A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
(Proverbs 31:10-11, NIV)
Many a single Christian women find themselves singing the, “Boaz, Boaz; I cannot wait to meet my Boaz” anthem. This anthem can be heard in many a singles’ women church conference, seen on social networks worldwide, and placed on vision boards of single Christian women everywhere. Yet, few women have ever stopped to ask the question: What was it about Ruth that drew Boaz’s attention?
You see, once upon a time I sang the “Boaz Anthem” too. I was one of those women who sang the “Boaz Anthem” from the rooftops, out of my car window as I drove to work each morning, and also as I got dressed for Sunday service. And why not? Boaz was a wealthy entrepreneur who had much to offer a wife. He was caring. He was nurturing. He was a leader. I even imagined him as being handsome. Most importantly however, Boaz was, in essence, a type and shadow of the King of kings, Jesus Christ, who would eventually come through his bloodline. He was a redeemer. Strong qualifications for a mate, right? I would say so. However, as I would later come to realize, the “Boaz Anthem” – although justified – did not give credence to or even acknowledge the type of woman Ruth had to be in order to catch and maintain the attention of such a man.
“What were those characteristics,” you ask? Let us take a look.
Ruth was selfless (Ruth 1:16-18):
After her husband, her brother-in-law, and her father-in-law all died, Ruth had the opportunity to return to her hometown of Moab. Despite Naomi’s continual attempt to persuade her to do so, Ruth refused and promised to return to Judah with Naomi. In doing so, Ruth made a conscious decision to denounce the customs and gods of her hometown in an effort to fully accept and participate in the customs and worship of the Judean people. However, although her decision was a gallant one, the decision to follow Naomi into Judah as a widow meant that she was now going to be an outsider in a strange land, destitute, and quite possibly the subject of unspeakable prejudices and cruelties. Ruth was not deterred.
Ruth was loyal (Ruth 1:22):
Despite being able to return to her hometown of Moab, Ruth chose to remain at Naomi’s side. Although the components of their mother/daughter relationship was not explicitly expressed scripturally, it would stand to reason – as a result of her actions – that Naomi was good to Ruth and vice-versa. There was a strong connection between the two women, a connection so strong that Ruth had preferred to continue into Judah knowing full well the consequences of doing so.
Ruth was industrious (Ruth 2:2-3):
Upon arriving in Judah, Ruth immediately began to seek sustenance for herself and Naomi, both. She did not however seek said sustenance by peddling, nor did she decide to steal. Rather, Ruth made up her mind to work for her grain by threshing the leftover stalks of wheat overlooked by the field hands. This was difficult work.
Ruth’s reputation preceded her (Ruth 2:6,11):
Boaz himself characterized Ruth as a woman of noble character. Not because he had watched her for months. Not even because they had volunteered together at the church’s annual picnic. No. Boaz characterized Ruth as a “woman of noble character” simply because he had heard about her decision to forsake her hometown and return to Judah with Naomi despite the possible consequences. In fact, the entire city of Judah was abuzz with what she had done, and because of her sacrifice the residents knew her collectively even before they knew her as an individual.
Ruth was gracious (Ruth 2:13):
Upon being recognized by Boaz and instructed to remain in his fields, Ruth thanked him for his kindness and favor unto her. As opposed to giving Boaz a simple, cursory thank you, she politely addressed him with a servant’s heart and did not seek to be his equal. Ruth did not operate in a spirit of entitlement or in a spirit of “what have you done for me, lately?” Rather, Ruth operated in a spirit of pure thanksgiving and acceptance.
Ruth was teachable (Ruth 3:5-6):
Despite having no further obligation to her mother-in-law, Ruth allowed Naomi to direct her. Naomi instructed her in the way to gain Boaz’s full attention. In turn Ruth did not waver, nor did she question Naomi’s instruction. Rather, Ruth listened attentively and followed Naomi’s coaching to the letter without hesitation.
Ruth was submissive (Ruth 3:7):
As part of Naomi’s instruction, Ruth was directed to curl up at the feet of Boaz as he slept. When she did, Boaz recognized this act as a symbol of submissiveness as well as availability. Yet, even as Ruth performed this act she still realized that the choice to redeem her, or make her his wife, was Boaz’s decision.
Ruth was patient (Ruth 3:18, 4:1-11):
Before Boaz could have taken her as his wife, there was one thing left to do. He first had to make sure that another relative, closer in relation to Naomi, would relinquish all rights to Ruth’s dead husband’s property as well as any claim to Ruth as his wife. As soon as that matter was settled, Boaz was then free to marry Ruth and welcome her into his family. Not before then. Ruth, without meddling, had to await the outcome.
Now, mass media has led us all to believe that being a woman means being in control, being non-conforming, non-yielding, loud and obnoxious, independently independent, and lewd. Yet, with Ruth as our example, we have seen that nothing could be further from the truth. What if the characteristics Ruth possessed were more common place in today’s society? What if instead of single women looking for their Boaz, they were more about the business of becoming more like Ruth? What if characteristics such as submissiveness, industry, nobility, and patience were adopted by more of today’s women? Would not there be more Boaz(s) in search of their Ruth as opposed to Ruth(s) in search of their Boaz?
Beloved, I leave you with these questions. I ask that you reflect upon the answers honestly using Ruth as your baseline.
Are you selfless?
Are you loyal?
Are you industrious?
Are you of good reputation?
Are you gracious?
Are you teachable?
Are you submissive?
It is my prayer for you today that you will allow the Holy Spirit to replace the world’s fallacies as it relates to the behavior of women with that of God’s truth. I pray that as you subscribe and strive to become a woman of noble character, you will remain yielded to the leading of the Holy Spirit. As you commit to adopting more and more of the characteristics that made Ruth attractive to Boaz, I pray that God will not disappoint. I pray that you will relinquish the “Boaz Anthem” until you are well prepared to sing your “Ruth Song”. Lastly, I pray that God will cover you under his protective wings and keep you free from temptation and distraction as you prepare yourself in and through God for marriage, the way He intended. I pray this prayer in none other than the matchless name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Alleluia!
Know that I love you, all.
Red Shoes and Nobility,
Danielle, The Girl in the Red Shoes.