Friday, April 08, 2011

Convo with Pastor - Ruth 3:4

Naomi said to Ruth
Be sure to notice where [Boaz] lies down;
then go and uncover his feet and lie down there.
He will tell you what to do.
Ruth 3:4
It's all too easy to misread a foreign custom. For example, how many of us read about the bathed and perfumed Ruth, lying down with Boaz, and assumed something seductive?!
However, servants lying at the feet of a master was actually rather common. They shared scarce resources (blankets) and kept the masters feet warm at the same time.
When Ruth -- a poor, widowed, family member (by marriage), rather than a true servant --laid at Boaz's feet, she was saying, "I'm placing myself in your care." The perfume signaled that she was open to a marriage proposal -- though not necessarily from Boaz himself. 
The prescribed custom in Israel was for family to marry their brother's widow to keep the property and the offspring in the family. Therefore, a perfumed Ruth lying at her kinsman's feet was signaling to Boaz that 1) she was ready to be remarried, 2) was placing herself in his care for finding her a family husband.
It wasn't seductice. It was communicative. 
But it turned romantic!
But not until Boaz was first noble and honorable. He appreciated Ruth's loyalty to her in-law family. But he also appreciated the law. Therefore he first offered her, as was the custom, to another in-law who was first in line to inherit the land of Ruth's deceased husband (a big bonus) but also a wife (something he didn't want). Thus, when the other guy turned down the "proposal," an opportunity unfolded for Boaz and Ruth to be together.
They did things the right way -- each honoring God, family, law, and custom. And all were blessed -- including you and me -- because their eventual romance produced the line that brought us King David and Jesus Christ!
In Christ's Love,
a guy who likes
romantic comedies
What a wonderful story! But see what happens when things are done in the proper order ... honor God first by staying with her mother-in-law, honor family by seeking protection and assistance from one capable of helping, honor law and custom through the proper means to do so.

How much smoother would our lives go if we honored God, family, law and custom instead of trying to do it the way we think is best?

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Speak gently. carefully. thoughtfully. graciously. humbly.

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