At the end of April, I felt that the Lord was asking me to spend the month of May reading scripture more intently and to dive into the story of Ruth and Ephesians Five. I reflected on the story of Ruth and the scripture in Ephesians and have come back to revisit what was gleaned from these stories. In Ephesians Five one of the main takeaways that I was blessed with was that together a man and woman are the most powerful representation of Christ's love. Together, their covenantal promise with the Lord is as tight as a braided cord. Nothing can break them, and their love destroys the enemy's desire for discord and division.
In the story of Ruth, it blessed me to discover that this man, Boaz, appreciated the journey and the pain Ruth had overcome, and his heart was enlivened to come to understand the loyalty and humility she possessed to follow Naomi to a foreign land after losing her husband. We see Boaz honor and respect her and see her as the treasure in the field while so many others overlooked her. His blessings become her blessings, alleviating her pain and struggles. She is honored for her loyalty and goodness. The story of Ruth is a beautiful picture of how we as women are to walk out our Christian life. I truly believe that this story exemplifies the glorious reward a woman receives by remaining loyal, obedient, and true. It is so beautiful to see Boaz put her front and center in his life. He invests in her because he sees her value. Only God can place that vision in a man’s heart. A man who does not value, honor, and respect a woman will put other things, desires, and other people before her.
One of the other interesting revelations that I gleaned from the story of Ruth was about Boaz. He first had the eyes to see Ruth as the one, then he had the desire in his heart to bless her, and lastly, Boaz could provide for her and handle her heart with gentleness, patients, and compassion. It was not potential that he had to love her well, but he was fully equipped and prepared to love her as she ought to be. Boaz had a quiet strength and knowledge of how powerful his presence was in her life and that his effect on her meant everything to the foundation of the relationship and both of their destinies.
The revelations I had of Boaz intertwined with the direction we are given in Ephesians Five. The man makes things right as the leader of the relationship. Boaz went to a meeting to inquire about her and to ensure that he was not stepping on another man's toes. In a sense, a man will always be the head of the relationship and the woman the neck. A man protects his wife at all costs. There is no other person that comes before her, only God supersedes them both. It says in Ephesians 5:31, “For this reason, a man is to leave his father and his mother and lovingly go to his wife since the two have become joined as one flesh.” A husband is faithfully devoted to his wife. He does not put any other relationship- family, friends, or colleagues above their relationship. He leaves that of the old to become one flesh with her.
A man not only protects her in every way, but he also dies to himself, and his own needs become secondary to ensure she is provided for. He delights in putting his needs secondary to hers because, in his God-given wisdom, he sees the value in God's direction in Ephesians Five. A husband seeks the highest good for his wife with caring and unselfish love. He washes her daily in the word of God and it is reflected in the way he speaks to her and treats her in public and in private. The man loves her as he loves his own body- with nourishment and protection; cherishing her as though it was his own body. He treats her as worthy of respect and esteem. He always seeks the best for her and approaches all issues that arise with an attitude of loving-kindness. A true man of God walks in confidence, courage, and clarity of purpose. He is resolute, focused, and clear on his path and clears the way to support and highlight the giftings and call on her life as well as his own. In doing so they can walk in the fullness of their power together.
In turn, the woman is to fully submit to her man. She respects him and his decisions. She delights in her husband day and night. The woman is to acknowledge his presence and prefer him to any other relationship- family, friend, or colleague. She treats him with loving concern, treasures him, honors him, and holds him dear to her heart. She comes to his aid with compassion and understanding. The wife values his opinion and admires his wisdom and character. She appreciates his sacrifices and makes it known she is filled with gratitude. A woman is to consider her man's needs and values because she knows that he does what is best for them. We learn in Ephesians 5:33 that she is to give her man her undivided attention, encourage him, support him, and have his back through ups and downs. A woman must be sober-minded and faithful in all that she does. She fears the Lord and it shows in her holy reverent behavior and the way she dresses and acts in public and in private. She is to recognize that her feelings and emotions can blur her vision of herself and her man. Thus, she is to exercise the spirit of self-control in making decisions. She is to share with her man a grace-filled, gentle, and peaceful spirit. A woman multiplies the good things that her husband gives her.
The story of Ruth truly illustrates Ephesians Five in such a momentous and beautiful way. A woman and man who are for each other recognize that they are equal in the partnership, and each brings unique aspects of morality to the relationship. A man and woman of God walk in moral courage, personal integrity, and godly character. They do not leave doors open for the enemy to step in. They are iron sharpening iron for one another- edifying and encouraging one other to be better versions of themselves every day. They listen intently to one another and choose to approach life together rather than as separate entities. They live in honor and have a resolute purpose that they live out daily. They turn away from gossip, judgment, jealousy, impure vulgar speech, cheating, stealing, and murder (physical but also the murder of souls, dreams, and visions). They are sensible, intelligent, and discerning people that make every moment of their lives count. They recognize that life is not limitless in time, so they practice punctuality and take on each moment as an opportunity with wisdom, diligence, and consistency. They willingly bear one another's burdens and give to those in need. And most of all, they worship and put God above all things. He is their ultimate prize and with holy reverence, they love the Lord with all their being. Together a husband and wife are truly the most powerful representation of Christ's love and all of heaven rejoices in their union.