I have a huge heart for Boaz (Book of Ruth).
In his foreshadowing Christ’s redemptive power, I am struck to emulate Boaz’s love, compassion, and mercy. The Hebrew word for mercy is hesed, and it is a difficult word to define. I have found a brilliant summary/definition of hesed in Michael Card’s Biblical Imagination Series “When the person from whom I have a right to expect nothing gives me everything. ” This is exactly what Boaz did for Ruth. Boaz gave to Ruth abundantly and married her, to redeem her (Naomi’s) family (Ruth 4) .
Could you imagine what the Bethlehemites thought of Boaz when he married a Moabite! Shesh! I could only imagine that they were not too thrilled about having their bloodlines tainted or their inheritance complicated (Ruth 4:5,6).
We do not have redemptive powers, but we can offer mercy and compassion to all. We should take this very seriously, as Boaz did. We cannot put up walls around our Christian “selves.” We are called to go into the world and show the gentle, loving kindness to all. We do that through acceptance and firm, but tender, reproach.
So, I think we have a lot to learn from Boaz. Boaz demonstrates Jesus’ command “you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Mat. 22:39) before Jesus even professed it! Boaz is a timeless Christian model and mentor.
Boaz doesn’t stand out amongst the other OT heroes, but his gentle, loving kindness, his hesed, is only matched and trumped by God’s love.
May we learn from Boaz?