Summary: Exposition of Ruth 2:1-23
Text: Ruth 2:1-23
Title: Preparation for Romance
Date/Place: LSCC, 5/7/06, AM
A. Opening illustration: Joshua Harris’ mother used to have a saying, “hustle while you wait.” She meant that while you wait for things, be productive. In his book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, there is a chapter on “redeeming the time.” It is a preparation guide for marriage and romance. He says while you wait, practice. Practice fostering intimate relationships, practice seeking the Lord and building godly character, practice financial responsibility, practice parenting, practice life skills. The prep for the first marriage—Adam and Eve
B. Background to passage: The story of Ruth and Naomi really begins to look brighter than chapter one let on. What we see is a “chance” encounter by a man and a woman that begins to grow the seeds of romance in their lives. There is no hint of romance in the language of the text, and it is probably far from the minds of the characters, but because we know the rest of the story, I think it is appropriate to discuss it. Romance and love is a need in our lives, but we need to be prepared to handle deep relationships. Singles and marrieds need instruction on preparation for romance. And interestingly enough, these are character traits that whether one is involved romantically, or even desires to be, will positively impact their lives.
C. Main thought: so in our text today, we will see what Boaz and Ruth did to prepare their hearts for it.
A. Boaz (v.)
1. Boaz is called a man of stature, wealth, or standing in the community. One of the things this indicates to us is that he was a man of character. He is of upstanding moral standards in all aspects of his life, and he is rich, and therefore has probably been a good financial steward for most of his life. Boaz also takes the initiative to engage Ruth. He speaks first. He leads the conversation. He pronounces blessing. He invites to lunch. Boaz protects Ruth by establishing the first sexual harassment law. He honors her publicly by the blessing that he bestows on her. He provides for Ruth by instructing the reapers to leave extra grain for her in the best spots. Later he allows her to drink from the water that was drawn for the reapers; this was unheard of! The level of generosity is extravagant. He speaks to her heart. He is not afraid to speak openly, and pray for her. He serves her over dinner. He has no ulterior motivations, no sexually based agendas, just kindness toward others.
3. Illustration: Randy Alcorn says “character is what you do in the dark where only God sees.” Ladies, do you have a man who’s dragging his heels about marriage? Does your man want to get married but doesn’t know how to ask? Then it’s time you take matters into your own hands. You missed your opportunity on Leap Day, the official day for women to propose to men. But you’re still in luck. It is Leap Year, after all, so you technically have until Dec. 31 to get down on one knee and pop the question. Our CP professor had a sit down with all of the CPs before we left about the difference in perspectives between the CP and his wife. Describe the situation at Camp Jubilee with godly young men and ladies together for the first time, Larry Jackson at PK speaking about the pastor being the chief servant in the church, and the husband being the chief servant in the home.
4. What about your character? Are you honest when you don’t have to be? Do you stand by your word, and means what you say? Are you willing to be used in the kingdom at His convenience? Do you stand by principle and biblical truth when it is not popular? Are you a good steward of the resources God has provided? Godly women find responsibility attractive. Men, it is still your responsibility to take initiative in your home! Don’t make your spouse nag you about stuff! Single men, chivalry is still in, responsibility for godly leadership rests on you. Husbands, do you protect (emotionally, spiritually, from others), provide for (romantically, physically), and honor (publicly praise, esteem, value) your wife? Are there examples of men in our church who do? Take notice of them. Imitate them. Godly women find godliness and love for the kingdom attractive. Everybody: Are you becoming a servant of others? Are you protecting others? Are you providing for others? The poor, the fatherless, the foreigners of the world need people that will show hesed for them.
B. Ruth (v.)
1. Ruth also did some things that prepared her heart for what God had planned. She was walking a walk of faith by going out to glean. She looked in faith expecting God to provide through His means—gleaning. It was a risky business when you were a woman, not attached to a man, and a foreigner, but she trusted God. When Boaz began to provide for her she responded well. First she responded in humility. Explain the concept of bowing down. Second, she responded with gratitude (v. 13) telling Boaz how much his kindness had encouraged her and uplifted her. Finally she is honest, telling Boaz that he has spoken to her heart.