The Danger of The Ruth & Boaz Narrative In Defining Christian Relationships.

#TalkingThursday – If you don’t talk about Jesus who will?

Today’s post will do exactly what the topic says so without further so, let’s jump in! This #talkingthursday blog post is born out of a recent conversation I had on twitter. It all started with this:

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Now, of course, there’s much to learn from Ruth’s exemplary loyalty to Naomi, Naomi’s advice to Ruth in approaching Boaz and Boaz’s behaviour at the threshing field but ultimately that’s where it ends.

1. Ruth’s exemplary commitment to Naomi is a valuable lesson on the importance of loyalty in friendships.

2. Naomi’s advice to Ruth in approaching Boaz demonstrates the importance and usefulness of older women in training up and mentoring younger women.

3. Boaz’s behaviour at the threshing field is an important lesson on how godly men ought to protect women rather than take advantage of them.

However, Ruth’s actions are NOT a precedent for us today. Her circumstances were unique in a way that few can completely relate to in this day and age. Further, the intent behind her actions towards Boaz at the field that night was not to “seduce” him but to ask a righteous question in faith: please fulfil your obligations to me and let me know what’s next. This was a lawful question because He was her guardian-redeemer. You can read more about that HERE.

Romanticising the context of this story any further creates a dangerously singular narrative that paints women as helpless creatures that need rescuing by men. Women have already been redeemed by their ultimate guardian, our Lord Jesus.

It does not seem biblical at all for a woman to approach a man to initiate the marital relationship. What women can do is ask their male friends who they are becoming close with to define their relationships in order to create safe boundaries and make sure they are protecting their purity and guarding their hearts.

If you’re getting what you feel is special treatment from a guy, instead of going out on a limb and assuming he likes you only to find out later that he has no romantic interests towards you, it is better at the start to clarify his intentions by asking him if his actions mean anything more than mere politeness.

Obviously, this can be discerned from the way he treats other girls (if he treats them the same as you, then it’s likely he just has a friendly and polite nature), but if you still feel the need to verbally confirm your suspicions, you would not be wrong in doing approaching him and asking the question, even if this might make things awkward between you two.

However, always be prepared for rejection.

If you find out he was just being polite and then feel hurt that his actions towards you are not romantic, then you were already being vulnerable emotionally with a man you are not married to and you have just saved yourself from future hurt. If he changes his mind in the future, he can come to you and openly declare his intentions.

On the other hand, if indeed his actions are romantic, then you two can proceed from there. If they are not romantic but his actions continue, and you feel uncomfortable about them, you would not be wrong in saying – please watch your actions around me because I feel they are more than polite in my opinion and I’m starting to develop feelings or feel attached to you in an ungodly way.

Better still, you can avoid this fellow altogether. This goes for guys too! It may make things awkward but guarding your heart is much more important. Just ensure you do it in a way that is nor slanderous, rude or unloving.

Preaching a message encouraging women to be like Ruth and approach Boaz with their vulnerabilities is extremely dangerous. It is leading them on a path of temptation that will lead to heartbreak.

There are many situations in the church where women, motivated by their misunderstanding of Ruth’s actions, approach a young brother in church who they have been eyeing and try to manipulate him through their actions.

They start to openly take care of him, to the extent where all of the church just assumes that they have something going on or are aware of her one-sided feelings for him. She is responsible for his meals, she knows his whereabouts all the time and she basically becomes the encyclopaedia for all things relating to this guy.

This is a dangerous move.

Women offering themselves to men with no commitment means they get all the benefits without any responsibility (even if no sexual immorality is involved, emotional attachments and soul-ties are enough to cause lasting damage).

This does not protect the woman at all, as she becomes emotionally (and physically in cases where sex is involved) vulnerable with nobody to be responsible for her. The only reason Ruth was able to go to Boaz in that way was because he was already responsible for her according to the law for he was her guardian-redeemer.

Responsibility must come before vulnerability.

When a woman acts like a wife to a man she is not yet married to, she takes away his desire to actually find a wife, since there’s already a woman catering to the needs in his life that a wife is designed to fulfil. Again it doesn’t matter if it is not sexual, this is still a bad thing because remember “he who FINDS a wife, finds a good thing”.

A wife is something a man must find, a sort of mission he must successfully overcome and when we women interfere with this process we are tampering with God’s divine order found in I Corinthians 11:3:

But I want you to understand this: The head of every man is Christ, the head of a woman is the man [or her husband], and the head of Christ is God.

This is demonstrated and lived out in the bible through three primary examples: Christ and the Church, Adam and Eve, Isaac and Rebekah – these examples reveal to us that when it comes to marriage God, through the Holy Spirit selects a worthy bride and brings her to His son.

Adam & Eve

A study of this couple reveals the pretext of marriage i.e. what a man and woman go through (tests, trials etc.) which prepares them and makes them ready to enter into a marital union.

From Adam, we see that God places him in the garden of Eden to care and look after it (Genesis 2:15). This is a remark that a man must have something doing, a work which he occupies himself with until His bride is found.

In Genesis 2:18, God remarks “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is right [i.e. suitable for; corresponds with] for him.”

Once a man is serving faithfully in the position he hs been placed, God will determine (at the appropriate time) when it is no longer good for a man to be alone, and He will make for him a suitable helper!

It is not for us to determine when it is no longer good for us to be alone, that is for God and God alone to determine.

In Genesis 2:21-22, God causes Adam to fall into a deep sleep (a state of rest), makes from his side a suitable mate and (this is the key part) then he brought the woman to the man.

First off, God cannot create a wife for a man who is not at rest. To be biblically at rest is to be under the grace of God. A man who is constantly worrying and chasing after the things of this world (a.k.a hustling) is not under God’s grace, therefore he is not at rest and is not in any state for God to create a suitable helper for Him.

If God creates a helper for a man who is not at rest, the helper will also not be at rest because the man who she was created out of was not at rest when she was being made!

More importantly, God brought Eve to Adam. He did not make Adam go on a hide and seek hunting game or mission. He by his own hands brought Eve to Adam. Men, take note: the woman you will find, it is God who actually finds and brings her to you.

In the end, Adam remarks that Eve is “someone whose bones came from my bones”, “whose body came from my body” (Genesis 2:23). That is the level of perfection to which she was suitable for Him because God made her so perfect for Adam! Perfect even at the skeletal level (i.e. most basic, down to the very core). How amazing!

Men, you must first be at rest. Wait till you awaken and find your Eve before you. She is not lost, you only have to wait for God to bring her to you. Similarly, ladies wait for God to fully make you and by His own hands take you to your husband.

After they were brought to one another by God, Adam gives his wife a name, they became one flesh and were naked with no shame (Genesis 2:23b-25). The lesson from this is clear: commitment must come before intimacy. 

Isaac & Rebekah

A study of this couple details the specific process/steps leading up to marriage and the divine order which a marriage should follow. There should be prayer, discernment and familial involvement in choosing a spouse. An in-depth discussion of this has already been carried out here and the overwhelming conclusion is this same mantra: The Father sends out the Holy Spirit to look for a worthy bride for His son. Where this process is followed, a man and woman who are right for each other will surely meet.

Christ & The Church

Using Christ and the Church as a template for marriage is the ultimate goal to which every Christian marriage should ascribe and this is easily reflected in Adam & Eve, Isaac & Rebecca and Ruth & Boaz in different ways. Most importantly, Christ and the Church deeply embodies the central teaching on marriage in Ephesians 5:21–33, which is simply summed up as:

Wives submit to your husbands as you do to the Lord; Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her.

Click here to read more on submission.

Conclusion

Scripture does not speak much of the interaction between Ruth & Boaz AFTER their marriage. Further, the process spoken of between Ruth and Boaz prior to their marriage does not immediately apply to the present day Christian single who seeking a spouse.

As such, it is unwise and frankly dangerous to use Boaz and Ruth as the staple for talks or discussions on relationships/marriage issues. Focusing on Ruth and Boaz distracts Christian singles from the larger and more eternal picture of marriage found within other biblical couples.

We ought to look to Adam and Eve for what to do before marriage, Isaac and Rebekah on what to do once we start the path to marriage and finding a marriage partner and Christ and His Bride on how to live out our roles once we enter into a marital union.

Yes, Christ and the Church is a high standard to call any couple to and that can be a bit daunting at times, but in the end, it’s better to keep pressing on to the goal of perfection, than settling for comfortable and incomplete ideas of love/marriage.

Hope this blessed you in one way or another,

~ GRACE & PEACE ~

 

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2 thoughts on “The Danger of The Ruth & Boaz Narrative In Defining Christian Relationships.

  1. Pingback: The Book of Ruth: An Exposé. | The Gossip 4 Jesus Initiative

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