Boaz, A Real Man
“So she fell on her face, bowed to the ground, and said to him, ‘Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?’ And Boaz answered and said to her, ‘It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and now you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before.’” (Ruth 2:10-11)
There is a lot of confusion today about what constitutes a “real man.” Once upon a time, a “real man” hunted, fished, worked hard, fixed things, provided for his family, and feared God. Nowadays, a “real man” colors his hair purple, wears a beanie in summertime, and considers that he might actually be a woman.
There are truly some fine examples of “real men” in the Bible. None is better than Boaz.
When Boaz first saw Ruth gleaning among the women, his eyes sought her out as if no other women were present (2:4-5). Why did Boaz notice Ruth more than all of the others? The text does not tell us, but we can speculate. Maybe it was because she was a newcomer in the group, or maybe it was because she was the prettiest girl. I have no doubt that Boaz thought Ruth was beautiful, but his interest was clearly deeper than that.
The first time Boaz and Ruth spoke, we learn that he was attracted to her character above all else. She asked his permission to glean in his fields, and he urged her to glean nowhere else. He wanted to reward her because he had heard how honorably Ruth had behaved toward Naomi (2:11-12). It is a testament to the character of Boaz that his first comment about Ruth was not about her beauty. Instead, his first words were to praise Ruth for her loving spirit. Ruth’s kindness affected Boaz’ heart more than her beauty pleased his eyes.
A real man is attracted to a woman’s inner beauty first and foremost. Clearly there is nothing wrong with physical attraction between men and women. God gave us eyes, after all, and most happily married couples got to where they are because they were first attracted by the sight of one another. Naomi understood this principle. She urged Ruth to fix herself up before she returned to meet with Boaz at the winnowing pit (3:3). However, Boaz proves to us that a real man does not end his estimation of a woman’s beauty at her curves; a real man investigates a woman’s character.
Marriage to a “beautiful terror” is not advisable. Solomon said it is better to dwell on the roof of your house rather than to live inside a house with a contentious woman (Proverbs 21:19; 25:28). Such a woman is like a constantly dripping faucet (Proverbs 19:13). Solomon must have been an expert in this matter. He married seven hundred wives and had three hundred concubines (1 Kings 11:3).
Boaz teaches us to choose a woman who is modest in character. Paul said that women should adorn themselves “in modest apparel, with shame-fastness and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but which is proper for women professing godliness” (1 Timothy 2:9-10). Peter agreed with this, for he said: “Do not let your beauty be that outward adorning of arranging the hair, of wearing gold, or of putting on fine apparel, but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God” (1 Peter 3:3-4). Such a woman can influence her husband with her chaste conduct (1 Peter 3:1-2).
There is nothing in the world more attractive to a spiritually-minded man than a spiritually-minded woman. A man who loves God and wants to go to heaven should care more about the purity of a woman’s heart than he cares about her looks. If your first criteria is to find a woman who is chaste, pure of heart, and who longs for fellowship with God, then you will have found a woman whose worth is far above rubies (Proverbs 31:10).
Women are not eye-candy, they are people, and they have souls. If we want women who love the Lord, we ought to make it known, like Boaz did, that that is what we desire. Those kinds of women are out there - the pure and godly ones. A lot more women would nurture a “gentle and quiet spirit” if men were more like Boaz and advertised for spiritually-minded women.
In Luke 15, Jesus taught a lesson on the lost using three parables. The context of the teaching was that the Pharisees and scribes, like...