Author C. S. Lewis once said, “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken.” But, Lewis insists, that is exactly what God designed us to do. Love is worth the risk.
The story of Ruth is marked by love and loss, both of which are part of the human experience. Ruth had suffered the loss of her husband. Naomi, Ruth’s mother-in-law, was also widowed and had lost her two sons. But rather than mourn separately, Ruth pledged to stay with Naomi.
In today’s passage, Naomi gives Ruth some loving advice. She encourages her daughter-in-law, who had proven to be faithful, to seek out Boaz, a landowning relative, who could provide a home for her. She saw Ruth as a daughter (v. 1). Verse 5 says Ruth “did everything her mother-in-law told her to do."
Ruth’s obedient action came as a surprise to Boaz. But his response was one of love and graciousness. Notice his response to Ruth’s bold request (v. 9). First, Boaz blessed her and noted the quality of her character (v. 10). She was not looking for love that would satisfy merely her own needs but had considered her mother-in-law first. He mentioned her reputation as a “woman of noble character” (v. 11). He was also patient and cautious, wanting everything that they did to follow proper procedure and be without fault.
Ruth took a risk, and their story had a happy ending. The couple married, and their child was part of the lineage of David and then Christ Himself (4:17). But this story is not just a love story between Ruth and Boaz. It is also a love story for Naomi. Ruth’s child became Naomi’s as well, and the reciprocal love of the two women brought lasting joy.