Another Valentine’s Day is upon us yet again. We look forward to boxes of chocolates and flowers, perfumes and jewelries, cakes and exquisite cards, perhaps even fine dining. While Covid and the lockdown won’t permit us to explore restaurants, a candle lit dinner at home will suffice and I daresay it’s even more romantic.
Men here is a free reminder to celebrate your spouse, knock them off their feet with love and appreciation. Why men you ask? Remember how Adam was put to that deep sleep to rip out a “help-meet” from his ribs? Yeah that rib is the woman, your spouse, the one that helps and nurtures. Well, here is your golden opportunity to show your love and appreciation.
Women, don’t be left out, spoil your husbands and remind them why they love you so much. That said, I strongly believe the celebration of love should be daily and continuous.
I Cor 13:1-7 sums up love in a practical and relatable way; “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.”
We get carried away with our spiritual qualifications and focus on our fire spitting, demon slaying abilities. While those may be good, the GOD that searches the heart and sees all says it doesn’t matter what we do, what humans we please, if we do not have love, we are nothing! When we give it a deeper thought, GOD is love, so it’s important to remember no love is as good as no GOD which is definitely synonymous to being absolutely nothing.
Let’s delve into the bible and take a close look at Ruth and how she personified love.
Ruth’s love endured for her mother in-law. Ruth 1:11-14 says “And Naomi said, turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? 12 Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons; 13 Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? Would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieves me much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord is gone out against me. 14 And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.
Notice how Naomi tried persuading her to leave. Like a true mother will put her child first. Seeing how young Ruth was, she encouraged her to go and salvage what is left of her life, start over but Ruth refused to leave That’s how love works, it doesn’t flee at the sign of an inconvenience. it persist, it endures.
Love is an act and most times it’s sacrificial. Ruth sacrificed self and her marital settlement for her mother in-law. Ruth 1:16,17 says “15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.
In today’s world saturated with the “me-mentality”, “I want”, “I need”, “I must have”, I can only imagine what most of us would have said to Ruth if we had a chance.
“Girl, you are losing your mind! You are young and beautiful, why will you waste your life with Naomi!
Oh for the highly spiritual amongst us, “Ruth you need deliverance, we have to fast and pray, the devil is a liar!
As I sit and write this I can say beyond doubt I most likely would have added a hug after Oprah’s kiss and said “Oprah don’t you dare walk so fast, we move together!
Ruth shows us how to love, how to bear each other’s burden in love even when it’s not convenient. She challenges us to be like Jesus Christ who put each of us first before Him even unto death.
Let’s see what Naomi did with her ever resilient daughter in-law who was willing to give up everything for her. She understood that even though Ruth doesn’t realize it, she does need a spouse. She realized the greatness waiting to be unleashed and she helped Ruth walk into her divine destiny. Being more experienced she reciprocated Ruth’s love and gave her pointers on how to fulfill her destiny, how to make what seemed like an impossible situation turn into an opportunity. Naomi advised Ruth to dress beautifully when approaching Boaz. Ruth 3:3 says “3 Wash, put on perfume, and get dressed in your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don’t let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking.”
I imagine this scene today, a lot of Ruth’s today would likely say: “What! My best dress? For what! Who is he?” Some might say: “huh? Say what Mum, you don’t know what you are saying, things were done like that in your days, not now. Why will I dress up for him then let him finish eating when I can chat him up and join him for lunch. He is Rich and I am hungry!” But because Ruth was not arrogant and boastful, she obeyed Ruth 3:6 says “6 so she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do.
Love speaks, it doesn’t need to be announced and it opens doors and hearts. Boaz, the knight in shining armor of this story, the most eligible bachelor at the time noticed Ruth because of the way she loved her mother-in-law. Something which was exceptionally rare at that time and even rarer in today’s world.
Ruth 2:11 says Boaz replied, “I have been made fully aware of all you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, how you left your father and mother and the land of your birth, and how you came to a people you did not know before. 12 May the LORD repay your work, and may you receive a rich reward from the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have taken refuge.
The doors of Boaz heart opened to Ruth, she didn’t have to be a slay queen, the most adorned, most learned or the best strategist, she stole his heart from her actions of love and he ensured she was care for.
Fast forward to Ruth 4:13 “so Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And when he had relations with her, the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son.14Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without a kinsman-redeemer. May his name become famous in Israel. 15He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.”16And Naomi took the child, placed him on her lap, and became a nurse to him. 17The neighbour women said, “A son has been born to Naomi,” and they named him Obed. He became the father of Jesse, the father of David.
We know how the story ended; GOD rewarded her sacrifice, her obedience, her patience, her hope in a future she could not see, her faith in the GOD of her mother in-law, her love for an aging and feeble old woman against all odds… GOD rewarded her with a good man and JESUS came through her lineage.
She got the man and had her name in history forever!
John 13:34 “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also must love one another”