A few weeks ago, I finished studying the Old Testament book of Ruth with She Reads Truth. (This link will take you to the first day of the study if you are interested.)
I have some thoughts swirling in my head and I need to get them down on paper so I can move on.
Anyone else know what I mean? Sometimes I just don't know what I think about something until I get it down on paper.
If you aren't familiar with the story or aren't a Bible reader, I invite you to go to this link and read this short book in The Message. It's a great love story that lends itself to much reading between the lines. I have to admit that I'm a little annoyed that more details weren't included in the story. I want to know....
Who had the idea in the first place to take this nice hungry Jewish family to Moab? I thought the Israelites were warned against association with such people. Was it Naomi's idea or her husbands? What was the reaction when their two sons married Moabites....a big no-no? I can imagine major parental heartbreak over this turn of events. And maybe some finger-pointing of blame. "Why did we come here?" How did the husband and two boys die? Were the boys married very long? If so, how unusual that neither had any children. After all, there was no birth control pill back then. What kind of relationship did Orpah and Ruth, the daughters-in-law, have with their own parents? Surely, Ruth's wasn't all that great if she said to her mother-in-law, "Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me." Sometimes we hear that verse quoted in a wedding ceremony and they are lovely words, for sure. But Ruth didn't say them to her husband. She said them to her MOTHER- IN- LAW. Huh? Most girls wouldn't choose their mother-in-law over their own mother. There is a huge backstory here, and I want to know it. I have questions, people.
Some think that Naomi had such a strong faith in God that her daughters-in-law were drawn to her because of that faith. I'm not seeing that. For Pete's sake, Naomi urged the girls to stay in Moab with their own people and their own gods. If she had such strong faith, how could she encourage the girls to worship gods that weren't God at all?
But, Ruth persisted and traipsed behind Naomi all the way back to Bethlehem where I'm sure they endured being the object of much gossiping and curious glances and lifted eyebrows.
And that's when things really begin to get interesting. In those days, women were considered second class citizens and NEEDED a man in order to survive. The girls were probably hungry and things had to change.
I don't know if Naomi consciously began to develop a scheme for getting Ruth a man, or if it just happened innocently, but before we know it, Ruth is lying at the feet of Boaz at the threshing floor.
I've only watched an occasional episode of The Bachelorette, but this sure seems like a hot tub scene to me!
I just have to ask. Was Ruth the original bachelorette?
Thankfully for all of us, the story truly had a happily ever after ending. Boaz had already noticed Ruth (wink, wink) and taken steps to care for her and Naomi, who had a family connection to him.
Boaz was a kind and honorable and wealthy manly man. So even after a big meal celebrating the end of harvest with the other men of the town that probably included an alcoholic beverage or two, he didn't take advantage of Ruth when he found her lying near him.
Instead, it was obvious that he truly cared for her! When she boldly asked him to claim his right to marry her (I know. So many unusual-to-us customs.) Boaz was all fluttery and flattered, complementing her and telling her she could have had her pick of the younger men. The Message paraphrase says he called her "A Real Prize". After paying attention to a few details of the day, they marry.
Sooooo sweet. I love a good love story but this one continues to go on and on and on.
If you look at the linage of Christ, Ruth is right there. Boaz and Ruth have a son who has a son who has a son who has a son.....who has a son named David, who became King of Israel. And it continues all the way to Mary and Joseph and Christ.
Boaz saved Ruth and Naomi by his mercy and love. And Jesus saves you and me the same way.
I just love this about God. He takes our cockamamie ideas and mistakes and boo boo's and works them out for our good.
I don't know how many of the relationships from The Bachelorette actually end in long-term marriages, but the marriage of the original bachelorette lasted.
Ruth got a husband. Naomi got a grandson. We got a Savior.
And I am so glad. Aren't you?
P.S. In case you haven't noticed, I am no theologian. If you have some light to shed on this story or just a comment or observation, please share them with us!