So she lay at his feet until morning, but got up before anyone could be recognized; and he said, “No one must know that a woman came to the threshing floor.” Ruth 3, verse 14.
Yesterday at church, our worship leader, Anthony, led a confession time based on the Fourth Commandment. “Honor your father and mother.” One point he made was that honoring our parents is a way of honoring God, which is part of the reason why the commandment says what it says. What of honor?
I’ve read a lot of books about the Confederacy and why the South started, fought, and lost the Civil War. One of the canards easily dispensed across most books I’ve read was that Southern fighters fought for and with honor. They fought for anything but honor. Honor isn’t Crips and Bloods shooting each other because of perceived slights (or murders). Honor isn’t murdering your daughter because she kisses a non-Muslim boy. Honor isn’t something the Don enforces through his consigliere, and honor definitely isn’t between thieves.
If that’s what it isn’t, then what is honor?
Webster’s defines honor (in the context we’re discussing) as “high regard or respect; good reputation; something done or given as a token of respect.” If you read the story of Ruth and Boaz on the threshing floor, you learn a lot about honor with which Webster might agree. Boaz says and does things to protect Ruth’s honor (and chastity as a young widow). Boaz also allows the ruse of protecting Ruth’s identity and presence on the floor so that he might honor her.
So that he might honor her. So that Boaz might give her respect by ensuring nobody would insinuate Ruth had gone to meet him with impure intentions. So that Ruth’s integrity would be preserved in all cases. So that she would know he respected her and might fall in love with him. So that love might increase.
So that God might be praised.
When we truly honor someone, whether it be the person we want to marry or the man and woman who raised us, we are giving honor and praise to the God who is Lord of all. That’s why the commandment says what it says. It’s why Boaz acted the way he did. It’s how we should honor as well.
Lord, help me to honor You in everything I do Remind and teach me to honor You in how I honor others.
Read Ruth 3.