What does LOVE have to do with it? The Boaz Model

 

What does LOVE have to do with it? Isn’t this THE question of GREAT consideration and proportion for all of us {women} who find ourselves wondering where and when our Prince Charming, Soul Mate, Mr. Right, and/or Romeo will come? Well, for many of us, love seems a continuous maze of “What should I do,” and “Who shall it be,” head splitting and heart aching confusion. Just think about what our culture informs us of love (so MANY mixed messages). No wonder we don’t know where to turn and whom to turn to. There’s the romantic, unrealistic Prince Charming model of our hero on a white horse to rescue us from the dangerous world! (Please???) Then, there’s the Romeo model of the handsome, irresistible lover! (Yes, but some of us know this type rarely sticks around for long.) There’s the Soul Mate model where the stars align and there he is, just waiting for us. (Yep, but unfortunately, we are the one still waiting!) And finally, there’s Mr. Right. (Tragically, we found out he was Mr. Wrong!)

So, should we really look to the culture to inform us of love which God gifted to and for us; or should we look to God’s word for our guidance and direction? Surely, scripture has a realistic model for godly and lasting love.

I am SO GLAD the answer is YES! There is a WORD and there is a model from God for us. Both are found in the love story of Boaz and Ruth. This is no fairy tale. Instead, this story provides a powerful, scriptural example of what God desires for His sons and daughters, in love relationship.

The Boaz model shows us, as women, what we should seek and obtain in our partner, and ultimately, our husband (Yes, God desires HEALTHY MARRIAGE for His Daughters & Sons).  The Boaz Model is representative of a Spiritual, Emotional, Financial, and Physical covering. The Bible teaches us, that as women, God desires a covering for us, by the man who ultimately wins his wife. Old fashion, maybe. Biblical, definitely! Metaphorically, think of “the covering” as an umbrella, or in the case of Ruth and Boaz, as the garment which covers both of them, in spiritual, emotional, financial, and physical protection.  Their story demonstrates to us that all four aspects are necessary and all four must be in place for a successful partnership and marriage.

THE BOAZ MODEL

SPIRITUAL – A man who loves the Lord & enjoys a visible, committed relationship with God
EMOTIONAL– A man who is emotionally mature, healthy and can be this for you
FINANCIAL – A man who demonstrates financial responsibility for himself & YOU
PHYSICAL – A man with the physical capacity and desire for mutual sexual love for only YOU

Does that seem like a lot? Well, God says we are worth it.  That’s why God made us,  as WOMAN, a corresponding strength (Ezer Kenegdo*) to man. Boaz goes to the wall and through the fire for Ruth, because Boaz knows, as soon as he sees Ruth, she is the ONE for him. It’s love and it’s lasting! Isn’t this what we are really seeking in a love relationship?

Their story continues in Chapter 4 of Ruth, with Boaz requesting Ruth to be his wife. He also takes care of Ruth’s mother-in-law and friend (Naomi), showing consideration for Ruth’s love for her. Now, that’s what God calls a REAL MAN, and that is what God desires for us. Let’s consider the story against the BOAZ Model (Spiritual, Emotional, Financial, and Physical covering), looking to the verses in BOLD to show us where the model fits for us, as contemporary women who must grapple with our own love stories.
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Ruth Chapter 2 – Chapter 3:18 (NIV)

2 Now Naomi had a relative on her husband’s side, a man of standing from the clan of Elimelek, whose name was Boaz.

2 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?”

Ruth Chapter 3: 1-18

1 One day Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi said to her, “My daughter, I must find a home[a] for you, where you will be well provided for. 2 Now Boaz, with whose women you have worked, is a relative of ours. Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. 3 Wash, put on perfume, and get dressed in your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don’t let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. 4 When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do.”

5 “I will do whatever you say,” Ruth answered. 6 So she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do.

7 When Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits, he went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile. Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down. 8 In the middle of the night something startled the man; he turned—and there was a woman lying at his feet!

9 “Who are you?” he asked.

“I am your servant Ruth,” she said. “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a guardian-redeemer[b] of our family.”

10 The Lord bless you, my daughter,” he replied. “This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor. 11 And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character. 12 Although it is true that I am a guardian-redeemer of our family, there is another who is more closely related than I. 13 Stay here for the night, and in the morning if he wants to do his duty as your guardian-redeemer, good; let him redeem you. But if he is not willing, as surely as the Lord lives I will do it. Lie here until morning.”

14 So she lay at his feet until morning, but got up before anyone could be recognized; and he said, “No one must know that a woman came to the threshing floor.”

15 He also said, “Bring me the shawl you are wearing and hold it out.” When she did so, he poured into it six measures of barley and placed the bundle on her. Then he[c] went back to town.

16 When Ruth came to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked, “How did it go, my daughter?”

Then she told her everything Boaz had done for her 17 and added, “He gave me these six measures of barley, saying, ‘Don’t go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’”

18 Then Naomi said, “Wait, my daughter, until you find out what happens. For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today.

HISTORICAL CONTEXT

The book of Ruth tells the story of Ruth and Naomi.  In Chapter 1, we discover Naomi is Ruth’s mother-in-law.  Ruth was married to Naomi’s son, who tragically died, along with his brother,  leaving Naomi without sons or a husband and Ruth, also widowed.  As we know from biblical history, women who lacked male covering and protection were vulnerable to the ills of their society (death, poverty, starvation).  The narrative tells us that Naomi is an Israelite; but Ruth is a Moabite.  Despite Ruth’s ethnicity, she decides to stay with Naomi, even though she could have left Naomi alone and went back to her family and her culture.

As the story continues, the narrative informs us that there is a famine in the land, and these two women struggle to survive.  But, God will provide and God’s provision comes in the way of Boaz (the son of Rahab and Salmon).  The fortunes of Naomi and Ruth change drastically, as Boaz arrives on the scene and immediately is enchanted by Ruth.  The text describes Boaz, as a godly man; a “kinsmen redeemer.”  This term applies to one who restores or preserves the full community rights of disadvantaged family members.  The familial concept arises from God’s covenantal relationship with Israel, in particular, and humanity, in general.  Boaz, ultimately becomes kinsmen redeemer for both Ruth and Naomi; restoring them to financial health and wealth.  Moreover, this story points to what authentic love and marriage is under the construct of godly relationship and partnership.

* (Hebrew title applied to Eve in the Genesis Story)

QUESTIONS for our consideration and discussion

Where in this biblical text do you see the four considerations (Spiritual, Emotional, Financial, & Physical) apply?

Why do you think ALL four are important?  Do you think any are more important than others?  If so, why?  If not, why?

How does Ruth participate in the relationship to and with Boaz?  Why and how does God bless her?

Does this story have any implications for you and the relationship you desire?  How does the Boaz model differ from how our culture informs us about “true love?”

What does Naomi mean when she says:  “Wait, my daughter, until you find out what happens.  For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today.”  Does this have any implications for us, as contemporary women and the love relationship we need and desire?

When Ruth tells Boaz to “spread the corner of your garment over me,”  what does she mean?

What does this story tell us about partnership and marriage?

Finally, how do you personally feel about the Boaz model?  Explain?

 

 

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