Romancing with Wisdom & Purpose -
So what do you do..
If you have someone in mind that you like and yet the both of you are not ready to proceed to the next level? This was the burning question in me while we were discussing about Relationships during the last Women’s Meeting. We have alot of guidelines given on what are the basic qualities to look out for in a spouse, what should you do while waiting to cross path with the ideal partner, how to get to know a person..and all these advices are given in perception that you have yet to meet/know the person.
But what should you do if you have already crossed path with this person? How do you submit this relationship to the Lord? How can the friendship be developed naturally without ‘microwaving’ it - put under pressure? What do you do if you really like the person, the person may or may not be aware, but you hope that this will be person you can enter into a courtship with :) What do you do between the transition of a friendship into a courtship? How do you apply the favor of God in your relationships?
I’ve been pondering about it this morning… We need favor in our relationships for the Lord to bring us to the right place, right time, right person and the right words to be communciated to establish a deeper connection. Favor from the Lord to protect and maintain the relationship. Favor that guards all of us like a shield, spirit and soul, shield of faith & favor. Faith in His favor towards us, faith in His grace to prosper our hearts’ desires. Favor is the word that stood out from Pastor Gabriel’s prayer when he prayed for my relationships, as a prayer request during my baptism, before I was submereged under the water. Favor indeed amen :)
I decided to go back to the Word for directions and peace; fixing our eyes on our Lord Jesus especially during our waiting moments because there’s not a portion of our lives that God will not use it for His glory. Holy Spirit gave me a picture of Ruth resting at the feet of Boaz.
The book of Ruth as preached by Pastor Prince, as the Love Story of Ruth. While delving into the chapters, it does start to look more & more like a love story to me lol and applicable to this context of waiting and seeking favor for your relationships :) It must be a really special love story composed by the Author & Finisher of Love, since it’s written in the bible :)
So this virtuous woman Ruth, begun her love story, with a prophecy to find favor in this paricular man who owns the barley field. Ruth understood the importance of being a faithful companion (Ruth 1:14,16) as both of their husbands died. Ruth appreciated the favor of being to maintain a long-term faithful companionship. The name Ruth means companionship & friendship after all :)
Ruth 2:2 - So Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, “Please let me go to the field, and glean heads of grain after him in whose sight I may find favor.”
Ruth was all set to find favor in Boaz! Naomi gave her green light, “Go, my daughter!”
And check out the favor she has found:
v8-9 Then Boaz said to Ruth, “You will listen, my daughter, will you not? Do not go to glean in another field, nor go from here, but stay close by my young women. Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them. Have I not commanded the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink from what the young men have drawn.”
How amazing is that! Which is why Ruth just had to say:
v10 So she fell on her face, bowed down to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?”
So obviously, there’s a mutual attraction. Boaz love having Ruth around and Ruth is absolutely delighted that things have advanced so favourly for her. In fact, Boaz had a great headstart as he was informed about Ruth’s situation, in full, even before Ruth met him.
v11-12 And Boaz answered and said to her, “It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before. The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.
This is no coincidence, this is a beautiful God-incident a supernatural collision of favor and grace. The sweet burst of God’s grace working in their lives. It’s evident that God is the matchmaker and storywriter of our romantic relationships. His favor brings immense joy and blessings which no man effort can bring. So rely on His favor today! God has written your story and is delighted to bring it to pass because there’s just too much favor to miss :)
The favor of God has arranged for Boaz a beautiful wife like no other - someone that stands out from all the other people you have known, a relationship that will greatly contrast from your past relationships. Isn’t that such a blessing to know especially if you had been badly hurt before. God makes all things new :) Even more so in our relationships :)
v13 Then she said, “Let me find favor in your sight, my lord; for you have comforted me, and have spoken kindly to your maidservant, though I am not like one of your maidservants.”
And so in just one day - Boaz started to show even more grace and favor towards Ruth. This is unforseen as they have just met! It’s wonderous of what the favor of God can do in our lives :) Ruth’s blessings and harvest from the favor of this relationship is overflowing, overwhelming! In a relationship that’s founded by the favor of God - there’s satisfaction and security which is why we can securely enjoy one another’s companionship as the blessings of God fall purposedfully on us.
v14-16 Now Boaz said to her at mealtime, “Come here, and eat of the bread, and dip your piece of bread in the vinegar.” So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed parched grain to her; and she ate and was satisfied, and kept some back. And when she rose up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. Also let grain from the bundles fall purposely for her; leave it that she may glean, and do not rebuke her.”
Ruth came home to share her encoutner with Naomi. Naomi’s reaction is full of joy and gratitude. She was once bitter against God for the loss of her family (Ruth 1:20) but look how the goodness of God transformed her perception:
v19-20 And her mother-in-law said to her, “Where have you gleaned today? And where did you work? Blessed be the one who took notice of you.” So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked, and said, “The man’s name with whom I worked today is Boaz.” Then Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “Blessed be he of the Lord, who has not forsaken His kindness to the living and the dead!” And Naomi said to her, “This man is a relation of ours, one of our close relatives.”
This is a lovely surprise and favor to Naomi as she didn’t know that of all man in the field, it has to be Boaz, a man of wealth who is their distant relative, that Ruth had made a connection with. What a favor of God this is! Naomi affirmed Ruth that Boaz is a good man to stay with, she stayed close to Boaz (Ruth 1:23)
So coming back to the context of close friendship… the next chapter of Ruth is the practical application during our transition of a close friendship to the next level of intimacy & commitment. Ruth has the intention of bringing to the next level but perhaps Boaz has yet to make the move. Does this sound familiar? lol I’m sure there are many women who share the same sentiments of trying to initiate something yet not appearing ‘desperate’ or ‘freaky’ lol. It’s a commonly asked question of how do you express your feelings or check out the man’s feelings without scaring the man off. I believe it begins with the submission of our pride.For Ruth to sleep at the feet of Boaz, it’s an act of humility and submission. It’s not an act of weakness but meekness.The removal of our pride cancels our fear of rejection. We don’t like rejections and appreciate attention. But every relationship is a work in progress. There will be bumps along the way. We can expect conflicts and disagreements which by the way is a sign of communication, though not excessively of course. When these conflicts arise, the first thing we need to do is to put away our pride and allow God’s grace to intervent. The grace to forgive, the grace to love. Likewise the grace to advance in our relationships. Every godly relationship is established upon the foundation of His unmovable grace. Grace flows from the highest to the lowest point. Humility goes before honor. So let’s find out how Ruth made her move as she surrenders herself to the grace of God:
Noami persuaded Ruth to seek for Boaz at the threshing floor one evening..and before she was sent to meet Boaz, Naomi gave some very insightful tips -
v3 Therefore wash yourself and anoint yourself, put on your best garment and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking.
lol man I can’t help but to rejoice how practical the Word of God is. Yes ladies, learn to adorn yourself. Adorn yourself with the beauty God has graced you with. When you make contact with the man you like, put on your best flattering clothes. Men can’t help but to feed on their visuals. It’s not a sin for people to appreciate our good looks as we are made to carry the glory of God. It’s a bonus, a blessing that we can find favor with our looks. It’s not the only point here but why not utilize the grace God has blessed our image with :)
Flow with the anointing of the Holy Spirit and put on the presence of God which truly is the best robe we can put on :)
And now the point of ‘not making yourself known to the man till he has finished eating and drinking’. I was wondering why and that somehow reminded me of a verse Song of Solomon 8:4 - I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, Do not stir up nor awaken love Until it pleases.
Any man will be pleased when he has tasted satisfaction And I believe why it is written not to stir love till the man has finished eating & drinking because it’s a representation of the man feeding on the word of God. Feeding on the revelations and drinking the presence of God. If the man that you like is a godly man, which I hope he is, his eyes should be on Jesus. If he isn’t ready to progress to the next of the relationship with you, it’s all right, be patient and give him more time to feed on the body of the Lord. Allow him to be filled to his satisfaction - and that includes giving him more opportunities to spend time in his other fellowships too. Allow him to grow deeper in the love of God, allow him to grow spiritually till he is ready to take on the responsibilites as a godly man in the relationship. Encourage him to have his fill in the Lord till he’s prepared for the next stage to give to the relationship. Let him glean on, feed on and those fruits in his life will bless you and the relationship tremendously in the long run. God will reward your patience - James 1:4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. Continue to point him to Jesus as you believe too that His grace is more than enough for the transformation and miracle to manifest :)
Let’s read on to find out how a happy & satisfied Boaz turned the situation around for Ruth:
v4-7 Then it shall be, when he lies down, that you shall notice the place where he lies; and you shall go in, uncover his feet, and lie down; and he will tell you what you should do.” And she said to her, “All that you say to me I will do.” So she went down to the threshing floor and did according to all that her mother-in-law instructed her.And after Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was cheerful, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain; and she came softly, uncovered his feet, and lay down.
Boaz went to sleep in a cheery heart and he must have been so tired that he has forgotten to take off his shoes. I couldn’t think of any other reason why Ruth had to uncover his feet or why Naomi had suggested it so. Maybe Naomi knew that men back then had a habit of not removing their shoes when they sleep haha. Nevertheless to remove the shoes of someone/expose someone’s feet when one is sleeping, takes courage and humility. Pastor Prince once mentioned too that the act of sleeping at the feet of Boaz is a picture of us resting at the feet of Jesus. Our rest in God can take us further than the work of our flesh. So while you are waiting for the miracle to manfiest in your relationship, rest and be at peace. Seek the feet of Jesus.
Allow God to awaken your man till he’s ready to pursue a deeper relationship with him. What if he doesnt wake up some of you may ask, God will wake you up then lol. Either way, both parties have to be at rest in the finished work of Jesus :) As fiery and passionate a relationship may be, we still have to approach it with a posture of rest, allowing Jesus to be our ultimate satisfaction, lest we burn each other out. Be filled and be at rest.
Ruth laid down to sleep till Boaz suddenly felt the ‘chill’ in his feet, he finally woke up to take notice of Ruth.
v8 Now it happened at midnight that the man was startled, and turned himself; and there, a woman was lying 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.”
What a way to surprise your man. Ruth finally made her intention known to Boaz now that he has awakened. Boaz who was filled and happy, gave a very generous and gracious response:
v10-13 Then he said, “Blessed are you of the Lord, my daughter! For you have shown more kindness at the end than at the beginning, in that you did not go after young men, whether poor or rich. 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. Stay this night, and in the morning it shall be that if he will perform the duty of a close relative for you—good; let him do it. But if he does not want to perform the duty for you, then I will perform the duty for you, as the Lord lives! Lie down until morning.”
Boaz was offering himself to redeem Ruth’s inheritance. Boaz was willing and able to take up such a huge responsibility because the Lord has filled him. The man of hesed, a heart of grace and love, can only be filled by the Lord Himself, the person of grace Himself. Hence if you hope that your future spouse is someone who is loving and gracious, to love his wife as himself, as Jesus loves the church, he has to be first rooted, grounded and filled with the love of Jesus. We give out of the overflow of His life in our hearts. Boaz mentioned too about Ruth’s kindness and faithfulness. Ruth must have been a faithful companion to Boaz ever since they knew each other. Ladies, you can continue to sow in your friendship with the person that you like even if he is not ready to advance to the next stage. Romans 15:5 - Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus. A healthy relationship is after all built on a strong and steadfast friendship. Continue to serve and encourage one another, you can still be there for him as a friend and sister in Christ. The reward of your faithfulness and companionship is immense. Revelation 2:19 - I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. Hebrews 6:10 - For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. God is our greatest rewarder of what we sow, He brings the increase and provides the seeds :)
Ruth woke up the next day, not only blessed by Boaz’s kindness and commitment. She was also tangibly blessed with six ephahs of barley (Ruth 3:15) to bring home to Naomi. Boaz said ‘don’t go home empty handed!’ (Ruth 3:17) Boaz’s kindness and grace extended towards her family too. He just can’t help but to be a generous blessing because of the grace of God that thrives in his heart. We can give what we have. Like Boaz, we give out of the abundance of what’s in our heart, the love of God which we have been drinking and feeding on. We can’t change our men, we can influence their feelings but we can never make a lasting transformation in the heart as effectively as the Holy Spirit and our Maker. Point them to Jesus to behold Jesus and God’s effective power will transform them and your relationship by the Holy Spirit. Rely on His grace & favor!
Chapter 4 of Ruth is the grand finale of how Boaz registered himself as the offical kinsman redeemer of Ruth’s family. He saved her inhertiance and on top of that, he gave his life & inheritance to take Ruth as his wife. It takes the steadfast love of God for a man to be truly convinced and confident of laying down one’s life for another; to perform his duty as a husband and to abide with her faithfully. The Love of God conquers all, the Love of God covers all blemises and flaws, the Love of God is bond of perfection,
Isn’t it amazing how faithful God is? God not only restored Ruth’s inheritance/wealth/prosperity but also her relationship? God blessed her line of desecndants too. Ruth & Boaz bore Obed who is the great great grandfather of David, the linenage of Jesus Christ. Can you image the magnitude of blessing and grace God has for our relaitonships? I’m utterly blown away :)
I hope this is a blessing and encouragement for you to know that God is willing to bless and restore your relationships too :) Yes even for your love relationships. It’s God’s will for you to be attached and to be married. The world is skeptic about love but when you are born again from God who is Love, how can you not appreciate love and relationships? You are made with love, in love and to love :)
In a nutshell:
Submit your friendships and relationships today and depend not by your own effort, but the favor and grace of God. Confess the favor of God over it! If the man isn’t ready to be attached, continue to bless him by pointing him to Jesus, encourage him to feed & drink on the Lord :) Let him be filled till he’s fed to his satisfaction. He deserves more and more of Jesus, he deserves to find his ultimate fulfilment in Christ. The man he needs to be is in Christ. Jesus is the perfect image of how we should be in a relationship. Our relationship with Jesus is the perfect example our romantic relationships should take after as He is after all our groom and the bride is His church. We need to be in a relationship with God to succeed in our human relationships because it is God who holds our relationships together. God has the full wisdom of what makes a relationship work where there are flaws because He is able to intimately connect the worst of us through a relationship. God knows best of what love is. God knows what’s best for us :)
A relationship requires much serving and sowing. It’s alot of outpouring and thus all the more one needs to be rooted and filled with the love of God to give love. Jesus is a cheerful Giver and to appreciate the revelation of ‘it’s more blessed to give than to receive’ in our human relationships, he has to first experience the generous grace of Jesus. He needs Jesus first in his heart so that out of it will overflow the wisdom, love and grace for his relationships :) Progress in your relationship with a posture of rest. Rest in God’s love for the relationship to progress, commit it to God and He will fulfill your heart’s desires.
If he has not accepted Jesus as his Lord & Savior, all the more, point him to Jesus because he needs His saving grace too, he needs Jesus in his life to be his heavenly Boaz - his soul Redeemer to restore & bless his life with purposeful blessings raining on him (Ruth 1:16) , according to the riches of God’s grace.
Be blessed :))
In His love,
— Read on the 2 confirmational devotionals that quoted from the book of Ruth too :))
God’s favor gives you rest
Let the Lord be your defense