In Ruth 2, Ruth spends a day of hard labor gleaning in the field of Boaz to provide for her and Naomi. Charles Spurgeon once preached a whole sermon on Ruth 2:15 and the importance of spiritual gleaning. What we’ve been doing over the course of 3 blogposts now is gleaning from God’s Word. We’ve sought to dig into a text and learn some principles for marriage. (See Part 1 and Part 2)
No, Ruth is not a marriage handbook. And no, the primary focus of the text is not marriage principles. In fact, if one preached on these principles from the text apart from the main point of the text, he would be doing Scripture injustice. But, with that being said, there still are some things we can learn about marriage from this passage of Scripture, and that’s what we’ve sought to do in these posts.
We aren’t discussing everything the Bible has to say about marriage, just 8 principles that we see in Ruth 3:10-18. Today we conclude with points 6-8.
6. Marriage Means more Family
When Boaz gave Ruth six measure of Barley, it wasn’t just for her, but also her mother-in-law (v.17). It certainly is a unique situation to be marrying someone who already has a mother-in-law! But I think we are reminded here that when you marry someone, you also get his or her family.
True, in-laws are not part of the “marriage” in the sense that they still hold priority. No, the priority for the husband is now his wife and the wife’s priority is now her husband. No one else has the right or claim to that relationship.
But the fact remains, that when you marry someone, you are uniting two families. I don’t think that in-laws are necessarily a reason not to get married, but there can be cases where in-laws can make a marriage much more difficult. So, it’s important knowing this going into a marriage that when you tie the knot with your future spouse, you also, for better or for worse, gain the family.
7. Marriage is Good
In the book of Ruth Naomi seeks rest for her daughter-in-law. We see her seek it wrongly in the land of Moab (1:8-9), but then rightly in the person of Boaz (3:1). But at the end of chapter 3, we see that Naomi says Boaz will not rest until he settles the matter for him and Ruth.
This brings my mind back to Genesis 2:18 “Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” Boaz is restless as he seeks to rectify the situation so he and Ruth can marry. It is not good for man to be alone. Marriage is a good thing.
I don’t mean to downplay the importance of the gift of singleness that God bestows. But I do mean to say that we should uphold marriage as a gloriously good thing that God has given to man and woman. It’s not tying on the “ole ball and chain” (see more here). It’s not “losing your freedom.” It is a good thing. It is a beautiful thing. It is a Christ-exalting and God-glorifying institution. We must treat it as such. And there is no shame in desiring it!
8. Sometimes we must wait on the Lord
Naomi’s advice to Ruth in 3:18 is wait. In context, this won’t be a long wait, but it’s still a wait nonetheless. Ruth must cast her anxieties on the Lord and trust Him to work the situation out. She’s done all she can do. Now she must wait.
There are times when men and women are of marrying age, want to be married, but have not found a suitable spouse. Take your cares to the Lord. Look to Him. Trust Him. Marriage is a good thing but it is not life’s grand purpose. The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Marriage cannot bring fulfillment to our souls, only Christ can. Rest in Him.
As you wait on the Lord, you must continue to seek Him, trust Him, and live for Him. One of the best ways we can prepare ourselves for marriage is to cultivate holiness in our lives. Keep growing in the Lord. Keep praying. Keep reading Scripture. Keep gathering with your local church.
Don’t think that waiting means passivity either. It’s ok to keep your eyes open, to be on the lookout so to speak, to pursue. Waiting doesn’t mean you should expect the Lord to drop prince (or princess) charming on your doorstep! Have close Christian friends of the same gender who can keep you accountable, encourage you, pray for you, and perhaps even help you find that future spouse.
Well, it’s taken 3 posts, but we’ve made it through these 8 principles of marriage from Ruth 3:10-18. I hope that these will help you see marriage as the treasure that it is and will cause you to fight not only for your own marriage but also the institution in general, in the midst of a culture that continually degrades and downplays God’s design for marriage.
If you’d like to listen to our sermon series through the book of Ruth, click the photo below: