Summary: At it’s heart, the Book of Ruth is a love story. And since it is Scripture, we can learn a lot from it…

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Ruth 3:1-18


Today I want to talk to you about love. What is love? How do you define it, describe it? Here’s one attempt to do that…

Show clip from Moulin Rouge where love is described as a series of song titles…

Hallmark cards that purport to tell us the meaning of love...

If only love were that simple: boiled down to song titles…

If Hollywood (and Hallmark) aren’t good sources for the definition of love, where do we look?

At it’s heart, the Book of Ruth is a love story. It is about two people who find each other in a surprising way, and it tells the powerful story of their love as it faces threats, adversities, and difficulties. But it says a lot about love. And since it is Scripture, we can learn a lot from it…

Today as we turn to the Book of Ruth, chapter 3, we will see some amazing things happen. There will be some shocking things, some surprising things, some humorous things. But we begin with something that could be a little bit scary. As I read Ruth 3:1-2, notice what Naomi has decided to do for Ruth.

A. Naomi seeks a match for Ruth

Naomi announces to Ruth her intentions. Wouldn’t her 1st statement make you scared, or at least a little nervous? What if you mother said this to you? Imagine what Ruth must have been thinking – this is her mother-in-law! Not only that, she has somebody in mind – Boaz.

Fiddler on the Roof comes to mind. Remember that film? Much of it centered around Yente the Matchmaker and her efforts to arrange marriages for each daughter in film’s main family. [show clip from Fiddler on the Roof where Yente arrives and Tseitel worries]

But Yente the matchmaker’s best shot turns out to be the financial security of the old butcher, when Tseitel is in love with a young man.

We are tempted to think of Naomi as Yente the matchmaker, since her plan involves marrying off Ruth to the older, financially secure Boaz. He’s obviously much older than Ruth, since he keeps referring to her as “my daughter.” But this is no forced set up. Ruth is not interested in anyone else (v. 10), and its his character, not money that Naomi values.

B. Naomi seeks the best for Ruth

Naomi is looking out for Ruth’s future.

Naomi seeks a permanent home (“security”) for Ruth

Hebrew: “rest”, implies security.

She was concerned with Ruth’s future, not just her own.

Often called Ruth her “daughter” - Cf. 2:2; 3:16,18

Ruth’s fears were calmed, no doubt, when she hears Naomi is thinking of Boaz. He has qualifications: kinsmen, good character and standing, financially stable, and she trusts him, as her plan will show. This leads us to the first hallmark of real love.:


Love seeks, looks out for, what is best for the other person. The first hallmark of love is its self-sacrificing concern for the other person.

True love looks for the best interest of the one loved, and is willing to sacrifice to that end. Phillipians 2:4

Ladies, this is what you have to watch out for with guys. Anytime a guy tries to convince you, persuade you, or encourage you to compromise God’s standards of purity, he is no longer looking out for what is best for you. He is only looking out for what he wants. That guy is not in love, he’s in lust. All such guys should be dumped, dissed, deleted.

And guys – be a man and start looking out for her best.

Obviously, this applies to all relationships, not just romantic ones.

Transition: Now, spring is here and love is in the air. Because of this, I’ve decided to give you an important bonus today. Something extra, taken right from our passage in the book of Ruth. Think of it as a sermonic sidebar. That’s right, it’s Dr. Dave’s Guide To Finding the Perfect Partner. So if you are looking for that Special Someone, here’s my first tip: 1. Use a matchmaker. Stop relying on yourself to find the perfect partner. I mean, look at your track record. How well have you done? Arranged marriages worked for centuries; there’s no reason to give up on them now. So, if you want to find the perfect partner, Dr. Dave says use a matchmaker. Preferably a former mother-in-law. Who better to know exactly what you need in a relationship? If you don’t happen to have a former mother-in-law handy, just do the best you can.

Back to our text. Naomi is looking out for Ruth’s best, and that means trying to find a suitable husband for her – Boaz.

Let’s see what Naomi has in mind as I read Ruth 3:3-5.

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J. Felton Stewart

commented on Feb 12, 2011

Very good.

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