Summary: Lessons on love from the book of Ruth
“How Far Does Love Go?”
Intro: This morning, we want to talk about one of the greatest love stories ever: the story of Ruth. You’ve been reading this week in the books of Judges and Ruth. I want us to consider the concept of love this morning and what it means for each of us here today. Seven years ago this coming August, I made some promises that totally changed my future forever. I made commitment to my wife, and promised to love her for the rest of our lives. But giving promises is a lot easier than keeping them. I have to remind myself every day to show love to Ronda. Not because she is hard to love: but so often I realize that I am selfish. Those of you here who have been married for many years could stand up today and share that even when you love, you don’t always feel in love. Love shows itself in various ways.
Sometimes I show love to Ronda by gentle kisses and holding her hand.
A couple that had been married for 50 years sat reflecting one day. The wife said “things have really changed. You used to sit so close to me.”
Well, I can remedy that” said the man, moving next to her on the couch.
“And you used to hold her tight.” “How’s that” he asked as he gave her a hug
“Do you remember you used to nuzzle my neck and nibble on my ear lobes” she asked.
At that he jumped up and left the room.
“Where are you going” she asked. “I’ll be right back, he called, I’ve got to get my teeth!
There are some times I try to show Ronda I love her by telling her what she means to me. Hopefully not like the husband who confessed to his wife, “Honey, sometimes I love you so much it’s all I can do to keep from telling you.”
How do you show love in your life? Let’s learn from Ruth about ways to express love. We will learn by looking at the different characters in the book and how they expressed love.
I. Love shows itself in acceptance of others
I think one of the most prominent characters of the book of Ruth only has his name twice in chapter 4. That man is Salmon, the father of Boaz. Matt. 1:5 tells us that Boaz had a special mother: her name was Rahab. Think about Rahab the harlot: one who was an outcast of society, yet she was allowed to become part of the nation of Israel. Who would have wanted her? Salmon, the father of Boaz. He found in her a woman he could love.
The love Boaz learned in his home growing up would surely have taught him to be accepting of others. So later in life, as he meets Ruth, a Moabitess, he is not afraid to reach out to her in love.
How well do we do in accepting others? Are there those we shy away from because they are different than us? What about those with different color skin? Those who dress different? of different social status? of different religions?
II. Love shows itself in the worst of times
Many times we find the greatest love stories occur in the worst possible conditions. In Ruth 1 we find that this love story is set “In the days when the judges ruled” . This was a time when Israel was constant fighting - both driving out enemy nations within the land as well as fighting and in bondage to enemy nations from outside the promised land. In the midst of this time, love still shines.
Elimelech loves his family and provides for them
Mahlon and Chilion love Orpah and Ruth and marry them
Naomi loves her daughter in laws
Boaz loves Ruth
There is never a bad time to love. You can’t say, “Today just isn’t a good day. I’m not very loving today.” Love endures no matter the circumstances.
Do we love at all times?
Prov. 17:17 - A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
III. Love shows itself in reaching beyond our comfort zones
Naomi was able to love two daughters-in-law who were Moabites, a nation that the Israelites were commanded not to marry. Num. 25:17 - treat the Moabites as enemies and kill them.” I’m sure that Naomi and Elimelech were not happy with the choice their sons made. But they extended love to them for the sake of their sons.
If you want to get nervous, just think about all the possible people your son or daughter might marry! Yet, even when we think the choice is unwise, after the wedding do we do everything possible to make the marriage last?