A story of redemption, love, hope, and restoration
“You have made this last kindness greater than the first in that you have not gone after young men,
whether poor or rich.”
Before we wrap up chapter three with our final post, I have some bonus material for you. We have studied Boaz’s character in depth and from various angles over the last few weeks and seen his strength of character and how the Lord blessed him because of it. However, there was one thing he lacked—a wife. Of all the ways God had blessed and prospered Boaz, the only thing He withheld was a life partner.
Why? Why wasn’t Boaz married when Ruth met him?
Being single in Old Testament was no small thing. The Jews took to heart God’s command to be fruitful and multiply, and to them marriage and raising heirs to pass on the family heritage was extremely important. In many ways, a person’s value and level of blessing from the Lord was measured by the number of children they had. So, for Boaz to still be single and childless at his age would have been a disgrace and shame to his family.
So again, why wasn’t Boaz married before meeting Ruth? Throughout the pages of the book of Ruth, we see an extremely eligible bachelor, strong in moral and spiritual character, and materially blessed by the Lord. Therefore why was he still single when Ruth entered his life? We learn from the text that he was a good amount older than Ruth and no longer considered a young man. So what took place in the ten, fifteen, twenty years before Ruth entered Boaz’s life? Were there no eligible girls in Bethlehem? I doubt it. Did none of them catch Boaz’s eye? Possibly. However, based on what we’ve seen of Boaz’s character, the reason why I believe Boaz was unmarried was because his standards were high. He wasn’t about to settle for ordinary, okay, or pretty nice. No! He wanted the best. A Proverbs 31 woman. (Though he didn’t have the passage to study since his great-great-grandson wrote it down!) He was a worthy man, full of virtue and the fear of the Lord and he wanted a wife of similar character.
But with such high standards, what happened? Nothing. For decades, no one met his expectations. Yet, Boaz still held out and trusted God for a worthy woman. And his waiting eventually paid off.
But being past the prime of his life, Boaz had probably given up any hopes of matrimony, and resigned himself to being single for the rest of his life. Even when Ruth came onto the scene and her character attracted him, he still expected her to marry someone else, namely someone younger. But God had other plans. He destined Boaz to be the great-grandfather of David and ancestor of Jesus Christ, and these were things that could not be accomplished as a single man! The Lord withheld the gift of a wife, so that Boaz could be available when Ruth needed a redeemer and together they could fulfill their role in God’s bigger plan of redemption.
So what does that teach us about singleness? For those of us in our season of singleness, what lessons can we learn from Boaz and his long wait for a wife? Looking at Boaz’s story, do you think you can trust God more with your future dreams of marriage and child-raising? Will you wait for Him to bring the perfect one, in His time and His way?
It’s not like Boaz woke up on the threshing floor, saw Ruth, and then decided he’d like to be married. I’m sure Boaz had the desire to be a husband and father long before, but God wanted him to wait. Wait for His best and His perfect timing. And Boaz obeyed. He didn’t lower his standards and jump ahead of God, but waited for many years and was greatly blessed because of it.
So may we take to heart the testimony of Boaz and his seemingly indefinite season of singleness. And may we always trust God in His timing and purpose and never lower our standards!
“Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act.”