD, to whom you've come seeking protection under his wings."  Ruth 2:10-12

Boaz was a man of God as well.  God’s goodness radiated from Boaz just as it did from Ruth.  Boaz became Ruth’s “goel,” as they called it, her kinsman-redeemer and provider.  Eventually they married and Ruth and Boaz had a son.  Naomi stayed and cared for Ruth and Boaz’s baby and Boaz cared for Naomi until her death.  An interesting and unusual love story for everyone.  God provided and Ruth was blessed with the love of a great man and a son after all the pain and sorrow.  She had been faithful to God and to her mother in law.  Naomi ended up with a family to love her and she kept her deep love and friendship with her daughter in law, who loves you and is better to you than seven sons.  Ruth 4:15

Scripture to Claim:
He said, "GOD bless you, my dear daughter! What a splendid expression of love! And when you could have had your pick of any of the young men around. And now, my dear daughter, don't you worry about a thing; I'll do all you could want or ask. Everybody in town knows what a courageous woman you are--a real prize! MSG Ruth 3:10-11

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