Ruth 2: A Better Man

Part 1 of Ruth started HERE.

Eddie Vedder wrote the incredibly sad song “Better Man” in 1984 about an abusive relationship his mother was in with his step-father. The song communicates the idea that Vedder’s mom is in despair because she does not think that a better man is out there.

She lies and says she’s in love with him, can’t find a better man…
She dreams in color, she dreams in red, can’t find a better man…
Can’t find a better man
Can’t find a better man

Fast forward to the year 2017. We seem to be in crisis mode when it comes to what godly manhood looks like. Politicians, celebrities, and pastors are in the news for all the wrong reasons. Abuse. Sexual misconduct. You wonder, is there a better man out there?

This Sunday I will be preaching from Ruth 2. As I was studying this particular passage it struck me how timely it was for what is going on in our culture today. If there is one thing we desperately need it is some men who we can look to as godly role models.  In Ruth 2 we are introduced to a man by the name of Boaz. There are a number of characteristics that stood out to me regarding Boaz. Allow me to share a few with you.

  • Godly men live out their faith in the workplace
    • Boaz did not buy into the lie that we need to keep our faith and our work separate. Boaz was open (not pushy) about his faith with his employees. In Ruth 2:4 here is how Boaz greets his staff, And behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem. And he said to the reapers, “The Lord be with you!” And they answered, “The Lord bless you.”  Boaz is the kind of boss any one would want to have BECAUSE his faith had such an impact on how he treated people in the workplace. What difference is our faith making in the workplace?
  • Godly men show compassion to those who are poor, marginalized and thought to be unimportant by society
    • Boaz ends up showing tremendous grace and kindness to Ruth. She is in his fields trying to scrape together enough grain to feed herself and Naomi. I’m thinking that many successful men in Boaz’s day would not have given Ruth a second thought. Woman. Gentile. From the hated land of Moab. Boaz goes out of his way to show grace, HESED love, and compassion to this woman. He provides her with an abundance of food and gives her hope when she needs it the most. Do we notice those who are hurting or struggling right around us in everyday life?
  • Godly men make women feel safe
    • Boaz commands his young men to stay away from Ruth so that she is not sexually or physically abused by them. Ruth is incredibly vulnerable working out in the fields by herself and Boaz steps in and protects her. But Boaz’s compassion does not stop there. In verse 8 Boaz refers to Ruth as his “daughter”.  Boaz’s motives are pure and Ruth is blown away by the fact that she is in the presence of a very powerful man and he is treating her like a family member.
    • I must confess this makes me think about how safe women must have felt with Jesus. Jesus did not run away from female friendships. Instead, some of his closest friends and disciples were women. Jesus never used his position of influence or power selfishly. Jesus was always looking to serve, bless and show compassion. Do we make woman feel safe in our presence?
  • Godly men use their money, time and resources to be a blessing to others
    • Boaz was very generous with all that he had so that he could be a blessing to others. Not only was Boaz generous but he encouraged his employees to be generous as well. In verse 15 we read this, When she rose to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her.” Boaz knew that life was not just about making as much money as possible. Boaz had his eyes open for people that God was strategically bringing into his life so that he could show them HESED love. Are we using our money, resources and talents for the good of others?

Of course, this story is not primarily about Ruth or Boaz. Boaz is merely a dim reflection of the better Man that was to come about 1000 years later. Boaz was a godly man but he too was a sinner. Boaz was the GOEL (kinsman-redeemer) for Ruth. But Jesus would be the ultimate GOEL (Kinsman-Redeemer) for all humanity. I want to be a better man. I want to be less like me and more like Boaz. I have to remember that it is not enough just to say that I need to be more like Boaz. Moral exhortations to be better won’t change my sinful heart. Every single day I need to die to self so that the life of Jesus Christ is set ablaze in me.

 

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