The story of Ruth is also of course the story of Boaz and what an incredible story it is. Boaz is the land owner who sees a foreign widow gleaning in his field and when he finds out who she is insists that she is protected and well treated.
Of course, Boaz at one level is simply the typical righteous Israelite. He’s just doing what the law requires by providing access to his field for Ruth. However, consider this. First of all, I’m sure that Boaz could have made a case to be exempt from the duties of the Law. It’s been a testing time and things still remain uncertain. Who is to say that there will be a plentiful harvest next year or the year after. Of course, the law encouraged charity but didn’t that charity start at home with fellow Israelites. Just as governments are reining in the their international aid budgets surely Boaz would have been excused a little frugality.
Even if Boaz chose to meet the Law’s requirements he did not need to go as far as he did. He could have simply permitted Ruth access to his field. Then the day after he could have encouraged her to move on to another farmer’s field. He would have done his bit and the burden would have been shared. However, he does not do that. Instead Boaz chooses to act generously to Ruth, he lavishes grace and compassion on her. She is invited to eat with him, he tells his harvesting team to ensure she is well provided for, he welcomes her to keep coming back to his field.
You see Boaz is acting righteously but not in a legalistic manner. He isn’t simply doing the minimum necessary. Boaz shows grace towards Ruth and Naomi, he acts with love and compassion. He goes over and beyond what is required.
This should first of all challenge us to see something in his example. Would we be like Boaz in his situation. Are we willingly generous, open handed with what God has given us, willing not just to give help but time too? Are our hearts motivated by love and compassion? Do we do the bare minimum, what is required or will we go over and beyond for others?
There’s a lot of talk about “Biblical manhood” and what that might be at the moment. Well if you want to know what it means to be a Biblically righteous man then start by looking at Boaz’s example. I’ve mentioned before that I believe we see in God’s call to Adam to till and keep the garden of Eden a focus on provision and protection which is a responsibility that we as men should feel. It’s that responsibility that feeds into Paul’s instruction to the Ephesian elders to feed the flock of God’s people with His word and protect him from wolves – from false teachers and abusers.
Boaz demonstrates those characteristics. He provides for Ruth and protects her not just by allowing her to glean or inviting her to his table but by undertaking to be her kinsman redeemer. And of course there we see that Boaz does more than provide us with an ethical example, he acts as a type, model, foreshadowing or Easter egg pointing us forward to Christ.
Boaz was the redeemer that Ruth needed. He stepped in to rescue her, to protect her, to provide for her and he did that by becoming her husband. As kinsman redeemer her was laying aside some of his own ambitions and priorities to redeem his relative’s family line. Jesus is the one who has redeemed us and given his life for us so that we become Christ’s bride. Boaz showed generosity, he lavished grace upon Ruth. Christ lavishes grace on us.
What wonder of grace is this,
What story of passion divine,
Where judgement and mercy kiss,
Where power and love are entwined?
No tongue can speak this glory,
No words express the joy You bring
As I enter the courts of the King.
My desire is to come to this place,
My desire is to look on Your face,
Perfect in beauty, in truth and love,
Your glory shines over all the earth;
The King who lavishes grace on us is here.
Your will is my daily bread,
Enough for my plenty and need;
I’ll live by the words You’ve said,
And follow wherever You lead.
And though my flesh may fail me
You prove Your grace in all I do,
Lord my heart is devoted to You.
 Stuart Townend Copyright © 2002 Thankyou Music (Adm. by CapitolCMGPublishing.com excl. UK & Europe, adm. by Integrity Music, part of the David C Cook family, firstname.lastname@example.org)