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.
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.