Every romance hero must be a man with a level of integrity higher than the average guy. He must be willing and able to resist the temptation to be an ordinary man.
He must be strong enough to guide the woman down a path of purity and uprightness, always protecting her good name no matter the circumstances. If he does not maintain his integrity, he forfeits his hero status and the romance is ruined.
Jesus Our hero, Jesus, is a man who is the standard of integrity. His selfless sacrifice, death on the cross, stands as the standard for the measurement of true love for another. The question is: Will we accept His invitation into the romance?
This week Pastor Miles again leads us into a stirring look at the book of Ruth, a story of not just romance but integrity and honor.
Recap of Ruth 1-2
Now to back track a little the eighth book of the bible is a short story about Ruth who in the first chapter we find her returning to the city of Bethlehem with her mother in law Naomi; both of whom are now widowed.
In the second chapter of Ruth we see that Ruth has found favor with a man named Boaz who has heard of her returning with Naomi but more importantly that she is a woman of integrity (for those of you who missed it we learned as men how to have a woman bow to our feet. Don't be upset; it isn't what you think. But if you haven't yet, make sure to listen or watch last week's message).
And now Pastor Miles leads us into the third chapter where we find Naomi instructing Ruth on what to do to win Boaz as her husband.
Ruth and Boaz
Now Boaz has been in the field taking care of the wheat and is going to sleep in the field to protect it. Naomi instructs Ruth to go to him in the night when he is asleep, uncover his feet, and then sleep at his feet. So Ruth does as she's commanded. Ruth 3:1-8
Boaz woke up in the middle of the night to find Ruth at his feet. And he said "Who are you?" So she answered, "I am Ruth, your maidservant. Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative." Rush 3:9.
Let's jump back to Genesis. In the beginning we know that Eve was created from Adam's rib on his left side, a very vulnerable spot for a man. If a man takes a wife like Adam did and puts her under his wing so to speak he is saying that he will care for her, love her and protect her.
So Ruth is asking Boaz to take her as his wife. And when she says close relative she is referring to the fact that Boaz is Jew like her. This is a typical custom at the time to ask to be wed.
Now Boaz blesses Ruth and then says in Ruth 3:11-12, And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman. Now it is true that I am a close relative; however, there is a relative closer than I.
Boaz repaid Ruth's integrity. She was following the rules and didn't try to seduce him showing her moral character and for such Boaz blessed her. And in doing so Boaz honored God's Romance process. Then he said he would marry her but there was someone else that was allowed to court her first if that man wanted to. Boaz had complete respect for God's rules regarding marriage. Do we?
In Ruth 3:14, Boaz instructs Ruth to sleep for now but to rise early in the morning before anyone else can see her and leave so nobody would see her. In this Boaz was protecting Ruth's Godly reputation.
The Definition of Love
Pastor Miles brought up a strong point regarding what we do in our lives today and how we handle ourselves and our reputations. God wants to free us from the devil's bondage, but Satan perverts things so they don't seem as bad.
Does a couple live together though they aren't married? Do they participate in sexual relations before getting married? Is he ruining her reputation? Is she ruining her own reputation? Now the definition of lust is to please oneself at the expense of others. But love is the opposite; to please another at one's own expense.
Isn't that what Jesus did for us? By dying on the cross he showed his love towards us and has commanded us to do likewise. Matthew 5:27-30 addresses lust. Matthew 22:37-40 commands us to love God and others. And 1 John 5:3 reminds us to keep his commandments.
Boaz did this. He protected Ruth and wanted to make sure he did things right with her. Boaz made a man of God commitment.
There are limits placed on what we should do, especially in dating if we like it or not, if we understand it or not. But these limits are placed on us for our protection because there are consequences for our actions whether made in lust or love. Love's consequences are wonderful; the consequences of lust can be devistating.