Single Saints

Church, Stop Telling Her to “Wait” on Her Boaz

By October 5, 2017 15 Comments

godupdates 5 lessons women can learn from ruth fb

 

Since Google is one of my favorite “friends”, I decided to hit her up on one of the most annoying Christian search engine trends.  I typed in “Ruth and Boaz” and her response was telling.:

7 Keys of Finding Your Boaz

3 Reasons Why You’re Still Waiting for Your Boaz

Be Like Ruth and “Wait” for Your Boaz

These were the top 3.

Ughh…

There are so many popular blogs, articles, books, and sermons based on the biblical narrative of Ruth and Boaz. Some have even launched “ministries” on these two figures.  What’s alarming is that so many are getting it wrong. Many of my single sister’s in Christ have been feeding and buying into these lies and placing themselves under bondage, especially since they have gotten carried away with something that’s not even in the text.

If you read the book of Ruth, you see that she wasn’t “waiting” for her Boaz at all.  We see her loyalty to her mother in law, Naomi, clinging to her, while forsaking her ethnic identity and her decision to follow and worship the God of Israel. Ruth resolves to head to Bethlehem, with Naomi, in hopes to work hard for herself and her mother in law. Why then, are so many people hijacking Ruth and Boaz as their dating market material, meanwhile missing that it points to Jesus primarily?

In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul writes to encourage women to utilize their singleness for the kingdom of God. We, as church members, need to affirm that singleness that lasts a few seasons or a lifetime –  both are a gift from God and for God. However, I have noticed that even among well-meaning folks, a hint of the prosperity gospel creeps in. It’s a counterfeit gospel that has robbed countless believers and nonbelievers alike. When we think of prosperity preachers and their doctrine, we typically think health and wealth.  Even if we don’t overtly believe in the prosperity gospel, it’s our human nature to feel that whatever “work” we put in, we deserve a profit in return. So we wrongly begin  to believe that if a Christian woman strives for contentment and is busy about God’s work and ceases to focus on her potential husband, he will come.  We ought to be extremely careful promoting behavior to provoke God’s blessings. This kind of thinking robs God of His sovereignty.

I am also concerned that this trend advocates for a worldly, romance-intoxicated, fairy-tale of a modern day Boaz; a “Prince Charming” prototype. Single women, in this case, would be like a “damsel in distress”, waiting and needing a husband who can rescue and “save” her. Yes, Ephesians 5:23 commands husbands to love their wives as Christ has loved the Church, so I am in no way making any claims against God’s design for marriage. However, are we truly advocating for biblical headship as our mantra for marriage or are we adopting what we see in romance novels and movies, even conditioning our daughters to embrace an idea by allowing them unhindered access to popular animated Disney films, whose plots often promote a corrupt ideology of waiting for “prince charming” from a very early age.

My last observation is that we also place more burdens on single women with legalistic steps in how to engage with men. Please hear my heart when I say this – I am in no way advocating women be aggressors or to be the pursuers. Necessary boundaries and accountability is key and should always be stressed. However, I do hear others giving advice that is more “don’t do this” and/or  “do this”, in order to land a husband or present a “Christian woman” appearance. This type of advice has women going nuts and surely it is not helpful at all.  Everyone’s story is different. Every woman’s journey has her own path. Let’s not make our journey the standard.

Earlier I referenced the fact that many people are getting the story of Ruth wrong. Part of the problem is that people often read themselves in Bible narratives. Even though we should not, many do to certain extent and degree. For those that do, I believe that if they remain there, they will miss out on what God is truly trying to show us through his Word. Approximately, 1000 years before Jesus Christ, the story of Ruth foreshadows Christ’s saving work on the cross. It’s about the faithfulness and work of God in the darkest and trying of times, through suffering and sorrow, preparing the world and God’s people for His glory. The beauty of Ruth is that it is for everyone. Not just the single woman who longs for her future mate. It is for every single soul who bleeds and sheds real tears in hopes of a Savior and His amazing providence, will, and purpose to bring glory to himself.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

 

Ruth Colas-Smith

Author Ruth Colas-Smith

More posts by Ruth Colas-Smith

Join the discussion 15 Comments

  • I LOVE what you said here: “Approximately, 1000 years before Jesus Christ, the story of Ruth foreshadows Christ’s saving work on the cross.” Ruth is not a book about dating or marriage at all.

  • Anonymous says:

    I loved this article, and agree with so much of it. I appreciate your rejection of the formulaic “Prosperity Gospel,” which says if you do everything right, God will bring you a Boaz.

    Some leaders do put legalistic burdens on single Christian women, and when they don’t marry, the leaders shame them because: Obviously they didn’t do the steps right. Again, as you said, this is the bad theology of the “prosperity gospel” in action.

    I think more women need to hear that. And more speakers need to say it.

    My only point of disagreement is that Ruth did take initiative in the relationship.

    In Old Testament times, a wife had the right to food, clothing, and offspring who would inherit. As a widow, Ruth’s rights would have been fulfilled by her late husband’s brother. But as we know, he had passed away too. The community of Israel had a solution for this problem. But the other men of Bethlehem who should have stepped in to keep the land in the family so it could be passed down to Elimelech’s family, weren’t coming forward to fulfill their duty. They were content to let the two widows die of hunger.

    Ruth sneaked onto the threshing floor and uncovered Boaz’s feet. She asked him to redeem her father-in-law’s land (and her and her future children, along with it). Boaz knew exactly what Ruth was saying and doing. And so did the other Israelites, the closer relatives. The other men wanted the land for themselves and their children, but not to steward to property and leave it to Ruth’s children. Boaz was willing to take on the extra work.

    I know there’s a belief that women shouldn’t take initiative, but plenty of women in the Bible did. And God blessed them.

    • arielbovat says:

      Thanks for your comment. However, careful reading of Ruth 3 tells us that it was not Ruth’s idea to pursue Boaz. She was obeying her mother in law. We can assume that Ruth did not know the customs and expectations of Jewish law regarding inheritance, land, etc. But Naomi did. Ruth obeyed Naomi. Ruth trusted Naomi. Ruth 3:5 is telling in that she replied to her mother in law “all that you say I will do”. No questions asked. No “but what if’s”. Her loyalty to Naomi caused her to pursue. She was never the initiator. Naomi even gave Ruth words to say and we can assume that Ruth did not know the significance of her words at the time she said them to Boaz. All in all, Ruth humbly obeyed her mother in law’s requests. That’s a pretty significant difference vs being a single woman who self-initiates for the sake of landing herself a husband.

  • Lisa M says:

    I agree with you that the book of Ruth is not about a single woman seeking a husband. But, I disagree with you when you say, ” not saying that people can’t read themselves in Bible narratives”.
    People should NOT read themselves into Bible narratives. That practice causes faulty eisegesis and always does a disservice to the text. We must keep the integrity of the Word or fall into error. Sola Scriptura!

    • arielbovat says:

      Thanks for your comment. I agree with you that we should not read ourselves into Bible narratives. However, those coming out of false theology and coming from churches that adhere and ascribe to false theology, many Christians must re-learn how to read their Bibles, hence why the author writes “if we remain there”. Not reading ourselves into scripture is a learned skill and discipline that one grows into as one matures in the faith. Sadly, many Christians of color are still learning this skill because many churches of color promote a false gospel. That’s a fact. Hope that clarifies her post a bit more.

      • Lisa M says:

        Yes it does. Thank you! Praying for our family in Christ who happen to be people color and are caught up in fasle teaching. I have been there. Our communities would see true change when we start serving the Jesus of the Bible not the one created in the mind of a false teacher.

  • Kellene Elley says:

    I agree. Very good article. I wanted to add the other thing people miss when making Ruth and Boaz a dating story. She had already been married. She wasn’t single. She was a widow.

  • Dee says:

    Thank you for your article, Ruth followed Boaz, not just as a man but because of what he represented, the coming Saviour.
    Ruth does not point to how to become a married woman, but how we all should follow the path our Saviour has choosen for us. As someone in a loving relationship or happily single.

  • I love this! Having two single daughters and many young single women in my world, I grieve for all the ‘counsel’ they receive that is just not right. A couple of things I hear are: “When marriage is no longer an idol you seek but Christ is your everything, then He will bring you a spouse”. No kidding? I have been married 35 years and I still daily have to die to myself and make Christ first! There is no arriving at Christ being everything until we are glorified in His presence! It also assumes that to desire a mate and glorify Christ in marriage is seen as an idolatrous wish. All of us who are married are so because we desired it. Some of us for Godly reasons, some for selfish and some a little bit of both. We are in this process of sanctification and none of us have arrived. For those desiring marriage, we need to stop with trite lessons that offer formulas and fairy tales and just love them where they are at and come alongside their journey.

  • billd1207 says:

    Thank you so much for this light in the darkness. I for years was the very one you speak against, encouraging the necessity of finding a spouse for the purpose glorifying God by extending the Church by raising Godly seed. Not that this is wrong but that it is presumptive to predict the mind of God. I am going to pray that your counsel will be magnified to those who need to hear it.

  • I learned this myself, I now teach my daughter, and I share with young women I disciple – you are married right now. Your Maker is your Husband. Isaiah 54. If He adds to that with a physical husband, then that’s His plan and His gift. But squeeze everything out of what you have right now cuz it’s His absolute best for you and to do otherwise is to be unfaithful to the Spouse you have.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: