Monday, February 28

The Biblical character that Christian men "hate" hopefully "hate" is too strong of a word and not applicable whatsoever.
However it occurred to me today, in church, that in my mind, Boaz is the perfect Biblical man (besides Jesus, of course). Not literally perfect because only Christ was and is perfect. But figuratively perfect.

He is the "Mr. Right" of the Bible...the man's man who had prestige, integrity, and respect in his community.

He was devoted to following God and doing what was right. We see that in how he obeyed the laws of allowing widows and strangers to glean the edges of fields or the grains that had fallen to the ground. We see that in how he took care of Ruth, offering her both food and protection, upon learning that that she was a widow supporting her widow mother-in-law. We see that in how he honored the kinsman-redeemer laws.

Moreover, in the short book of Ruth, we see attributes of kindness, leadership, and wisdom. As a single girl, I can't help but think "I want a Boaz too." He is the Biblical Mr. Charming.

I think because of that we, and I mean I, tend to read this as the ultimate love story. However, I think it's easy to overlook the reality for the romance. Beyond providing for Ruth (and Naomi), did Boaz have any affection for Ruth? We don't really see any action or pursuit out of Boaz until Ruth mentions his kinsman redeemer role. Did he not pursue anything out of lack of interested? Was it a lack of belief that Ruth would be remotely interested? Or was he simply too busy overseeing his harvest that it just wasn't the right time?

Another element is that Boaz was the cousin of Ruth's father-in-law. We have no clue on the age span between Ruth and Boaz but it could have easily been 20-40 years. While Boaz might make me swoon, did Ruth have any interest in this guy or just pursue marriage to him to obey Jewish laws and find societal protection? And for the sake of this post, let's say she didn't have any romantic thoughts towards Boaz when she married him. Did they come to have a deep love for one another? Did Ruth realize that Boaz was a gift to her? Did Boaz realize Ruth was a gift to him? Perhaps this story will be fleshed out when we get to heaven...I sure hope so!

But the part of the story that I do know and love the most is the part that isn't written in the book of Ruth. Why was Boaz so kind and accepting of an outsider? Why did he so quickly welcome her in, without really knowing her first? Because of his parents.

You see, his mom was also an outsider to the Jewish family. His mom was Rahab, a prostitute who recognized that the God of the Hebrews was the only true God and asked two spies for protection and salvation. Once the walls of Jericho and its inhabitants were destroyed, only Rahab and her family were saved however because they were outsiders (and Rahab was a prostitute!) they set the family outside the camp. However, in Joshua 6, we see that Rahab remained with the Israelites and ended up marrying one of them.

If you go to Bible Gateway and do a search on Rahab, of all the references that speak about her, the only time we see any mention of her WITHOUT her former profession tied to her name is in Jesus' lineage, in Matthew 1:5. Every other time, she is Rahab the prostitute. Does this mean that even though she married into the Jewish family and accepted their God as her God, that most people only saw her for who she was? Perhaps. If so, Boaz grew up seeing his mom treated as an outsider. But he would have also seen his dad treat Rahab as his chosen wife and a part of God's chosen. What a legacy they left him! God prepared Boaz to meet and marry Ruth through the orchestration of his own lineage. I love that!

The book of Ruth provides a great story and perfect or not, it gives men today a wonderful godly example in the life of Boaz.

Tomorrow, the Biblical character that Christian women hate. :)

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