Snapshots: Day 165
The Snapshot: “don’t let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. (Ruth 3:3) We have already suggested we are about to watch a culturally gentle, gracious and courteous approach to courtship, words that are alien in today’s culture, an approach that does not rush. Now we see Naomi’s wisdom that understands what will happen. Boaz and his men will have spent the evening threshing the wheat, then they will have eaten and drunk and, now tired and fulfilled, they turn in. Sleep is necessary. An earlier approach would have interrupted the work, imposed on the meal and meant any response of Boaz would have been forced and before his men. Don’t embarrass him. Approach him in a way he can act – either way – without awkwardness. Do we have such wisdom?
Further Consideration: Jesus instructed his disciples, “Here I am sending you out like sheep with wolves all round you; so be as wise as serpents and yet as harmless as doves.” (Mt 10:16 JBP) Much of the time Jesus decried the ‘wisdom of the world’ but recognised that there would be times – and it was usually when opposition came – that disciples in hostile environments would need to exercise wisdom on one hand and gentle grace on the other.
Ruth wasn’t in such a hostile environment, although it could have turned so if she was spotted by others, derided and even scandalized by them. Thus she still needed the wisdom provided by Naomi and then the grace to put it into operation in such a way that neither her reputation nor that of Boaz was tarnished so that, as we said previously, she wasn’t seen to be throwing herself at Boaz.
There is a fine line, isn’t there, in such times, between appearing brazenly and shamelessly upfront (although even such wording seems alien today) and being seen to be too reticent. The opposites of being a ‘slut’ on one hand or a ‘mouse’ on the other makes reaching out for a relationship one of the most difficult paths to navigate in modern life.
Two American TV series – Friends & Big Bang Theory – show the almost bizarre happenings with many modern couples, leaping into bed with each other at the opportune outset, and yet not daring to utter the words, “I love you,” on the other for fear of commitment. For many today ‘sex’ doesn’t speak of commitment, just of an uncomplicated physical experience – except so often it is not uncomplicated, and it rarely speaks of love. And that is at the heart of the angst of so many young people, that they know these things but don’t know how to find real love, which is something that grows out of friendship, commitment, caring. Hasty relationships do not allow for these things to grow. What a mess!