Summary: See Ruth 3 through the eyes of 4 people: Naomi, Ruth, Boaz, and Jesus Christ (Key thoughts from Sermon Central's Jim Erwin at: http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/true-love-jim-erwin-sermon-on-christmas-advent-115564.asp)
Mawwiage. Mawwiage is what bwings us togethew today. Mawwiage, that bwessed awwangement, that dweam within a dweam. And wove, twue wove, wiww fowwow you fowevah and evah… So tweasuwe youw wove
In the Princess Bride, Westley is driven by one goal- to return to the love of his life, Buttercup. Westley does whatever it takes for his one “true love.” He scales mountains, fights giants, goes through extreme torture, and even dies- or at least he becomes half dead. In all honesty this is the Hollywood kind of love but this love is what we would all like to have.
In our Scripture today we have a real love story. Not about young love, the Romeo and Juliet kind of love, but we do find a man and a woman coming together for mwwiage.
Here we find true love between a man and a woman. True, real love is what they need.
Thesis: Eyes of 4 people: Naomi, Ruth, Boaz, and Jesus Christ
Last time we saw Naomi she wanted people to call her Mara, not pleasant (Naomi) but Mara (bitter). Several weeks, maybe months have gone by since Naomi came to town and told her sad story. Ruth and Naomi have settled into the ole home place. Ruth goes out to the field to glean (Ruth 2 last Sunday night) everyday while Naomi is at home keeping house and having kinfolk come by to help and visit. Even though Naomi has told Ruth that the chances of finding love and a husband in Israel are slim, things have changed. I am sure that Naomi has told many about Ruth’s confession of faith in chapter 1. Even though she is a Moabite, Ruth feared the God of Israel and has come under God’s wings (Ruth 2:12). Much talk among the younger men (vs. 10) of making Ruth their wife. However, Ruth is loyal to Naomi and to Naomi’s family and she will not think of leaving Naomi because of her promise.
Ruth keeps coming back to Naomi and talking about Boaz. Can speculate that Naomi has asked Ruth’s feelings for Boaz as Ruth blushes.
Naomi also knows that the time of harvest will soon be over. Ruth has brought back enough food for quite a while but Naomi knows that they need more than handouts. They need someone to provide for them. Naomi’s time for having children is gone, but Ruth is a different story. Important to have an heir and it must come through Ruth but not just through any man, it must be from a relative and from a man who is willing to have a child be called by Mahlon’s name.
Naomi assumes that Boaz is their nearest relation. Naomi knows that Ruth and Boaz are sweet on each other but what are Boaz’s intentions? Boaz is no young man. Would he be willing to inconvenience himself and take on a needy wife and mother in law?
Naomi and Ruth could force the issue. Deuteronomy 25:5-10, NIV.
To do this and Boaz declined the offer would be humiliating to everyone. Create many hard feelings. Naomi thinks, “How can I force this without causing a public scene?”
One day Ruth tells Naomi that Boaz and his workers are going to spend all night threshing their barley. Been such a good harvest they will have to work long into the night. After this, Boaz and a few of the men would have to guard the grain until morning when they could put some away for the winter and sell the rest. Considering this, Naomi came up with a plan... Vs. 1- 4
Vs 5- Ruth did say this but there has to be more to this talk. Ruth is a foreigner and unfamiliar with the customs and traditions of Israel. She would have been resistant to do anything like this. Even today for a woman to pop the question of marriage to a man is unwise. Human nature has not changed and even today, with all our talk of gender equality, the man is to pursue the woman and that is how it is done. Even if Ruth leaves her concerns unspoken, we find that Ruth obeys. Ruth is willing to humiliate herself for Naomi and the family. Naomi instructs Ruth on the proper way to do this.
Vs. 6-9- Harvest time was a cause of celebration and this was a good harvest. Boaz is not drunk, just in good spirits. Harvest time was also a time of hard, long work. Boaz and anyone on that threshing floor would have slept hard. As the text says, Ruth uncovers Boaz’s feet making them exposed to the cool air. Eventually Boaz wakes up and Ruth is there. The night causes Boaz to ask, “Who are you?” Ruth’s plea in vs. 9 goes back to what Boaz said to Ruth in Ruth 2:10- May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge. Ruth has placed herself under the God of Israel’s protection, but she also wants to be placed under Boaz’s protection. Naomi probably told her to say this but it is a tender picture of how a husband is to treat a wife. Many times in a wedding ceremony the man is asked, “Do you promise to comfort her and protect her?”