Ruth 2:1 (KJV) And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband’s, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz.
I love the book of Ruth. I am so grateful that God put Ruth in the canon of Scriptures. I can be a hopeless romantic, so when I read the book of Ruth, I see a beautiful story of human love. Though the Bible doesn’t specifically say “Boaz loved Ruth”, I believe he did love her. She wasn’t just a duty to him. He truly wanted to marry her. But the book of Ruth isn’t a romance novel. There is so much more under the surface that we can study and apply to our lives.
When I read the book of Ruth, I see not only a human love story, but also a picture of Jesus Christ. The love that Boaz showed Ruth is a picture of Jesus’ love for the church. Today, I want to show you a few of the ways Boaz is a picture of Jesus. There may be more similarities, but these are what stand out to me. (I am going to assume you have read the book of Ruth. If you have not, it is only 4 chapters and will take you only about thirty minutes.)
- Boaz loved an outcast. Ruth was from Moab, a people who were forbidden from being part of the congregation of Israel (Deuteronomy 23:3). She was poor and a widow. Most likely she was still in mourning when she traveled back to Bethlehem with Naomi. Do you see the picture? Jesus loves us, even though we may be outcasts, poor, mourning, or any other negative trait you can think of. Jesus loves us. Wow!
- Boaz was a near kinsman. He was closely related to Elimelech (Naomi’s husband), but he was not the nearest kinsman. He gave the other kinsman an opportunity to redeem Ruth, but that man could not, or would not, do so. When the nearer kinsman chose not to redeem Ruth, Boaz claimed his legal right and married her. In the book Romance of Redemption, M.R. DeHaan describes this as a picture of the flesh and Jesus. The flesh (our nearest kinsman) could not redeem us, so Jesus stepped in and became a man. He paid the penalty for our sins to redeem us. We are now a part of His Church, the Bride of Christ.
- Boaz was wealthy. Jesus is also wealthy. Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” There is no end to what the Lord can give to us because everything is His.
- Boaz noticed Ruth. The first thing he said was, “Whose damsel is this?” (Ruth 2:5). Boaz took an interest in Ruth from the first moment he saw her. I wonder if he began to think about being her kinsman redeemer that day. Forgive my romantic side, but could it have been “love at first sight”? Did you know the Lord Jesus fell in love with us before we were conceived? “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). God set the plan for salvation in motion when He created man. When man sinned in Genesis 3, that plan began to unfold. God promised He would send a Savior before we ever sinned. How amazing it is to be noticed by God.
- Boaz spoke tenderly to Ruth. “It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore. The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.” (Ruth 2:11). Here’s my romantic side showing again. Can you hear Boaz saying these words to Ruth? I imagine he spoke tenderly to her. He admired her for leaving Moab, staying with Naomi, and trusting the Lord. Boaz comforted her and spoke friendly toward Ruth (Ruth 2:13). Has the Lord ever spoken tenderly to you? Has He ever comforted you? He has a still, small voice (1 Kings 19:12). Sometimes He shows me special things in the Word, verses that seem written just for my circumstances. For example, Isaiah 61:3 says the Lord gives beauty for ashes, oil of joy for mourning, and praise to replace heaviness. Our God is so tender and loving toward us.
- Boaz made a place at his table for Ruth. He invited her to lunch that first day, and I believe he continued to invite her to eat at his table the following days. He even provided bread for her to eat. Jesus is preparing a feast for His people right now. One day, when we join Him in heaven, we will have a place at His table. No one will be left out.
- Boaz was generous to Ruth. Not only did he give her lunch that day, but he also commanded his reapers to drop extra grain on purpose for Ruth. He wanted to be sure she was provided for. When Naomi saw how much Ruth brought home that day, she exclaimed, “Blessed be he that did take knowledge of thee.” And when he sent Ruth away in chapter 3, he gave her extra barley so she wouldn’t return to Naomi emptyhanded (Ruth 3:17). The Lord provides for us even when we think there isn’t any way that our needs can be met. He is able (and willing) to do abundantly above what we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). He wants to show us His love and His power. Sometimes He does it before we even ask.
- Boaz praised Ruth’s testimony. In chapter 3, Ruth came to Boaz to ask him to fulfill his duty as the kinsman redeemer. He responded, “And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.” (Ruth 3:11). The whole city knew Ruth by now, and they all agreed: she was a virtuous woman. Boaz praised her for her actions. One day, the Lord will praise us for living faithfully for Him. One of the ways Jesus praises His people is by giving them crowns. There are several crowns we can win as we live for Christ here on earth: the crown of rejoicing (1 Thessalonians 2:19), the crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8), the crown of life (James 1:12), and the crown of glory (1 Peter 5:4). But we won’t keep these crowns long. Instead, we will give them back to Jesus in praise and worship for Who He is: our Savior.
I am sure there are other ways that Boaz is a picture of Jesus, but these are the similarities that stand out to me. I love how, in His wisdom, God gave us this love story between Boaz and Ruth. I also love how, while I studied Boaz’s love for Ruth, I have come to view Jesus’ love for me in a special way. His love for me is real and tender and generous, just as Boaz’s love was toward Ruth. If you don’t know Jesus today, you can. John 3:16 is one of those tender verses that God gave us to describe His love for us. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” You can trust that God means every word. He does love you. He did give His Son for you. All you have to do is believe in Him, and you can have everlasting life. His love for you is just as real as Boaz and Ruth, and ever so much better.