“Christ Jesus was the Man of men, the model Man, the manliest Man in all respects, and yet He was, of all men, the most fully subordinated to the divine law and the most obedient in all things to the Father’s will! See your calling, my brethren! You, too, are not to be common men, nor to belong to the herd that run foolishly after their own lusts, but you are to be model men, manly and brave yet always submissive to the great Father of your spirits. We are to be such men that those who look upon us may wish that they were such as we are.”
Fellas, check out this 4-minute challenge I gave to Christian men on Father’s Day by clicking on the media player below… ↓
When we first meet Boaz, he is described as “a man of standing.” Some Bible translations say “a man of wealth,” which is an acceptable definition. In fact, the word can mean strength, wealth, valor, or prominence, but the root word means something brought forth out of travail and pain. That tells us that Boaz wasn’t born a man of standing, he became a man of standing by going through difficult times, not giving in to the downward slide of culture, and remaining true to God.
Boaz had a steel-forged integrity!
Believe me, it would have been easy for Boaz to compromise! This was a dark time of selfishness in Israel’s history. A time where just doing the bare minimum was acceptable because most of the Israelites were selfishly doing whatever would benefit them (Judges 21:25).
The other description we read about Boaz is that he is a “kinsman-redeemer.” This same word is used in this verse: “Plead my cause and redeem me; revive me and give me life according to Your word” (Psalm 119:154). A redeemer is one who is close by to help, has the strength or resources to help, and is willing to help. Of course, the perfect example of a Kinsman-Redeemer is Jesus, who became our human kinsman so that He could rescue us (see Hebrews 2:14; Philippians 2:7-8).
Boaz was given the opportunity to do this for Naomi and Ruth, and he seized the opportunity with gusto. Far from being a “bare minimum” man, Boaz always went the second mile to bless Ruth and Naomi:
he practiced the “hospitality clause” plus he protected Ruth and gave her more than was required
he provided food for his workers plus he provided food for Ruth and Naomi
he blessed his workers plus he blessed Ruth in the name of the Lord
Ultimately, Boaz did indeed become the kinsman-redeemer for Naomi (by paying off all the debts of her deceased husband) and for Ruth (by marrying this non-Israelite woman and bringing her into the family line of Jesus).
Boaz was King Solomon’s great-great-grandfather. When Solomon was completing the temple in Jerusalem, he erected two pillars at the entrance: one was named Boaz, and the other was Jakim (with means “God will establish”). Taken together these pillars proclaim the message: By His integrity and faithfulness, God establishes and makes firm.
Boaz exhibited integrity at every opportunity, which is what forged his character and made him “a man of standing.” Boaz demonstrated that integrity is really faith in God plus faith-filled, second-mile, others-focused actions.
“Faith without works is just wishful dreaming.
Works without faith is just religious posturing.
Works with faith is God-glorifying!” —Craig T. Owens
Men of God, please remember this:
Every Word of God that you read or hear is a test—will you obey Him or will you compromise?
Every setback you go through is a test—will you learn and grow or will you sulk and shrink back?
Every success you experience is a test—will you bless others or will you hoard your blessings?
Every decision you make in a dark culture is a test—will you just have faith, just have bare-minimum works, or will you exhibit the steel-forged integrity that comes from putting your faith to work?
God’s blessing on your life of integrity will show others a picture of Jesus. God’s blessing on your life of going the second mile will show others that it is God who establishes and makes firm.
Don’t rob your family, don’t rob us, don’t rob future generations of the outpouring of God’s blessing because you are selfish or compromising. Stand strong, trust God, go the second mile, be the kinsman-redeemer for those in need, and then watch for God’s blessings!
Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on Apple or Spotify.
John Maxwell said, “We overestimate what we can do in a day; we underestimate what we can do in a year.” In the case of parents, I think we do the same thing: we lose sight of the big picture when we get bogged down in the details and the pressures of each day. As a result, many times we are unaware of the long-lasting rewards that come from our daily obedience and God’s eternal faithfulness. This was never more true than in the fantastic love story of Ruth + Boaz.
Last week we looked at the history of Pentecost and what took place 50 days after the Passover, we saw a picture in the Old Testament that was fulfilled in the New Testament. The Jews saw this too. In the Hagiographa (Holy Writings), they picked one of the books of the Old Testament to read at each of the annual Jewish feasts, and the Book of Ruth was selected for Pentecost. I think this was because Ruth herself is in essence a “harvest” of God’s blessing. She is the firstfruits of the non-Jewish people whom God has engrafted into His holy family.
The story of Ruth’s coming into God’s family is birthed out of heartache. Elimelech and Naomi live in Bethlehem, which means “house of bread,” but it was a time of famine; Elimelech’s name means “God is King,” but Israel had no king and everyone lived for themselves; Naomi’s name means “pleasant,” but her days were bitter (see Judges 21:25; Ruth 1:1-5).
After Elimelech and his two sons die, Naomi changes her name to Mara (which means bitterness), and yet she hears “that the LORD had come to the aid of His people by providing food for them” (1:6) and she decides to return to Bethlehem. She counsels her daughters-in-law to remain with their families in Moab, but Ruth decides to cling to Naomi.
In the face of utter hopelessness, Ruth could have chosen what was familiar—her family, her homeland, her gods—but instead she chose to cling to Jehovah.
Perhaps when she heard that Jehovah had come to the aid of His people she realized, “I’ve never heard of Chemosh coming to the aid of his people. We sacrifice to him but he doesn’t do anything for us. This Jehovah cares for His people. I will put my faith in Him.”
Ruth’s first step of obedience triggers a whole series of events, starting with one that the writer of this story introduces by saying, “As it turned out, Ruth found herself working in a field belonging to Boaz.”
But this is no accident—God oversees and directs all of the details. All of history is His story. God is in charge of the tiniest of details: even down to directing Ruth to the right barley field. Ruth’s trust in Jehovah, her obedience in following Him, set things in motion that God had planned, just as Paul explained in Romans 8:28.
Moms, at the end of the story of your life, you will look back and see so many as-it-turned-out moments. But that means you are living in an as-it-turned-out moment right now.If you believe God is overseeing the details of your life, then every momentis divinely orchestrated by Jehovah, every moment is strategic, every moment is God-directed. You must remain daily obedient to God.
Don’t underestimate the legacy of God’s provision that is being established every single day that you remain obedient in following Him. Look at the amazing way God used Ruth and Boaz in the family tree of Jesus Christ (Ruth 4:16-22; Matthew 1:1-6).
Moms, your obedience today is preparing your children—and their future generations—for them to experience God’s provision in a coming famine (see Amos 8:11; Psalm 91).
Of course, Ruth can’t give birth to Obed without there being a father, which is why the story is called Ruth + Boaz. On Father’s Day we’ll look at the integrity of Boaz that made this possible too, so please make plans to join me then.
God has always been revealing Himself. Sometimes it’s in His Creation, or the conscience He placed inside every human, or the prophets who remind us of God’s ways. But ultimately God revealed His fullness in the Person of Jesus.
“God has always wanted His people to know Him—not in a generic or shallow way, but personally, as He truly is. So He revealed Himself in a progressive way, not only through His name, but also through His glorious presence that dwelt in the Temple, through the Law, and through His mighty deeds on behalf of His people. But these revelations all led up to a definitive revelation in the Person of Jesus.”
One of the ways the love of Jesus was revealed to us is in the story of Ruth and Boaz. This is one of my favorite Bible stories. It’s a short story, so please check it out when you have 10 minutes to read it.
Here’s the part of the story I want to share today. Ruth is…
a foreigner in Israel (she has no citizenship)
a widowed woman (she has no legal standing)
without money and no way to earn money, which means she is merely in survival mode
so far in debt that creditors are about to foreclose on the one remaining asset she and her mother-in-law have.
Ruth meets a man named Boaz, who is…
a rich land owner;
a “man of standing,” which can mean hero
well respected by the city leaders
a popular and successful employer
God-fearing and above-and-beyond obedient to God’s laws
Ruth, in an unexpected twist, asks Boaz to marry her!
Boaz has nothing to gain and everything to lose by agreeing to this marriage proposal, but he does it anyway!
In the language of the day, Ruth asks Boaz to “cover me with the corner of your robe.” This becomes the picture that Jesus will ultimately fulfill.
Not only does the corner of Christ’s robe heal people physically (Matthew 9:20-22; 14:34-36), but it also signifies His willingness to take in marriage anyone who is as utterly helpless as Ruth was.
Ruth had nothing but debts; we have nothing but debts. Ruth was barely surviving unless help came; we are headed for death without Jesus.
Boaz took Ruth as she was and gave her citizenship, legal standing, and riches. He covered her shame and allowed her to stand boldly in the city square.
Jesus takes us as we are and gives us citizenship in Heaven, a legal standing before Almighty God, all of His riches, and then…
All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before My Father and His angels that THEY ARE MINE!(Revelation 3:5)
Naomi had it rough. It seemed like everything in her life fell apart. And to add insult to injury, everything around her seemed to mock her pain—
She lived in Bethlehem, which means House of Bread, but there was no bread because of the famine.
Her husband’s name was Elimelech, which means God is my king, but instead of him trusting God, he trusted his own wits.
Her sons were supposed to bring her joy and a hopeful future, but their names also haunted her: Mahlon means sickly, and Kilion means wasting away.
Naomi hit rock-bottom—Now Elimelech, Naomi’s husband died… And after they had lived there about ten years both Mahlon and Kilion both died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband (Ruth 1:3, 5).
Is it any wonder Naomi—whose name means pleasant—wanted to change her name to Mara (bitterness)?
But somewhere deep inside, Naomi had courage enough to hang on to hope. She heard that God had once again provided bread in the House of Bread, and she returned home. She had no prospects for success, and her husband’s debts were still awaiting her, but she went back to Bethlehem with her daughter-in-law Ruth.
It was here they encountered Boaz. His name means pillar and he is described as “a man of standing” (2:1). Boaz was a kinsman-redeemer. Boaz is a picture of Jesus. As our Kinsman-Redeemer, only Jesus can…
Give our needs a voice as He intercedes for us
Bring us peace as He asks us to cast all our cares on Him
Pay all of our debts
Give us a hope-filled future
Especially as we remember Mothers Day, it’s a great reminder that a mother’s prayerful perseverance on her Kinsman-Redeemer yields blessings now and for generations to come!
Don’t give up! Jesus is your Kinsman-Redeemer, and He is waiting for you to cling to Him.
(The Book of Ruth is an absolutely amazing, hope-inspiring story. It you haven’t read it lately, you can read it through in just a few minutes.)
I love digging up stories in the Old Testament that are so timely for today! And I’ve got a great story to share with our men on Father’s Day.
It’s the story of a man who had the title kinsman-redeemer. Culturally, we don’t practice this anymore. But spiritually, the concepts are so on-target for today. I am really excited to share this with our men this Sunday, and then to watch our guys step up to the challenge of becoming a modern-day kinsman redeemer for the families.
I love the incredible love story in the Bible about Ruth and Boaz. I’m not sure why this hasn’t been made into a movie yet, because it would be a blockbuster!
Ruth is a picture of a God-fearing woman who turns her back on all she’s known to follow God’s leading. Boaz is a real man: strong, successful, respectful of women, honoring of tradition, hard-working, God-loving. You would expect in a story about two people who love God, and who fall in love with each other, and who have a son who becomes the grandfather of King David, that there would be at least one “divine moment.” You know, one of those unmistakable God-ordained moments when everything falls into place.
Here it is. In chapter 2 when Ruth first meets Boaz—when they have their first divine encounter—the Bible says:
As it turned out, Ruth found herself working in a field belonging to Boaz.
As it turned out?!? That’s not very romantic. Or powerful. Or even God-honoring. Other translations are equally as bland:
The Message: Eventually she ended up in the field owned by Boaz.
ESV: She happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz.
KJV: And her hap was to light on a part of the field belonging to Boaz.
You see, we know the end of the story. We know God was in control of their lives. We know God set it up for Ruth and Boaz to cross paths. And yet even Samuel (or whoever wrote down this story) or Ruth (or whoever told this story to the author) could hardly believe it. “I just happened to end up in the right field at the right time!”
At the end of the story of my life, I think I will look back and see so many as-it-turned-out moments. So many things that just-so-happened. But that would mean I’m living in an as-it-turned-out moment right now. If I believe God is directing my paths, then…
…every momentis divinely orchestrated.
…every moment is strategic.
…every moment is God-directed.
If you knew that this moment was a divine moment, how would you live differently? If you knew this was an as-it-turned-out, God-directed moment, how would you respond?