The world is full of men. Honestly, some of them are like the men that Carrie Underwood sings about. There’s the father in “Blown Away” who was abusive. There’s the adulterer in “Two Black Cadillacs” who led a double life. And yes, there are times in my life when I listen to Carrie Underwood. Lately, for instance. “Good Girl” happens to be a favorite for me these days. There have been men who have crossed paths with me that fit into the category of “no good for you.”
But still, I know good men exist. I know because I’ve seen them. There’s a pastor at my church that noticed during a period of time when I didn’t seem like myself. There’s the man who brought me topsoil for my raised beds this spring. There’s the grandfather figure, along with his wife, that showed up for me after the death of a friend. There are those men who love their wives and treasure their children, and I can see that. There are men that are genuine.
I have someone else to present to you today. His name was Boaz. He was the son of Salmon and Rahab (Matt. 1:5). If you are familiar with the Bible, you will remember that Rahab was the prostitute in Jericho who hid the Israelite spies. She was a foreigner, which I think very possibly affected Boaz’s views on life. I’ll explain later. Salmon and Rahab named their son “strength.” Indeed, he would turn out to be a strong man. Physically, we don’t know his capabilities, but we do know that he was a strong man at heart with a strong character. I like Boaz. Quite frankly, I’d like to marry someone like him.
When Ruth came into Boaz’s life, he went out of his way to show her kindness. Personally, I think one of the reasons he was so willing to show a non-Israelite woman kindness was because of who his mother was. We as humans are quick to look down on people who are different than ourselves, but if we have walked in their shoes, we aren’t as likely to condemn.
Kindness is one of the marks of a man worthy of respect. When someone goes out of their way to provide for the needs of others, it shows a heart of love. Boaz was already doing Ruth a favor simply by letting her glean in his field, but he did so much more than that. He invited her to eat with them. He gave her instructions to drink the water that his workers had gotten. And in a delicate way, he further provided for her, without hurting her dignity, by instructing his workers to purposely drop grain for her to gather. What incredible sensitivity!
Boaz also protected her. He said, “‘Have I not commanded the young men not to touch you?’” (Ruth 2:9 NKJV) He was concerned for her well-being as a woman and recognized her vulnerability. In today’s world, women like to prove their ability to take care of themselves, but personally, I love the way Boaz validated Ruth’s worth as a woman by showing her that her body was something he would respect and he would make sure others did the same.
Boaz was quite decidedly not an immature adolescent. He had servants and grain fields, and he was involved in the work that went on. I’m not saying a man has to have reached success in the business world before pursuing marriage, not at all. However, he should have a job. Expecting him to have a job is most decidedly not being too idealistic.
Whether you’re a romantic or not, you have to love the way Boaz responded to Ruth when she came to him asking for a remarkable favor. Had I been Ruth, I would have been blushing inside and out at the seeming boldness of the request. “Excuse me, sir, but you know that I am a widow, and it is the duty of a relative of my late husband to give me a child. You are a relative. Will you marry me?” Oh no! All the awkwardness just laid out in the open. I wrote a blog post previously exploring this issue a little bit- check it out: https://twentysomethingthoughts.com/2020/04/09/ruth-taking-risks-for-love
But Boaz had such a charming response. He does not say, “You shameless woman! How dare you presume upon my kindness like this?” Instead, he makes her feel like she is doing him an honor by coming to him rather than “young men, whether poor or rich.” (Ruth 3:10 NKJV) In responding to her like he does, he is gently cradling her heart.
He recognizes, however, that he is not the man who has the first right to marry her, and this shows his fairness. He’s willing to give the other man a chance. He plays by the rules, and while this may not seem at first glance to be a romantic quality, it demonstrates his trustworthiness. He is a man that can be depended on, and that is worth a lot. Naomi says of him, “…the man will not rest until he has concluded the matter this day.” (Ruth 3:18 NKJV) He is not a shirker of responsibility, and he is also prompt.
In short, Boaz was a man of integrity. And personally, I think that is pretty attractive. I’m a woman, and I like a handsome man as much as the next woman. But in the end, strong marriages are not built on appearance and fun feelings alone, rather on commitment. I’m rather intrigued by the story of Boaz and Ruth. But then again, I’m a hopeless romantic, so why wouldn’t I be?!