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A group of 7-10 year olds was asked a variety of questions about marriage A group of 7-10 year olds was asked a variety of questions about marriage One.

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2 A group of 7-10 year olds was asked a variety of questions about marriage A group of 7-10 year olds was asked a variety of questions about marriage One of the questions was “How do you decide who to marry?” One of the questions was “How do you decide who to marry?” Ten-year old Alan said, “You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and should keep the chips and dips coming.” Ten-year old Alan said, “You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and should keep the chips and dips coming.” Nine-year old Kristen answered, “No person really decides before they grow up who they’re going to marry. God decides it all way before and you get to find out later who you’re stuck with!” Nine-year old Kristen answered, “No person really decides before they grow up who they’re going to marry. God decides it all way before and you get to find out later who you’re stuck with!” Another question was: “Is it better to be single or married?” Another question was: “Is it better to be single or married?” Ten-year old Anita said, “It’s better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them” Ten-year old Anita said, “It’s better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them” Kids Say the Craziest Things

3 It kind of makes you wonder where these children picked up their perspectives on marriage, doesn’t it? It kind of makes you wonder where these children picked up their perspectives on marriage, doesn’t it? I chuckled at Kristen’s notion that God decides it and you’re stuck with it! I chuckled at Kristen’s notion that God decides it and you’re stuck with it! When a child says that, it’s funny When a child says that, it’s funny Unfortunately, there are far too many adults that cling to the same way of thinking … Unfortunately, there are far too many adults that cling to the same way of thinking … A good dose of the book of Ruth offers all of us plenty of hope and help A good dose of the book of Ruth offers all of us plenty of hope and help Kids Say the Craziest Things

4 Romance? It’s been 11 weeks of going through the book of Ruth … someone came up to me and said with some disappointment that there does not seem to be much romance in the book It’s been 11 weeks of going through the book of Ruth … someone came up to me and said with some disappointment that there does not seem to be much romance in the book Instead, Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz seemed to more concerned about survival and duty … there is a measure of truth to this observation Instead, Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz seemed to more concerned about survival and duty … there is a measure of truth to this observation Because of all that has happened so far, we want Ruth and Boaz to be together, not Ruth and the other kinsman Because of all that has happened so far, we want Ruth and Boaz to be together, not Ruth and the other kinsman But the way Boaz acted indicated that he wanted to marry Ruth for more than duty … he had nothing but praise for her and readily agreed to a marriage proposal after being awkwardly awakened in the middle of the night But the way Boaz acted indicated that he wanted to marry Ruth for more than duty … he had nothing but praise for her and readily agreed to a marriage proposal after being awkwardly awakened in the middle of the night Furthermore, Naomi’s comment about Boaz’s impatience in Ruth 3:18 arouses curiosity … is it only because of duty that Boaz “will not rest until the matter is settled today?” Furthermore, Naomi’s comment about Boaz’s impatience in Ruth 3:18 arouses curiosity … is it only because of duty that Boaz “will not rest until the matter is settled today?” Boaz very well may have been a bachelor who found true love later in life Boaz very well may have been a bachelor who found true love later in life

5 Whose Agenda? The book may do nothing more than hint at the romance between Boaz and Ruth, but it clearly trumpets covenant faithfulness The book may do nothing more than hint at the romance between Boaz and Ruth, but it clearly trumpets covenant faithfulness Above all, Boaz was a man of faith and integrity Above all, Boaz was a man of faith and integrity He cared about keeping God’s instruction because he knew that this was the avenue of ministering to real people with real needs and so advancing God’s redemptive plan through his life He cared about keeping God’s instruction because he knew that this was the avenue of ministering to real people with real needs and so advancing God’s redemptive plan through his life Here is where this story speaks to you and me: Here is where this story speaks to you and me: – Do we see the situation of our lives as opportunities to glorify God by ministering to others? – Or do we view our situations in terms of other agendas? – Whose kingdom are we building? Ruth 4 asks if we love God enough to put ourselves at His disposal by loving our neighbor Ruth 4 asks if we love God enough to put ourselves at His disposal by loving our neighbor

6 The Romance of Redemption Ruth 4:1-12 Through the actions of Boaz we see four characteristics of true love: Through the actions of Boaz we see four characteristics of true love:  True love takes action (vv. 1-4)  True love is willing to pay the price (vv. 5-6)  True love is willing to be accountable (vv. 7-10)  True love receives God’s blessings (vv )

7 1 Now Boaz had gone up to the gate and sat down there. And behold, the redeemer, of whom Boaz had spoken, came by. So Boaz said, “Turn aside, friend; sit down here.” And he turned aside and sat down. 2 And he took ten men of the elders of the city and said, “Sit down here.” So they sat down. 3 Then he said to the redeemer, “Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, is selling the parcel of land that belonged to our relative Elimelech. 4 So I thought I would tell you of it and say, ‘Buy it in the presence of those sitting here and in the presence of the elders of my people.’ If you will redeem it, redeem it. But if you will not, tell me, that I may know, for there is no one besides you to redeem it, and I come after you.” And he said, “I will redeem it.” Ruth 4:1-4 Where does Boaz go the next morning? Why?

8 In the ancient Near East, the city gate was not only the point of entry into town and the most logical place to look for fellow villagers coming and going, it was also the heart of the community In the ancient Near East, the city gate was not only the point of entry into town and the most logical place to look for fellow villagers coming and going, it was also the heart of the community The gate was the seat of government and the site where legal transactions, judicial proceedings, and other important official business was conducted (cf. Gen 19:1,9; 23:10,18; 34:20,24; 2 Sam 15:2-6; Prov 22:22; Amos 5:10,12,15) The gate was the seat of government and the site where legal transactions, judicial proceedings, and other important official business was conducted (cf. Gen 19:1,9; 23:10,18; 34:20,24; 2 Sam 15:2-6; Prov 22:22; Amos 5:10,12,15) The city gates also served as a platform for local dignitaries, a pulpit for prophetic messages, and the hub of local gossip for the entire village The city gates also served as a platform for local dignitaries, a pulpit for prophetic messages, and the hub of local gossip for the entire village Whenever you hear of someone being praised in the gates (like the legendary woman of Proverbs 31), the entire community from the top down was honoring them Whenever you hear of someone being praised in the gates (like the legendary woman of Proverbs 31), the entire community from the top down was honoring them It’s comparable to a NYC ticker tape parade for a national hero or having your name emblazoned on a star inlaid on the sidewalk of Hollywood and Vine It’s comparable to a NYC ticker tape parade for a national hero or having your name emblazoned on a star inlaid on the sidewalk of Hollywood and Vine Praise in the gates is high honor indeed Praise in the gates is high honor indeed The City Gates

9 1 Now Boaz had gone up to the gate and sat down there. And behold, the redeemer, of whom Boaz had spoken, came by. So Boaz said, “Turn aside, friend; sit down here.” And he turned aside and sat down. 2 And he took ten men of the elders of the city and said, “Sit down here.” So they sat down. 3 Then he said to the redeemer, “Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, is selling the parcel of land that belonged to our relative Elimelech. 4 So I thought I would tell you of it and say, ‘Buy it in the presence of those sitting here and in the presence of the elders of my people.’ If you will redeem it, redeem it. But if you will not, tell me, that I may know, for there is no one besides you to redeem it, and I come after you.” And he said, “I will redeem it.” Ruth 4:1-4 The first thing we learn about true love from Boaz is that it takes action 1 John 3:18 – “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and truth.” What did Boaz do to follow through on the commitment he made to Ruth? What specific actions did he take? Boaz took three steps to provide redemption: 1.He made contact with the nearer redeemer (v. 1) 2.He recruited elders (v. 2) 3.He informed the nearer kinsman about Naomi’s land (vv. 3-4a) Who is this nearer redeemer? How is he identified?

10 According to the ESV (and NIV) translation of verse 1, Boaz addressed the nearer go’el as “friend” According to the ESV (and NIV) translation of verse 1, Boaz addressed the nearer go’el as “friend” The expression Boaz used is peloni almoni, a phrase that is an example of a wordplay termed farrago The expression Boaz used is peloni almoni, a phrase that is an example of a wordplay termed farrago – This is a wordplay in which unrelated and perhaps even meaningless rhyming words are combined to produce a new idiom – English examples include: “hodge-podge,” “helter-skelter,” “heebie-jeebies,” and “hocus-pocus” The same expression is used in: The same expression is used in: – 1 Sam 21:2 – “And David said to Ahimelech the priest, “The king has charged me with a matter and said to me, ‘Let no one know anything of the matter about which I send you, and with which I have charged you.’ I have made an appointment with the young men for such and such a place.” – 2 Kings 6:8 – “Once when the king of Syria was warring against Israel, he took counsel with his servants, saying, “At such and such a place shall be my camp.” – When the narrator does not wish to give the name of the place the translation “such and such a place” is appropriate Commentators suggest best translation here (Ruth 4:1) is “Mr. So-and-So” Commentators suggest best translation here (Ruth 4:1) is “Mr. So-and-So” Note that this phrase originates with the narrator, not with Boaz; since the other go’el was a relative, Boaz would have known him and addressed him by his actual name Note that this phrase originates with the narrator, not with Boaz; since the other go’el was a relative, Boaz would have known him and addressed him by his actual name “Friend” (peloni almoni)? The writer of Ruth substituted the phrase peloni almoni for a particular reason Based on what you know about the nearer redeemer, why would the author labeled him with the Hebrew equivalent of John Doe? The narrator is underscoring the namelessness of this man in order to create a less than favorable impression and is prompting the audience to suspect a pejorative purpose in the choice of the expression To translate the expression as “friend” is to obscure the narrator’s purposeful omission of the man’s name

11 1 Now Boaz had gone up to the gate and sat down there. And behold, the redeemer, of whom Boaz had spoken, came by. So Boaz said, “Turn aside, friend; sit down here.” And he turned aside and sat down. 2 And he took ten men of the elders of the city and said, “Sit down here.” So they sat down. 3 Then he said to the redeemer, “Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, is selling the parcel of land that belonged to our relative Elimelech. 4 So I thought I would tell you of it and say, ‘Buy it in the presence of those sitting here and in the presence of the elders of my people.’ If you will redeem it, redeem it. But if you will not, tell me, that I may know, for there is no one besides you to redeem it, and I come after you.” And he said, “I will redeem it.” Ruth 4:1-4 Note the providence of God once again … “And behold” (literally “And just then”) strongly suggests in the Hebrew that at just the right moment along comes just the right person This is not coincidence but the hidden hand of YHWH at work Having called the nearer redeemer over, does Boaz now wait until ten elders of the city chance to pass by on their way to the fields? Why did he need ten elders? Boaz “took ten men,” he actively sought them out so that legal proceedings could start Jewish authorities cite that “ten” were to be present for the recital of the marriage benediction – thus it may be assumed that Boaz was preparing for a marriage ceremony Thus, Boaz took care to ensure a duly constituted legal forum would be present to notarize the civil proceedings he wished to set in motion Ruth 4:3 is the first mention of land that Naomi wanted redeemed Why do you think the writer of Ruth postponed any reference to Elimelech’s land until now? What do you suppose had happened to the land in the past that resulted in Naomi’s present request for its redemption?

12 Naomi’s Land The text is not describing an outright sale of the land by Naomi The text is not describing an outright sale of the land by Naomi Instead, this refers to a transaction in which only the right use of the land is being transferred for a stipulated value (paid completely at the beginning of the deal) for a stipulated period of time Instead, this refers to a transaction in which only the right use of the land is being transferred for a stipulated value (paid completely at the beginning of the deal) for a stipulated period of time Thus, Naomi is selling the usufruct -- the potential fruit and produce from the harvests Thus, Naomi is selling the usufruct -- the potential fruit and produce from the harvests Naomi must have inherited rights to the field of Elimelech when he died and produced no male heirs Naomi must have inherited rights to the field of Elimelech when he died and produced no male heirs Given the particulars, it appears that Elimelech sold the usufruct of his land before he and his family emigrated to Moab, and the field since then has been in the possession of others Given the particulars, it appears that Elimelech sold the usufruct of his land before he and his family emigrated to Moab, and the field since then has been in the possession of others Since Naomi has no means to repurchase the field, she transfers this obligation/right to her nearest kinsman Since Naomi has no means to repurchase the field, she transfers this obligation/right to her nearest kinsman Now Naomi through Boaz is calling on the nearer kinsman to repurchase the field from its present possessor … the land is in need of redemption Now Naomi through Boaz is calling on the nearer kinsman to repurchase the field from its present possessor … the land is in need of redemption

13 1 Now Boaz had gone up to the gate and sat down there. And behold, the redeemer, of whom Boaz had spoken, came by. So Boaz said, “Turn aside, friend; sit down here.” And he turned aside and sat down. 2 And he took ten men of the elders of the city and said, “Sit down here.” So they sat down. 3 Then he said to the redeemer, “Naomi, who has come back from the country of Moab, is selling the parcel of land that belonged to our relative Elimelech. 4 So I thought I would tell you of it and say, ‘Buy it in the presence of those sitting here and in the presence of the elders of my people.’ If you will redeem it, redeem it. But if you will not, tell me, that I may know, for there is no one besides you to redeem it, and I come after you.” And he said, “I will redeem it.” Ruth 4:1-4 Mr. So-and-So said he would initially redeem the land because he was a good businessman It’s a good deal to get this piece of property back in the family More land means more crops; more crops mean more money; more money mean more potential for the good life What did Boaz urge the nearer go’el to do? How did the latter initially respond? Why? Nothing wrong with being a businessman who’s got a nose for a good deal Nothing wrong with buying land (it’s produce) from a widow Nothing wrong with making the most of God-given opportunities But what contrast do you see between the two men who were qualified to redeem this property? What do you observe about their actions? It is natural to do what is good for yourself Mr. So-and-So assessed the situation, decided the land purchase would be good for him, and said, “Sure, I will redeem it” He did what came naturally to him, just like we so easily do It is love to do what is good for others Boaz took steps to do what would be in the best interest of Ruth, a family that had no male descendant, and a nation whose God received honor when its citizens did the loving thing by obeying the laws He gave them Love focuses outward; love thinks about what is good for the other person and does that

14 5 Then Boaz said, “The day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the widow of the dead, in order to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance.” 6 Then the redeemer said, “I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I impair my own inheritance. Take my right of redemption yourself, for I cannot redeem it.” Ruth 4:5-6 What does Boaz tell the nearer redeemer about the price of redemption? How is this a surprise to him? What horns of dilemma does this latter go’el find himself on? Mr. So-and-So is faced with four courses of actions (COAs): 1.While not legally bound, he could accept moral responsibility for Elimelech’s estate, redeem the field, marry Ruth, and ensure the well-being of Naomi, the senior widow. This would be the honorable COA. 2.He could redeem the field and pledge to marry Ruth but then renege on the pledge after the transaction was complete. By doing this, he would jeopardize his reputation and standing in the community. 3.He could reject the offer, thereby ceding the rights to the land and the responsibility of raising up the name of the deceased to Boaz. This COA would not necessarily be irresponsible since Boaz has declared his intent. 4.He could accept responsibility of a go’el & redeem the field but reject the responsibility of a levir and cede Boaz the moral obligation and/or right to marry Ruth. This would lose him respect/honor in community and prove costly in future if Boaz produced heir thru Ruth who could claim back the land. Faced with this economic and ethical dilemma, which COA does he choose?

15 5 Then Boaz said, “The day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the widow of the dead, in order to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance.” 6 Then the redeemer said, “I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I impair my own inheritance. Take my right of redemption yourself, for I cannot redeem it.” Ruth 4:5-6 In what ways do the actions of Mr. So-and-So parallel those of Orpah in Ruth 1? What price of true love was Boaz willing to pay? Boaz’s approach to the negotiations would have given him confidence that his marriage to Ruth was God’s will for their lives When believers trust God by not trying to manipulate the affairs of life, they experience the peace of God that continues to assure them that God has directed their steps Note the contrast (once again) between these two redeemers Mr. So-and-So was willing to take, but Boaz was willing to give Mr. So-and-So was concerned about himself and endangering his estate, but Boaz was selfless and concerned about the care of two widows Mr. So-and-So did the logical thing, but Boaz did the loving thing Although Boaz had a strong desire to marry Ruth, he gave the unnamed kinsman-redeemer every opportunity to redeem the land and acquire Naomi and Ruth. In what ways do you think Boaz’s approach to the situation would have affected his future marital relationship to Ruth?

16 All of us are tempted to think and act like Mr. So-and-So All of us are tempted to think and act like Mr. So-and-So We size up a situation and figure out what is best for us We size up a situation and figure out what is best for us We play it safe to protect our own interests and agendas We play it safe to protect our own interests and agendas We do not seek first the kingdom of God (Matt 6:33) … We do not seek first the kingdom of God (Matt 6:33) … I am So-and-So Instead, we are more concerned about “all these things” that God promises to add; such an approach to life does not honor God Instead, we are more concerned about “all these things” that God promises to add; such an approach to life does not honor God The anonymity of Mr. So-and-So is telling – there is no future in a life devoted to self and playing it safe The anonymity of Mr. So-and-So is telling – there is no future in a life devoted to self and playing it safe Here was a man who had an opportunity to redeem a desperate situation; but he thought only of himself and so has been forgotten Here was a man who had an opportunity to redeem a desperate situation; but he thought only of himself and so has been forgotten

17 7 Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging: to confirm a transaction, the one drew off his sandal and gave it to the other, and this was the manner of attesting in Israel. 8 So when the redeemer said to Boaz, “Buy it for yourself,” he drew off his sandal. 9 Then Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses this day that I have bought from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to Chilion and to Mahlon. 10 Also Ruth the Moabite, the widow of Mahlon, I have bought to be my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brothers and from the gate of his native place. You are witnesses this day.” Ruth 4:7-10 What bit of cultural information does the author give us in verse 7? Whereas Mr. So-and-So gave up his right to redemption, what did Boaz do? Before whom was this said? What two public commitments did Boaz make to show that his true love was accountable? 1.He promised to be a good husband to Ruth 2.He promised to maintain the name of the dead

18 11 Then all the people who were at the gate and the elders said, “We are witnesses. May the LORD make the woman, who is coming into your house, like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you act worthily in Ephrathah and be renowned in Bethlehem, 12 and may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring that the LORD will give you by this young woman.” Ruth 4:11-12 Although we tend to consider our intimate relationships a private matter, the story of Ruth and Boaz demonstrates some of the benefits of allowing our relationships to unfold and take shape openly in the larger community of faith What threefold blessing/benediction did Boaz and Ruth receive from their community as they moved into committed relationship with each other? True love receives God’s blessing 1.The people asked the Lord to bless Ruth (v. 11a) 2.The people asked the Lord to bless Boaz (v. 11b) 3.The people asked the Lord to bless their offspring (v. 12) Who were Rachel and Leah? How had they “built up the house of Israel?” What did the people of Bethlehem mean when they prayed that the LORD would make Ruth to be like Rachel and Leah? How do you think it might have blessed Ruth to know that the Jewish community was praying this particular benediction?

19 11 Then all the people who were at the gate and the elders said, “We are witnesses. May the LORD make the woman, who is coming into your house, like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you act worthily in Ephrathah and be renowned in Bethlehem, 12 and may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring that the LORD will give you by this young woman.” Ruth 4:11-12 Consider the second part of the witnesses’ benediction (v. 11b) What did the witnesses pray for Boaz? How had Boaz already in part lived up to their hopes for him? How did the people’s second blessing point forward to David? To Christ? Now consider the final part of the witnesses’ three-fold blessing on the offspring of Ruth and Boaz (v. 12) What is the connection between the birth of Perez to Judah and Tamar and the hoped-for offspring from the marriage of Boaz and Ruth? Why do you think the people of Bethlehem drew attention to such a scandal in the history of Judah as the birth of Perez as something to be emulated? There is rabbinic hermeneutical principle of “from greater to lesser” The reader cannot help but think that if God had given immoral Judah a double blessing in the birth of twins and if Judah flourished through Perez, how much brighter are the prospects for a couple of integrity like Boaz and Ruth

20 The Romance of Redemption Ruth 4:1-12 Through the actions of Boaz we see four characteristics of true love: Through the actions of Boaz we see four characteristics of true love:  True love takes action (vv. 1-4)  True love is willing to pay the price (vv. 5-6)  True love is willing to be accountable (vv. 7-10)  True love receives God’s blessings (vv )

21 Case Study: Kim, a single young woman “When’s the wedding?” someone asks Kim just before the beginning of this week’s small bible study. “Three weeks from Saturday!” she responds. “We’re going to have a quaint ceremony at Larry’s parent’s lodge. You’re all invited.” “Whoa! Three weeks?” someone in the crowd chimes in – it was more of a statement than a question. “That’s pretty quick romance, isn’t it?” Kim insists it’s because “God brought us together” and “It was love at first sight” and “We just know we’re right for each other.” No one says anything else about the wedding until the bible study ends. As people are leaving, Kim approaches you (the study leader) and asks, “Can I ask you something? Why do I get the feeling that not everybody here is as excited as I am about me getting married? I want to know.” Scenario: Kim has met “Mr. Right.” That’s what she has been telling your small bible study for the past two weeks. She met Larry just four months ago at the school where they both teach. Kim, who became a believer 3 years ago while in college, is a 23 year old, first year elementary school teacher. Larry, age 24 and also in his first year of teaching, is an only child who still lives at home. Kim says she “led him to the Lord” shortly after they met.

22 In a typical Hollywood movie, “love” occurs within a 2-hr In a typical Hollywood movie, “love” occurs within a 2-hr block of time. Two characters meet, get to know each other a little bit (maybe), begin to have feelings for each other, and then boldly assert they can’t live without each other. “Love” is not the best term to describe such instant attraction “Love” is not the best term to describe such instant attraction The notion of “falling in love” certainly falls far short of the biblical concept of love The notion of “falling in love” certainly falls far short of the biblical concept of love As demonstrated by Boaz in Ruth 4, true love exhibits some very tangible characteristics: As demonstrated by Boaz in Ruth 4, true love exhibits some very tangible characteristics: it takes action (Boaz initiated the redemption payment) it takes action (Boaz initiated the redemption payment) it is willing to pay the necessary price (Boaz calculated and delighted in paying the cost of redemption) it is willing to pay the necessary price (Boaz calculated and delighted in paying the cost of redemption) it is willing to be accountable (Boaz made a public commitment) it is willing to be accountable (Boaz made a public commitment) and consequently it received God’s blessing and consequently it received God’s blessing Case Study: Kim, a single young woman Kim’s view of love seems more influenced by Hollywood than the Bible. How so?

23 The idea that one can “fall in love” guts love of its volitional depth The idea that one can “fall in love” guts love of its volitional depth Emotions are wonderful but they must flow out of a person’s volition and action, as God Himself exemplified, “For God so loved the world the He gave His one and only Son” (John 3:16) Emotions are wonderful but they must flow out of a person’s volition and action, as God Himself exemplified, “For God so loved the world the He gave His one and only Son” (John 3:16) Kim’s view of love seems more influenced by Hollywood than the Bible. How so? Biblically understood, love is fundamentally a decision to take sacrificial action to meet the needs of another person motivated by a desire to please God Biblically understood, love is fundamentally a decision to take sacrificial action to meet the needs of another person motivated by a desire to please God When Kim says it was “love at first sight,” what she means is that she felt an immediate attraction to Larry when she met him … her understanding is feeling-based When Kim says it was “love at first sight,” what she means is that she felt an immediate attraction to Larry when she met him … her understanding is feeling-based The truth about feelings is that they can leave just as quickly as they came The truth about feelings is that they can leave just as quickly as they came True love, however, is unchanging. “It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Cor 13:7-8) True love, however, is unchanging. “It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Cor 13:7-8) Case Study: Kim, a single young woman

24 For Kim, the will of God is a personal, individual matter, something God makes known to me For Kim, the will of God is a personal, individual matter, something God makes known to me The Scriptures caution against this and emphasize the importance of seeking godly counsel The Scriptures caution against this and emphasize the importance of seeking godly counsel What are some questions that Kim may need to address? Here are a few questions Kim ought to consider (and we might encourage her to explore) as she seeks to discern God’s purposes for her life: Here are a few questions Kim ought to consider (and we might encourage her to explore) as she seeks to discern God’s purposes for her life:  What insight does Proverbs 15:22 (“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed”) give concerning decision making?  Does my understanding of love square with the Bible’s explanation (for instance, 1 Cor 13 and 1 John 4:7-21)?  Do I have a biblical basis for concluding that the wedding is truly the will of God?  Why did I become upset when I sensed that others didn’t seem to share my excitement about my wedding plans? Case Study: Kim, a single young woman

25 It’s vital to remember that a true friend doesn’t merely tell you what you want to hear (that’s flattery), but what you need to hear in order to please God It’s vital to remember that a true friend doesn’t merely tell you what you want to hear (that’s flattery), but what you need to hear in order to please God If you were the group leader Kim approaches, how would you respond to her? How might you use the story of Ruth in the conversation? Furthermore, a mark of maturity in the Body of Christ, is when we learn to “speak the truth in love” with one another (Eph 4:15) Furthermore, a mark of maturity in the Body of Christ, is when we learn to “speak the truth in love” with one another (Eph 4:15) In this scenario, Kim has opened the door by asking for honest input In this scenario, Kim has opened the door by asking for honest input For starters, I would thank her for coming to me, communicate my appreciation for her as a sister in Christ, and express my intent to seek the glory of our Savior and her good in this important decision For starters, I would thank her for coming to me, communicate my appreciation for her as a sister in Christ, and express my intent to seek the glory of our Savior and her good in this important decision I would emphasize that marriage is a wonderful gift given by our gracious and good God, and that by His design it is a picture of Christ’s relationship with His bride, the Church (Eph 5:23, 25) I would emphasize that marriage is a wonderful gift given by our gracious and good God, and that by His design it is a picture of Christ’s relationship with His bride, the Church (Eph 5:23, 25) This truth underscores the importance of exercising great discernment before entering marriage, since marriage isn’t just about me, but is an opportunity to exalt Christ This truth underscores the importance of exercising great discernment before entering marriage, since marriage isn’t just about me, but is an opportunity to exalt Christ Case Study: Kim, a single young woman

26 I would remind Kim that God in His wisdom has given us wonderful examples in His word of how real people honored Him in the past as they considered marriage I would remind Kim that God in His wisdom has given us wonderful examples in His word of how real people honored Him in the past as they considered marriage If you were the group leader Kim approaches, how would you respond to her? How might you use the story of Ruth in the conversation? I would encourage her to read the book of Ruth, asking her to pay particular attention to what we learn about love from the actions of Ruth and Boaz I would encourage her to read the book of Ruth, asking her to pay particular attention to what we learn about love from the actions of Ruth and Boaz I would then let her know that my wife and I could like to meet with her soon to discuss what she gleaned from reading Ruth as well as pray with her as she seeks God’s good purposes for her life I would then let her know that my wife and I could like to meet with her soon to discuss what she gleaned from reading Ruth as well as pray with her as she seeks God’s good purposes for her life Case Study: Kim, a single young woman As demonstrated by Boaz in Ruth 4, true love exhibits some very tangible characteristics: it takes action (Boaz initiated the redemption payment) it is willing to pay the necessary price (Boaz calculated and delighted in paying the cost of redemption) it is willing to be accountable (Boaz made a public commitment) and consequently it received God’s blessing


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