What do you think Jesus meant when He said in John 14:15, “If you love me, keep my commandments”? The meaning is clear enough, but sometimes, in our stubbornness, we resist hearing and obeying authority. And if our experience of authority is an austere father or difficult boss, we wonder what love has to do with obedience. It almost sounds like manipulation — like, “If you really loved me you would take out the trash.”
When we think of love, we often think of romantic love — candles and chocolate and butterflies in the stomach. Jesus lived in a pre-Disney, pre-Oprah world where the concept of love was a little different. Jesus showed us love develops and is deepened through a close relationship and out of love comes a desire to serve and obey the ones you love, acting in their best interest.
Out of love comes a desire to serve and obey the ones you love, acting in their best interest.
Ruth showcases this kind of love like few other stories in the world. Ruth loves her mother-in-law and shows it by leaving her family and adopting Naomi’s people, culture, and God. Naomi loves Ruth and shows it by hatching a plan that will get Ruth a good husband to take care of her. Boaz shows his love by not taking advantage of Ruth when she comes to him in the night, redeeming the land and taking Ruth as his wife.
None of this would have happened if Ruth hadn’t obeyed Naomi — or if Naomi didn’t love Ruth enough to come up with the plan to begin with. Ruth had a choice of either going about getting a husband the way she wanted or trusting the wisdom and experience of her mother-in-law. She chose to obey and was blessed.
- How would you have felt about Naomi’s plan if you were Ruth?
- What is God asking you to do that you are being stubborn about?
- How is Boaz and Ruth’s love different from what we see in movies, and what can we learn from it?