Listen, waiting for your Boaz is not easy. So, who is this man named Boaz anyway and why am waiting for a modern day version of him? It begins with one of my favorite stories, the story about Ruth in the Bible. Despite the urging of her mother-in-law, Naomi, to stay in Moab, return to her parents’ household, and re-marry, Ruth displays a beautiful portrayal of loyalty when she clings to Naomi (Ruth 1:14) and says, “For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God” (1:16). This act of faith is a commitment to her mother-in-law, her hard work in the fields, and her own lovely character, brought about a harvest of blessing upon Ruth, as God drew a man named Boaz to notice her, pursue her, and marry her.
Here are some key characteristics of my modern-day Boaz
He is Worthy
Boaz was described as a worthy man (2:1) who believed in the Lord (2:4).
A modern-day Boaz will: Have a good reputation because he’s proven himself to be a man of character and worth by his actions. He will have a solid relationship with the Lord, which is of great importance for a woman of worth (3:11). Thus, you will be equally yoked in your relationship, with each person growing in their faith, serving the Lord, and evidencing the fruit of the Holy Spirit, a key characteristics of a man who is marriage-material.
He is a Protector
Boaz encouraged Ruth to glean in his own field, so that she would be safe among the other women. He also charged the young men of his field not to touch her (2:9).
A modern-day Boaz will: Protect your purity, as well as his own, by respecting boundaries. He knows that sex is a sacred act to be enjoyed only in marriage, and he appreciates your high standards. Guard your heart, by making known his intentions to pursue you when the time is right. You will know where he stands. He won’t lead you on by just “hanging out” with you for an extended period of time, enjoying the benefits of your company without accepting appropriate responsibility toward you.
He is a Provider
Boaz met Ruth’s needs. He gave her plenty of water to drink (2:9), provided meals for her (2:14), and gave her an abundance of barley to share with Naomi (3:15).
A modern-day Boaz will: Work hard. He is a mature, responsible man with the right priorities. Being a provider is not about making lots of money. It’s about a man meeting the basic needs of his wife and children. Properly understand a man’s Biblical role as the leader of the household. Under his leadership and banner of protection, you will feel safe and secure as his wife. This is because he has your best interests in mind, serves you sacrificially, and loves you as Christ loved the church.
He is Observant
Ruth caught Boaz’s eye (2:5), but he also noticed her inward character, good deeds (2:11-12), and kindness (3:10).
A modern-day Boaz will: Find you attractive and be attentive to you! It’s important to have the “spark.” He will cherish your inner beauty and appreciates these qualities in you. He will encourage you verbally when he notices you acting with integrity, kindness, and love. He will find out what makes you tick, and seek to understand you more fully over time. He will notice what you enjoy, and do little things from time-to-time just to make you smile.
He is Compassionate
Boaz had care and concern for others, loving his neighbor as himself. As the owner of a field, Boaz showed generosity and compassion on the less fortunate by following Levitical law (Leviticus 19:9-10).
A modern-day Boaz will: Look for opportunities to bless others. Serve wholeheartedly Give generously, as God prompts him to do so. Be kind and loving to the “littlest and least,” not looking down on others in self-righteousness. Utilize his spiritual gifts to edify the body of believers and honor God.
He is a Man of Integrity
Boaz knew that there was a closer relative who had “first dibs” in redeeming Ruth (3:12-13). He took the proper steps (4:1-6) to win her hand in marriage. In fact, he couldn’t even rest until the matter was properly settled (3:18). Boaz also had witnesses (4:9) to confirm that he acted with integrity.
A modern-day Boaz: Does not manipulate, cheat, or lie. He has nothing to hide. Does what is right, even when it’s hard. Respects the authorities in his life. Heeds the wise counsel of a more seasoned Christian man, such as a pastor or mentor, who will come alongside him, ask tough questions, hold him accountable, and encourage him in Christ-likeness.
Does a modern day Boaz even exist? Yes, this kind of man is rare, but he does exist!
I’m still waiting for the Lord to bring “the one” into my life. Drawing from many, many years from past experience, my eyes are now opened to what is truly valuable. And as God grows me in my womanhood, I see very clearly what I want in a future husband. It’s not about what he looks like or what he likes, but what he is like…
A young man may not have the qualities fully developed. Boaz was an older man (3:10), and I don’t expect a man in his 20s to have the same level of wisdom as an older man because of experience and years of refinement. Heck, even men who have grown in character will disappoint, make mistakes, and willfully sin at times. With that, I am looking to the character of a man for evidence that he is actively and purposefully headed in the right direction, and growing as a man of God.
Solid Ground: Boaz and Ruth
Boaz is a major figure in The Book of Ruth in the Bible. Boaz lived at the time of Eli. He was a rich landowner who noticed Ruth, the widowed Moabite daughter-in-law of Naomi, gleaning grain from his fields. He soon learns of the difficult circumstances her family is in and is warmed by Ruth’s loyalty to Naomi. In response, Boaz invites her to eat with him and his workers regularly as well as deliberately leaving grain for her to claim while keeping a protective eye on her. Boaz married Ruth and Boaz purchased the family lands that Naomi had sold, and restored them to Elimelech’s lineage. Even their firstborn was considered a son of Elimelech’s lineage. For those redeeming factors, Ruth’s husband is considered by Christians to be a a good man. Although Boaz is noted to be much older than Ruth in the traditional account and he marries her for Naomi’s sake, most dramatic adaptations have Boaz as a handsome young man so as to enhance the romantic nature of the story. Their son was Obed, father of Jesse, and grandfather of David.
Biblical reference: Ruth Meets Boaz in the Grain Field
2 Now Naomi had a relative on her husband’s side, a man of standing from the clan of Elimelek, whose name was Boaz. And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.”
Naomi said to her, “Go ahead, my daughter.” 3 So she went out, entered a field and began to glean behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she was working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelek.
4 Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, “The Lord be with you!” “The Lord bless you!” they answered.
5 Boaz asked the overseer of his harvesters, “Who does that young woman belong to?”
6 The overseer replied, “She is the Moabite who came back from Moab with Naomi. 7 She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the harvesters.’ She came into the field and has remained here from morning till now, except for a short rest in the shelter.”
8 So Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here with the women who work for me. 9 Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the women. I have told the men not to lay a hand on you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled.”
10 At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She asked him, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me—a foreigner?”
11 Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. 12 May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”
13 “May I continue to find favor in your eyes, my lord,” she said. “You have put me at ease by speaking kindly to your servant—though I do not have the standing of one of your servants.”
14 At mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come over here. Have some bread and dip it in the wine vinegar.”
When she sat down with the harvesters, he offered her some roasted grain. She ate all she wanted and had some left over. 15 As she got up to glean, Boaz gave orders to his men, “Let her gather among the sheavesand don’t reprimand her. 16 Even pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up, and don’t rebuke her.”
17 So Ruth gleaned in the field until evening. Then she threshed the barley she had gathered, and it amounted to about an ephah.[a] 18 She carried it back to town, and her mother-in-law saw how much she had gathered. Ruth also brought out and gave her what she had left over after she had eaten enough.
19 Her mother-in-law asked her, “Where did you glean today? Where did you work? Blessed be the man who took notice of you!”
Then Ruth told her mother-in-law about the one at whose place she had been working. “The name of the man I worked with today is Boaz,” she said.
20 “The Lord bless him!” Naomi said to her daughter-in-law. “He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead.” She added, “That man is our close relative; he is one of our guardian-redeemers.[b]”
21 Then Ruth the Moabite said, “He even said to me, ‘Stay with my workers until they finish harvesting all my grain.’”
22 Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, “It will be good for you, my daughter, to go with the women who work for him, because in someone else’s field you might be harmed.”
23 So Ruth stayed close to the women of Boaz to glean until the barley and wheat harvests were finished. And she lived with her mother-in-law.
Sources: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ruth+2&version=NIV; http://www.startmarriageright.com