Respect for Women
Today’s reading: Ruth 2:1-1 Samuel 1:20
My selection: Ruth 2:8, 9, 22
8 Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Now, listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. 9 Let your eyes be on the field that they are reaping, and go after them. Have I not charged the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink what the young men have drawn.”
22 And Naomi said to Ruth, her daughter-in-law, “It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, lest in another field you be assaulted.”
My reflections: Reading between the lines, one can easily see that, in Israel, during this period of the Judges, a poor woman gleaning in the harvest along side of the men would be in danger of being assaulted if she did not have the protection of the landowner. The poor had the right to gather behind the reapers (Leviticus 19:9-10; 23:22; Deuteronomy 24:19), but, in actuality, they were not safe from being accosted. God protected Ruth, but we are reminded of what little fear of God existed in those days in Israel. Legal rights and status do not change the hearts of men who can treat women as if they were a product to be consumed or exploited.
Christian men should be different if they understand that women, in general, and their mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, and female friends in particular were created in God’s image and are due equal respect not merely legally but socially and personally. Boaz modeled this beautifully in protecting Ruth from his workers. He did not allow her to be abused or exploited.
My challenge: Men, are you treating the women in your life with respect? Are you protecting them from exploitation as much as depends on you?
Women, do you know that you are worthy of respect as a woman? Are you alert and resistant to those men who are selfish and abusive? Is there a Boaz in your life who looks out for your best?
Jesus Christ, our ultimate Redeemer, is the One who truly frees us from the bondage of our sin as Boaz freed Ruth from the bondage of her poverty and childlessness. He is the model for all Christian husbands.
Ephesians. 5:25,33 “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her… let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
A husband that loves like Christ will be easy to respect. A woman who holds out for a husband like that will find it easy to respect him.
Tomorrow’s reading: 1 Samuel 1:21-4:22