What woman doesn't treasure a good love story? Christian women are no exception. Tales of love like that of Jacob and Rachel, Solomon and the maiden in the Song of Solomon, and yes, Ruth and Boaz, captivate us. Many a fiery sermon has been preached, encouraging single women to trust God for their Boaz and to hang in there, despite the disappointments they face.
But wouldn't it be nice to know who Boaz actually is so that we know what we're looking for?
I enjoy reading the Word of God and of course, I find the book of Ruth encouraging. But upon deeper study of the text, I came across some interesting facts about the alledged "love birds" we single ladies have been admonished to emulate.
First, Ruth was a widow and at that time, being a widow spelled an immediate decline in social and economic status. All three women: Naomi, Ruth and Orpah were widows. That means, all three women were impoverished. They had nothing. Their husbands were dead leaving them with no protection and sustaining wealth.
So who was Boaz? Boaz was a kinsman of Naomi's deceased husband. But upon further examination of the text, we discover that Boaz was an elderly man.
That's right... ELDERLY.
How old you ask? Some estimate his age to be around 80 year old.
Ruth at the time of the story was said to have been close to the age of 40.
How's that for perspective?
So while everyone's praying, "Send me my Boaz", most have no real working understanding of who they're referring to.
Was the relationship between Ruth and Boaz one of romance or a divine connect that brought much needed assistance to Ruth and Naomi?
Much is made about love and romance in western culture, but in the time of the bible, marriage and relationships were of higher honor and for a greater purpose. Marriages united nations, established communities, and delivered the poor from oppression and misery.
How's the "send me my Boaz" prayer sounding now?
There's nothing wrong with praying and asking God to send you a mate. I highly recommend that men and women seek the face of God for their spouses. However, when it comes to deciding on who we will marry, if we're going to use scripture as our basis, we must respect the text we reference.
In the case of Ruth and Boaz, a woman must ask herself, "Does this relationship meet my needs?" Already I feel people tightening up with that statement. Most people are clamouring for women to be independent and to "have their own". It takes an acceptional man to want to step into a role in a woman's life that meets a need for her. Many would prefer that she meet his.
But if we're looking at scripture, what did Ruth have to offer Boaz?
Was it houses? Land? Gold or silver?
She had nothing.
Did Ruth earn the honor of having an entire book of the bible named after her because she fought her way up the corporate ladder and presented Boaz with a hefty bank account of her own and assets to boot? No. She earned a spot in the bible because of her faith. She believed in the God of her mother-in-law, Naomi.
She was also faithful. When her circumstances told her it would be more profitable for her to leave Naomi because she was younger and still had time to remarry and reestablish herself elsewhere, she remained faithful to the family that was a blessing to her. She said to Naomi, "Entreat me not to leave thee". She was firmly planted and committed.
Boaz doesn't represent a knight in shining armor as many would presume. He's much greater than that. Boaz was a rich, elderly man who had the power to bless Ruth. In fact, we glean from the text that he felt honored that Ruth would even consider him for her kinsman redeemer, given his age and her youth.
The truth is that when it comes to your life and your relationships, they should serve a greater purpose than fulfilling sexual desires and pleasures. Maybe you have a dream or vision for your life that seems far greater than anything you could accomplish on your own. How does the man or woman you're considering as a spouse help meet the need of your vision?
Your "Boaz" may not fit the physical description of what society says you should aspire for. But he may be the one who unlocks your destiny and propels you forward into your destiny.
Imagine what would have become of not only Ruth, but Naomi also had Ruth been superficial instead of cognizant of her need and Boaz's position to meet it? No doubt there were countless other fellows Ruth could have considered, but only Boaz had the respect of Naomi and the answer to her need, all at the same time.
The truth about Boaz is that he's not necessarily the man of your dreams. Instead, he will be the man of your purpose and destiny, and you, his.