Boaz Character Study – Important Lessons For Singles From the Life of Boaz
Being the kind of man God wants you to be (this will be the foundation for a godly marriage).
From Ruth 2
1. Boaz is generous – He does not try to hoard his crops or make sure that he makes the most possible profit out of his field. Although he doesn’t know Ruth personally, he is happy to share what he has with her. From Boaz, we can learn an important principle about what God expects out of a Christian businessman.
God wants Christian business owners to use the resources He has given them in a wise and generous manner. While most secular businesses operate with the sole goal of squeezing every possible cent out of the business, we should not run a business this way. Consideration for others (employees or customers) should trump dollars and cents.
Application: Whether you run a business or are working for someone else, know that God has placed resources into your hands. Those should be used generously for building up God’s kingdom.
2. Boaz is considerate – Boaz treats Ruth in a loving way, caring for interests and needs. From this passage we can already see how he acts in love for her. That love is not romantic or sensual. It is simply putting her needs first and treating her in an kind, unselfish manner.
Note that Boaz not only does the minimum required by the law, but commands his workers to purposefully leave extra grain for her to pick (15-16). He is considerate because he does this without telling Ruth.
If he told her, how might she feel?
Boaz considers her feelings by making sure her needs are met, but not drawing attention to the fact that he was doing it. If he told her she would likely feel uncomfortable and embarrassed. She might protest. Or she might in turn make a big deal out of thanking Boaz and showing him appreciation. He did not do it for appreciation. He did not do it to impress her. He acted solely for her well-being.
Application: It is not always necessary to tell people what you did or will do for them. Jesus exhorted His disciples to give in such a way that the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing. In other words, give anonymously. Serve anonymously. This often goes against our nature to seek out praise from people. So next time you wash the dishes or fold the laundry, it is not necessary to toot your own horn and tell your spouse all about it.
3. Boaz’s communication shows us what is in his heart. – Boaz talks a lot about the Lord. Back in verse 4 he greets his workers with “The Lord be with you.” And in verse twelve he takes initiative to give Ruth a blessing and talk about Lord. His speech is filled with references to the God. Jesus said that “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” What a person enjoys talking about reveals the secret meditations of the heart. Boaz thought a lot about the Lord and looked at everything through a spiritual lens. Do your words reveal that you are focused on the things of God or something else?
4. Boaz is a gracious communicator – His words are seasoned with salt, giving grace to those who hear. Take note specifically of verses eleven twelve. Boaz was likely a business man. As a farm owner, he had a lot to handle. He had many workers under him. By the account in Ruth, he appears to be rich, which normally goes hand in hand with busy. But he doesn’t cut his conversation with Ruth short by politely ending it. He instead extends a lovely blessing. Boaz is a very good encourager. While Ruth may have felt lonely, destitute, and discouraged, Boaz says many positive words in order to build her up. He first comments positively on her character before ending with the blessing. However, Ruth may have felt before the conversation with Boaz it is almost sure that she felt better afterward.
Application: We too should have the goal to always let people feel better (more encouraged) after we talk to them than before.
From Ruth Chapter 3
A. Boaz still continues to invoke the name of the Lord (even in the middle of the night). – Matthew 12:34 says, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” If you want to know if a person curses or not perhaps one way is to startle them in the middle of the night. Boaz was startled in the middle of the night, but he didn’t curse. Instead the first words out of his mouth once he knows this is Ruth are, “The Lord bless you.” As we saw in chapter two when he greeted his workers with a blessing from the Lord, Boaz words are seasoned with salt and give grace to those who hear. It is not a pretense. He didn’t have time here to plan out what he was going to say. It was natural and demonstrated who he was.
Application: When you are startled, shocked, or in pain, how do you respond? Do you also have a habit of talking about the Lord and blessing others with your words?
B. Boaz loved Ruth. – We can infer this from verse 10. He interprets her willingness to marry him as “kindness.” While the closer relative may have considered Ruth a bother, a nuisance, or perhaps even worse, a leech, Boaz responds to her joyfully. Instead of looking down on her as a poor foreigner who would be a drain on his finances, Boaz loved her. Now we can begin to see that the heaps of kindness he poured on her throughout the whole harvest season was perhaps not only motivated out of kindness to the poor (although we can see that Boaz is this kind of man), but was perhaps enhanced because of his love for her.
In verse 10 we can catch a glimpse of what Boaz may have been concerned about and what could have been holding him back. He says, “You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor.” Boaz is clearly older than Ruth. Perhaps it is this age gap which made him hesitate before. While he loves Ruth and would enjoy nothing more than to make her his wife, he still had doubts that a man of his age would be desirable to Ruth.
From this we can also see that Boaz is selfless. True love puts others needs and desires first. And Boaz wanted above everything else for Ruth to be happy.
Look for a woman like Ruth (a woman who obeys God).
It is her character which attracts him. – In the entire four chapters, Ruth’s physical appearance is not mentioned one single time. Why? Was she beautiful? Was she ugly? It is not mentioned because it does not matter. Ruth had lived a hard life. Most field workers show the wear on their faces and their hands are hard and calloused. Much of the content in these four chapters introduces us to Boaz’s and Ruth’s character while there are zero mentions of their physical appearance. Thus we can conclusively say that spiritual character is of the utmost importance and appearance is way way down the list.
God wants your spiritual character to shine. The world says to young people, “show what you’ve got.” The idea is to get the attention of the opposite sex by showing off, normally by wearing immodest and revealing clothes.
But God’s way is not this way. See 1 Peter 3:3-5. Revealing your physical bodies will certainly get attention, but the wrong kind of attention. Ladies, the guys you attract by wearing revealing clothing are the wrong kind of guys. They are not marriage material. When you wear immodest clothes you will actually repel godly guys that are looking for godly character. They will see those clothes and rightly conclude that your heart is not in the right place. Instead let your chaste and godly conduct shine forth to glorify God and in the process it can attract attention from Mr. Right rather than Mr. Wrong.
What is the one quality you should look for in Mr. or Mrs. Right? From this passage we can see that it is not physical. The quality you should look for is an obedient heart. Joseph obeyed God by going through with the marriage to Mary even at potentially great cost to his own career and reputation. Mary obeyed God by accepting His plan for her and saying “let it be done to me as you have said,” also at potentially great cost to her future. If you could only write one quality on your list, it should be “a person who obeys God no matter the cost.”
What do you learn from this story?
- Having a mentor is very important.
- A mentor can potentially help two people get together who may not always act on their own.
- Communication should be clear.
- Neither side should seek to manipulate.
- Rumors and gossip should be avoided.
Principles of Courtship
Lesson #1 – Be proactive.
In verse 18 of chapter 3, Naomi told Ruth that Boaz would not rest until he has settled it today. She knew what kind of a person Boaz was. And we see that her observations about Boaz were true. In verse 1, Boaz went up to the gate. The city gate is where important transactions would take place. And Boaz immediately started the ball rolling. First he notified his relative whom he wanted to talk to. Next he got a group of the elders together.
Notice that throughout the passage Boaz is taking initiative. He knows what needs to be done and he does it without wasting time. Boaz is a man of action. When there is important things to be done, he doesn’t procrastinate and wait around until the last possible moment.
Some more wishy-washy men might drag their heels. They might want to wait a little while first. Some may want to wait to enjoy their last days of freedom as a bachelor. Some may want to wait in case a better offer comes up. After all, Ruth was a Moabite; this opportunity could have made Boaz reconsider the nice Jewish girls. But Boaz knew that Ruth and Naomi were waiting for his decision. Every minute of waiting would be agonizing for them, not knowing what the future would hold. To prolong this time of uncertainty for them, would be cruel and selfish.
Application: Throughout the passage we see that Boaz is an honorable man. And I emphasize “man!” Men, you need to learn from Boaz here. Be men of action. Be proactive. When it is clear that a course of action is from God, then do it and don’t waste time.
Also, don’t be wishy washy toward girls. Are you interested in a girl? Is the girl a believer? Have you prayed about it and received wise counsel? Are you ready for marriage? Then go forward! Take the next step! Be men of action! And if you are not ready for marriage, then stop playing around and pretending. Stop wasting the girl’s time!
Lesson #2 – Be open and transparent (sin hates the dark)
Besides being proactive, we also see that Boaz is open and transparent. He is not going to a dark room in a bar to make this deal. He is not doing anything underhanded or under the table. His actions are open and public for all to see because he has nothing to hide.
He conducts this business at the city gate. Anybody could observe the proceedings and say something relevant if necessary. Thus it was much like the modern question we sometimes ask at weddings, “If anyone knows any reason why these two should not be joined, let him speak now or forever hold his peace.” Nobody could later accuse Boaz of dealing less than honorably.
Cross-Reference – 1 John 1:5-7 – This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
He also invites ten of the city elders to join him. He was very willing for there to be witnesses to this conversation. But these were not only witnesses. As the city leaders, they were spiritual authorities. They had the authority to step in and correct Boaz if he got out of line. So Boaz was humble enough that he was willing to submit himself to the wise counsel of his elders. He realized this was a very important decision and he wanted to make sure it was done properly and in agreement with Scriptural principles.
Application: Singles, your relationship should be open and transparent, completely in the light. God has established the principle asking counsel as a safeguard to us against our own pride and subjectivity.
Proverbs 11:14 – For lack of guidance a nation falls, but with many counselors there is victory.
Here we learn that you should conduct your courtship among God’s people. Don’t get away from the church when dating so that you can feel free with fewer eyes watching you. Instead get together “in the church.” And I don’t mean only in the church building on Sundays. The church is God’s people wherever they are. Spend time with each other together with other believers. Be open with each other and open with the believers around you. Be humble enough to ask for help and listen to counsel. If you do, you will have a much healthier relationship and since it is on a strong foundation, it will last.
Lesson #3 – Practice clear and respectful communication
We also see that Boaz was clear and respectful in his communication. In verse 1, he called to his “friend” to turn aside. After this he clearly lays out the case. He does this in a factual and concise way and without any bias. He does not beat around the bush. He does not first waste time talking about the harvest or the weather or the World Cup. He has a task. He has a mission. He wants to finish it. He is not embarrassed or shy. Instead he is bold and confident. He can communicate in this way because he has nothing to hide.
Ephesians 4:25 says, “Let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor.”
Colossians 4:6 says, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”
Application: Once again, it seems that the application fits singles!
Men, if you want to start a relationship with a girl, be clear. Don’t say something vague like “So you wanna go with me?” Or even, “will you be my girlfriend?” What in the world does that mean? What is the purpose of this relationship? How long will this last? A long time ago, fathers used to ask guys interested in their daughters, “What is your intention toward my daughter?”
Guys, do you even know what your intention is? If your intention is to have a good time, girls what are you gonna say “get lost!” You should be able to write down or express in clear words what your intention is an what the expectations are. Eleven years ago, I asked Christy to court me. Then I said something like, “I believe that courtship is a time when two people intentionally get to know each other for the purpose of considering marriage.”
Clear communication will help your relationship get started off on the right foot. This will build a solid foundation for your marriage. But clear communication is something you will need to work at throughout your life in every area, but especially with your spouse.
Here are just a few simple tips:
A. Talk – This one is really complicated, “talk.” It’s very simple. But very important. You need to have quality time talking to each other. Talk about everything together.
B. Do not make assumptions. Do not guess what is in the other person’s mind. Ask more questions. You can ask a question such as “I understand that you are saying such and such, is that what you are saying?” Through this way you can eliminate misunderstandings.
C. Practice fair fighting. Probably you never fight together. You only discuss things loudly. But if you do fight, then try to keep it limited to the facts. Discuss the facts of the case clearly without reverting to attacks against the other person like “you always” or “you never.”
Character Trait #4 – Be selfless (look out for the lady, not for yourself)
Now we come to Boaz’s most significant character trait. If you were to read through chapter four looking for a key word, you would probably notice that a form of the word redeem is mentioned twelve times. And the concept of redemption is mentioned several more times.
God instituted what is often called Levirate marriage as a way to protect and take care of widows and also keep alive the deceased’s name and inheritance. In the text, we see that a brother is the first one responsible in this. By the time of Ruth, the Jews had expanded that to members of the extended family. As we see in this passage, this was optional. A man could decide he didn’t want to to do this. Then what? In Ruth we see that then they went to the next in line.
Boaz was the second in line. He was not the only person able to this by the law, but he was the only one willing to do it. When the first said, “I cannot redeem it,” then Boaz happily agreed to. This passage is the culmination of a beautiful story of redemption. Boaz is what we often call a type of Christ. He is a figure in the Old Testament which clearly portrays some aspect of Christ and His relationship to us. The aspect that Boaz portrays is Christ as our redeemer.
He took the initiative to redeem Ruth. He paid the cost. It was public. It was irreversible. It was an act of grace. Though Boaz took the initiative, Ruth had to respond and she did, accepting it.
Throughout the book of Ruth we see Boaz as a gentlemen, kind and considerate. He puts Ruth needs before his own. He is humble. Yet he is bold and not afraid to act with purpose.
Most importantly, Boaz point us to Christ. The husband is to love his wife just as Jesus loves the church. Let men resolve themselves to learn from Boaz to be like Jesus.
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