You don’t hear a lot about femininity these days. In our modern society where feminism is touted and gender neutralism is championed, femininity has been misunderstood, misconstrued and even shunned. Because of that, it has become increasingly difficult for women to understand and appreciate their own femininity.
But Ruth leaves us a beautiful legacy of biblical femininity. She was not only bold, brave, selfless and strong, she was also submissive, steadfast, vulnerable and loyal.
Yesterday, Kathy did a wonderful job expounding on the significance of Ruth’s journey to Boaz’s feet. It wasn’t a brash attempt to take a man’s role by asking for his hand in marriage – it was a humble, very modest and feminine request for the kind of protection which is only found in the context of marriage.
Notice how the Amplified gives clarity to her request:
“And he said, Who are you? And she answered, I am Ruth your maidservant. Spread your wing [of protection] over your maidservant, for you are a next of kin.” Ruth 3:7
In submission to her mother-in-law’s instructions, Ruth placed herself at the feet of the one she knew had the power to redeem her. It was at his feet that she asked for protection. It was at his feet that she was willing to make a fool of herself and risk rejection. It was at his feet that she humbled herself in hopes that he would make her his.
Although we never have to risk rejection, it is at our Savior’s feet that we find redemption and protection. It is at His feet that we humble ourselves and He makes us His.
Perhaps it’s just misunderstood, but femininity is anything but a demonstration of weakness. Somehow masked behind a certain kind of dignity, it becomes a manifestation of strength and grace.
Look at Boaz’s response in the Amplified…
And now, my daughter, fear not. I will do for you all you require, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of strength (worth, bravery, capability). Ruth 3:11
The Bible is full of women who have given us inspiring examples of femininity to follow. Let’s look at just a few:
Sarah – a submissive yet strong woman 1 Peter 3:6
Deborah – a wise, brave and bold woman who was submissive yet strong Judges 4:14
Abigail – a wise and brave woman who sought mercy for her ungodly husband 1 Samuel 25:3
Proverbs 31 Woman – strong, wise, brave, bold, industrious, faithful, fervent and virtuous – let’s just say she had it all! Proverbs 31:10-31
Mary – a humble, submissive and courageous young lady Luke 1:38
History has also left us a legacy of beautiful femininity to follow:
Susan Wesley – strong, wise, dedicated and disciplined – mother of John and Charles Wesley
Catherine Booth – strong, wise, faithful, bold, visionary, mission-minded, benevolent – cofounder of the Salvation Army
Betty Greene – bold, brave, smart, mission-minded, industrious, giving – cofounder of Missionary Aviation Fellowship
Elizabeth Elliot – brave, bold, strong, wise, mission-minded, faithful, fervent
In a conversation Elizabeth Elliot once had with Betty Greene, Elizabeth asked Betty how she had been so successful in the man’s world of aviation. Betty replied, “I made up my mind that if I was going to make it in a man’s world, I had to be a lady.”
In our study of Ruth, we have seen a wise, strong, steadfast, loyal, brave, bold and benevolent woman who knew exactly what it meant to act like a lady. May we boldly be what we are – ladies!
I can’t help but think that if we start wearing our biblical femininity well, it will become the new black! :-)
Do you struggle with understanding or living out biblical femininity?
RESOURCE: Elisabeth Elliot’s transcripts of The Gift of Femininity from Gateway to Joy