by Sim Kay Tee

Day 16

Read Ruth 3:10-13

In Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, the young lovers lament about how true love will always face great obstacles, especially when those involved come from very different ethnic, cultural, and social backgrounds. The love of Ruth and Boaz is all these and more.

God's will must be done in God's way

If Boaz was willing to marry Ruth (Ruth 3:11), why didn't he propose to Ruth in the first place? Perhaps, as some scholars suggest, Boaz, an older man from the same generation as Naomi (2:1), did not think that the much-younger Ruth would want to marry him. Perhaps he expected Ruth to marry one of the younger bachelors in Bethlehem (3:10). He may have concluded that he was out of the running. But he was mistaken.

There is a second obstacle, a more problematic legal impediment. The prevailing custom on levirate marriage gives the nearest relative the first right to marry Ruth (Deuteronomy 25:5-10). Boaz is only second in line (Ruth 3:12-13). There is a nearer relative in town, one with a stronger claim on Ruth and the property. As a man of integrity, Boaz has been waiting for him to act. Boaz will not violate the Mosaic law by jumping the gun. This obedience to God's law reflects his submission to God. We see here another reason why Boaz is ″a man of standing″ (2:1).But since Ruth has forced the issue, Boaz will now approach this nearer relative and get him to decide quickly. Boaz is a man of grace. He is willing to be the kinsman-redeemer even though he is not legally obligated to do so (3:13).

In handling their relationship the proper way, Boaz and Ruth may end up losing it all: if the nearest relative exercises his right and marries Ruth, she and Boaz cannot be together. Perhaps seduction would have been quicker and more effective!

There is a lesson to be learned from this. God's will must be done in God's way. And God's way will keep us in God's will. God's way is that of obedience to His Word; it is dangerous and deadly to take shortcuts. But obedience to God can often be costly. Part of being wise and making moral decisions is learning to move responsibly, not recklessly. There is a real temptation for us to take the fastest and easiest option, even if it means breaking God's laws.

Think through:

Do you agree that ″God's will must be done in God's way″? Why or why not? How can we know God's will and ways?

In what way can our pragmatism affect our obedience to God's Word?




About Author

Sim Kay Tee is a Bible teacher and writer of Our Daily Bread Ministries. Based in Singapore, K.T. writes for the Discovery Series Bible Study guides, the Journey Through Series devotional, and is a regular contributor to the Insights for Our Daily Bread. K.T. has taught the Bible in various countries. He has three daughters and one granddaughter.

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Our Daily Bread Journey Through® Series is a publication of Our Daily Bread Ministries.

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