Snapshots: Day 168
The Snapshot: “Wait, my daughter, until you find out what happens.” (Ruth 3:18a) Ruth has played her part and Boaz has responded righteously. He will offer to ‘redeem’ her but there is another closer relative with a prior claim that he must give way to. He must check it out. She must wait. To our eyes it is horrible that she can appear as a chattel to be bounced back and forth between two men, but actually it is far more gracious that that. Read ch.3 and see the gentle way Boaz responds to Ruth and cares for her and provides for here, yet he will abide by the Law and she will have to await the outcome. In a day of haste to provide physical gratification, this seems so alien, so slow – so godly, so good. It puts love on a completely new, righteous footing. How our world needs to learn God’s ways.
Further Consideration: Patience in respect of modern relationships is a strange thing. I confess my knowledge of the goings on of young people and their relationship building is confined to TV, books, surveys, and broadsheet newspaper reporting and comment. From this perspective patience is not a characteristic of modern relationships it seems, as it once was.
Having said that, I believe it is true to say, according to all the surveys carried out, that for a stable, loving and committed relationship, much more patience is required. Commitment – which isn’t necessarily the same as actually getting married – is something that takes a much longer time to develop, and from divorce figures it might be suggested that for very many, NEVER happens. Commitment means you will never even consider the question of divorce. If you can’t reach that position – and I believe you can only with God’s grace – then it is little wonder that so many marriages break up and that fact makes it even harder for couples coming together to believe they have security. From the almost tedious pace of relationship development portrayed by someone like Georgette Heyer in her Regency romances, to the rush into bed of modern day common experience seems a long journey. Here’s the bizarre thing: Ruth’s journey was really only a matter of days or at the most perhaps a couple of weeks – and did not entail her jumping into bed with Boaz. From her first contact, to her marrying him, appears a short time and yet along the way both she and he have conveyed characteristics that win the other to them. However for the moment, at the particular place we’ve arrived at, patience is required. As we said in the Snapshot, Ruth has played her part and now has to wait. She can rest in Naomi’s assessment, “For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today.” (v.18b). Naomi is trusting in her culture and in Boaz’s reputation and so there is more hope that this will conclude well.