A few weeks ago at church, my Pastor preached a sermon that had nothing to do with Ruth, but in the middle of it, he looked right at me and said, “Don’t settle for a bozo when God wants to give you a Boaz.” I failed to contain my giggles, because it was a word spoken straight to me. The Lord had been speaking to me about Boaz the week prior and how funny that in a message that had nothing to do with marital relationships, the Lord’s servant would confirm his word in such a way that I couldn’t deny He was speaking to me about something specifically.
Thoroughly convinced that God was speaking a “word,” I finally went back to Ruth to read it. I have kept myself from the pages of Ruth because it does something in me every time I read it. The hope I’ve buried from weariness and fear reaches up and grabs ahold of my faith and pulls itself from the grave. I literally can’t stand this feeling of hopeful expectation, because that’s when the devil begins to berate me with all the reasons why I don’t deserve a man like Boaz. He furiously throws my past mistakes at me until I am overwhelmed with shame and guilt. Then I hatefully shove hope back into that pit I’ve kept it in and shovel all that dirt I regrettably believe on top of it.
Well, I couldn’t avoid it. I trust God, and am determined to stand on His Word. I am determined to steadfastly refuse the enemy’s lies. When I bring my past before God again and again, all He ever does is look at me incredulously and say, “What are you talking about?” And then I look at Him in amazement and realize that He’s forgotten all about it. It seems that the only reason I cannot is that Satan keeps throwing it in my face. So I read Ruth yesterday, and then, a few hours later, read it again. Both times, the Holy Spirit revealed some incredibly beautiful things to me.
To begin with, it is obvious from the moment Boaz saw Ruth that he was enamored with her. He immediately began asking questions about her, judging her character by the testimony of those who knew her. He watched her closely and when he finally had the opportunity to speak to her, he implored her, “Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here …I have told the men not to touch you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled.” In essence, “Don’t leave, I intend to take care of you.”
What I noticed about Ruth in this is that she simply allowed God to lead her into Boaz’s field and then she did nothing more. She was faithful to work in his field until he noticed, and finding a man was not her reason for being there. She was simply taking care of her family (i.e. Naomi).
A little farther into the book, Boaz actually prophesied Ruth’s redemption to her. He said, “May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.” I know well enough that Boaz must have known the words the Lord spoke against the Moabites years before when they refused to help the Israelites’ coming into the Promised Land. No Moabite was to have any fellowship with the people of God. But God honored what Boaz spoke, and in such a way that also honored Boaz.
Eventually, Naomi decided to help Ruth move on from her husband’s death. So she told her to put on her fine clothes and perfume and pursue a kinsman redeemer, Boaz. The role of the kinsman redeemer was to redeem the family property in the case of a man’s death. He was a relative of the deceased man and would redeem the his property to keep it in the family. Ruth did what she was told, and found herself at the feet of Boaz, inviting him share his mantle with her. Of course, Boaz knew enough about Ruth to know the blessings she would bring into his life. She was a loyal companion to her mother-in-law, she was hard-working and faithful. Her invitation to come under his mantle was symbolic. She was willing to come into his life and take on all that he carried. His job, his family, his God. “Spread your garment over me, since you are a kinsman-redeemer.”
Unfortunately, there was a slight glitch in the plan. There was a kinsman-redeemer closer than Boaz, and until the man had the opportunity to either accept or decline the property of Naomi’s son, Boaz could not have her. So he sets out the next morning to take care of business. He finds the man and mentions the property in question, and the man greedily accepts … until he realizes there’s a woman with baggage involved. In order for him to redeem the property, he had to be willing to also take Ruth as his wife. Taking Ruth would have also meant taking on Naomi. “At this, the kindman-redeemer said, ‘Then I cannot redeem it because I might endanger my own estate.” The man, not knowing a thing about Ruth and how noble she was, refused to redeem her simply to save his own assets. What a bozo!
Boaz walked away with a smile as wide as the sky. He understood the blessings awaiting him. He was okay with taking on Naomi if that meant he could enjoy Ruth’s companionship and love. He knew what a strong, kind woman she was. He didn’t let her past affect his present joy or steal his future joy.
Finally, I understand why this story means so much to me. Thank you, Lord, for men like Boaz. I thank you that there is a Boaz for me, and thank you for holding my heart while I wait for such a noble man. May you be glorified in all that you bring into my life. I love you.