Trustworthy and Faithful
Now Naomi had a relative of her husband's, a worthy man of the clan of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz. ... But Boaz answered [Ruth], “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!” Ruth 2:1, 11-12
The timeless book of Ruth is timelier than ever. For the first time in U.S. history, the majority of adults are single. The same is true in many other nations around the world. As anyone seeking a mate can testify, finding a safe person is perhaps more difficult than ever.
Who can you trust, especially if you’re a single woman who is poor and new to a big city? That’s the situation Ruth found herself in as a new Christian on the brink of starvation in Bethlehem. At just the right moment,, Boaz, the human hero of the book of Ruth, steps onto the stage. His name means strength, and his excellence stands out among the other men in the book, who had failed in so many ways. Illustratively, his name also appears on one of the pillars in Solomon’s Temple (1 Samuel 9:1; 1 Kings 11:28; 2 Kings 5:1; Nehemiah 11:14). This is fitting because Boaz was a man with enough character and strength to hold up Ruth and Naomi so that their life wouldn’t crumble around them.
We are told that Boaz was a distant relative in some way through the family of Elimelech, Naomi’s deceased husband. Furthermore, he is spoken of as “a worthy man,” a title which is used throughout Scripture to refer to men of wealth (2 Kings 15:20), war (Joshua 6:2–3; Judges 6:12; 2 Samuel 17:8), and wherewithal (1 Samuel 9:1; 1 Kings 11:28; 2 Kings 5:1; Nehemiah 11:14). Boaz continually displayed such impeccable character, blessing everyone in the story, that many have called him a “type” (or symbol) of Jesus Christ. The great preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon referred to Jesus as “our glorious Boaz.” Though Boaz wasn’t a prophet, priest, or pastor, he is a paragon of piety.
Ruth’s character was also impeccable. Rather than dating, relating, and fornicating, this single and broke young woman worshipped, worked, and waited. With the two women likely very hungry and desperately in need of food, Ruth asked her mother-in-law, Naomi, for her approval to glean in the fields. In this request, we see that the women had hit the proverbial rock bottom. Ruth took a great risk, venturing out in faith as a foreign woman to scavenge for food in a new town.
- Looking back at your life, who has God brought into your life that was really a blessing?
- Looking at the character traits displayed in this passage, what would a man like Boaz look like today? A woman like Ruth?