Summary: In every relationship, particularly marriage, there are times when the believer must be faithful, regardless of the challenge.
Allan Petersen, in The Myth of the Greener Grass, tells the story of a
group of a dozen married women having lunch together. One woman
asked, "How many of you have been faithful to your husbands
throughout your marriage?" Only one woman out of the twelve raised her
hand. At home that evening, one of the women who didn't raise her hand
told her husband about the lunch, the question, her reaction. "But," she
quickly added, "I have been faithful."
"Then why didn't you raise your hand?" Her response? "I was
ashamed.” We live in an age where faithfulness in marriage is
Turn with me to the Book of Ruth. This morning we begin a 4
week series entitled R&B: The Songs of Love. It’s taken from the book
of Ruth. Of course, R&B doesn’t really stand for rhythm and blues, but
Ruth and Boaz, the 2 love birds in this timeless love story.
The period of time when these events took place is during the
time of the Judges. RUTH 1:1, “IN THE DAYS WHEN THE JUDGES
RULED.” There is the book of Joshua, then the book of Judges, then
the book of Ruth. If you know your biblical history, you know that the
book of Joshua is about crossing over into & conquering the promised
land. The book of Judges is the 400 year period after that, from 1400
B.C. to 1000 B.C., when there were no kings, but men and women raised
up by God to give guidance and wisdom to the people of God. It’s at the
end of this 400 year period that this story takes place, because, as we’re
going to find out, Ruth and Boaz have a son that is just a few
generations away from the great King David.
And so, let’s dig in. There are so many great themes in the book
of Ruth, and we’ll discuss all of them these next 4 weeks. But the one
theme that runs throughout the book is the theme of love. Is there a
more basic ingredient of life than love? Every person who breathes the
breath of life wants to love and be loved.
Love, whether it exists in a friendship or a marriage, defines the
quality of life. And in a way, every relationship has a certain song to it.
When I was a freshman in college, my best friend and I were wild and
crazy guys, and when I think of that relationship, I think of this song
(SONG#1 BORN TO BE WILD: 10 SECONDS). When I dated this girl in
college, I was absolutely smitten and I think of this song (SONG #2 THE
FIRST TIME EVER I SAW YOUR FACE: 10 SECONDS). I met Sue ten
years later, and the ringtone I have on my phone for her is (SONG #3
PRETTY WOMAN: 10 SECONDS).
Relationships that work the best have certain songs that are
heard loud and clear. And one of those songs is the song of faithfulness.
The Hebrew word in the OT is EMUNAH, and is found in verses like
PSALM 33:4, “FOR THE WORD OF THE LORD IS RIGHT AND TRUE;
HE IS FAITHFUL IN ALL HE DOES.” The Greek word in the NT is the
word PISTOS, which at its core means trust or trustworthy. It’s one of the
fruit of the Spirit… FAITHFULNESS: A CONVICTION BASED IN
TRUTH THAT SHOWS UP IN ACTION. It describes someone that can
be relied upon to do the right thing at the right time.
IN EVERY RELATIONSHIP, PARTICULARLY MARRIAGE,
THERE ARE TIMES WHEN THOSE IN THE RELATIONSHIP MUST BE
FAITHFUL, REGARDLESS OF THE CHALLENGE. (leave up a bit)
RELATIONSHIPS ARE CHALLENGING aren’t they? The
closer you are to someone, the more challenging and frustrating they can
be. There are times I’m so frustrated with Sue, I want to set her hair on
fire. You with me, here? And it’s a 2 way street. She’s actually
attempted 3 times to set my hair on fire! When I smell lighter fluid, I run!
And on top of that, life is tough. Circumstances beyond our control put
incredible pressure on us and threaten to undermine our love and our
That’s certainly the case in our story this morning. Let’s read
VV. 1-7 (ON SCREEN) As we read this passage, notice the challenges
the characters face--
1: famine; 2: travel w/kids; 3: livelihood in a foreign country; 4:
husband dies; 5: sons/husbands die; 6: travel of 3 widowers; 7: livelihood
in a foreign country; 8: barren womb; no children. That’s a lot of
adversity; a lot of challenge.
Let me unwrap that a bit more. When Ruth got to Bethlehem,
she would have been characterized as an unclean Gentile. Furthermore,
there was no Social Security, no food stamps, no Mission Arlington or