RUTH: WEEK TWENTY-THREE
The Wedding (Part Three)
(Click here to listen to the fifth Ruth teaching)
Verse of the Week
“AND THOUGH YOU HAVE NOT SEEN HIM, YOU LOVE HIM, AND THOUGH YOU DO NOT SEE HIM NOW, BUT BELIEVE IN HIM, YOU GREATLY REJOICE WITH JOY INEXPRESSIBLE AND FULL OF GLORY.” 1 Peter 1v8 NASB
More Words from the Father
From my Heart
Falling in Love
I’m falling in love with Boaz.
From the first time I heard his voice resounding off the written page, the man caught my attention. He sounds big, strong, and safe. He sounds warm, ready to break out in unbidden laughter with the least provocation. I can just hear his great chuckle of pure joy as he gathers his dusty workers ‘round his table for lunch.
Boaz invites. He invites his people to a meal. He invites his foreman to an opinion. He invites a stranger into his inner circle.
And Boaz welcomes.
He welcomes gleaners to his fields. He welcomes two hungry women to leftovers. He welcomes his workers into relationship.
Boaz is a leader.
He leads his work crew to give honor to God out loud. He leads his close relative to an opportunity to help someone in need. He leads ten men to step up to the plate and get involved.
Boaz is successful.
He is a hands-on kind of boss. He is a man whose wealth comes as a result of pouring himself into his career with passion and resolve, a man who loves what he does.
Boaz is bold.
He spots Ruth and right away lets everyone know how much he admires her. When confronted with a problem, he faces it. He’s not afraid to get right in the middle of a mess and fix it.
Boaz is fun.
The moment he rides into the story, people begin to gather for celebration. Lunch in the middle of a workday becomes a picnic. The backbreaking job at the threshing floor becomes a party. His wedding involves the whole town.
He protects Ruth from abuse. He protects the young guys who might instinctively gravitate towards this young Moabitess, warning them to leave her alone before they mess up! Then He protects Ruth’s reputation in the middle of the night by urging discretion.
The guy is amazing! Captivating. Strong. Compelling. He is godly and playful, considerate and kind. The man is driven with purpose to excel, but also to do right by people in the process. Somehow he balances relationships with responsibility in perfect harmony so that everyone seems to genuinely want to be on his team. They like him.
Do you see why I am falling head over heels in love? What woman wouldn’t?
This man, my dear friend, is the One you’ve been waiting for your entire life. He is Jesus, the lover of your soul, the only One who will never leave you nor forsake you. Not that guy who misused you or the boyfriend who dumped you. You had the wrong one all along.
Boaz is the One you were longing for.
All the others are cheap substitutes.
Boaz is the real deal.
Are you with me? Do you see what I see? Is your heart aware of what’s going on here? Is the hope you thought you’d lost awakening yet? Are you falling in love?
I hope so, I really do.
From my heart,
“…May the Lord make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, both of whom built the house of Israel…” Ruth 4v11
What was it about Rachel and Leah? To have Boaz’s friends offer such a prayer - such a desire for his new marriage? After all, the story of these two women dated back 600 years before Ruth was born! The answer lies in the stark reality of childbearing - nothing short of a small feat before the breakthroughs in safe medical practices we enjoy today.
About the time that Boaz and Ruth were starting a family, the infant mortality rate stood at 35%. That meant that if Ruth were able to conceive and carry her pregnancy to completion, her baby had less than a three in ten chance of surviving until the age of five. The overwhelming odds against a child growing to adulthood and even old age were staggering. Rachel and Leah bore and raised 12 sons to adulthood - an obvious percentage breaker in those times.
Thus, the blessing their friends wished on Boaz and Ruth came from hearts that understood the tragedy of the death of a child in a way we can barely grasp. They wanted Boaz and Ruth to grow old together, surrounded by children and grandchildren to validate their lives.
And who wouldn’t want that for these two beautiful people?
How to Pray for our Friends
The Tripartite Blessing
“God bless you.” It’s a phrase we often toss out with meaningless ease. What we really mean is that we hope everything in their life follows a safe, predictable, hunky-dory path. But the friends and family who surrounded Boaz and Ruth at their wedding ceremony sang a chorus of blessing on the couple that went much deeper. The ink was barely dry on the wedding certificate when this community of friends issued their three-fold blessing. Called a tripartite blessing by theologians, their spiritual wish list reached far beyond our light benevolence.
First, the blessing involved their family heritage. The ancient understanding of family is all but lost in our culture. The Israelites put enormous emphasis on evangelizing and training their children to walk in the ways of the Lord. Their communities joined them in adding their social pressures to assure that very few children drifted from the path their parents had paved for them.
Second, the blessing focused on recognition and respect in the community. Since Boaz was already considered a man of strength and influence, this was given in the hope that he would continue to grow in wisdom and stature and financial wealth.
Third, the blessing looks to genealogy. Echoing the second blessing, this last aspect of the tripartite blessing is on Boaz’s recognition and respect throughout history. They could have had no idea how prophetic this statement would turn out to be! Boaz became the great-grandfather of Israel’s most beloved king. His name is listed not only on David’s family tree, but also on Jesus’ genealogy. Boaz and Ruth both went down in history with their compelling love story preserved right in the middle of God’s ageless Scriptures.