One of my favorite love stories in the Bible has to be Ruth and Boaz. When Ruth’s husband died, she left her home and family to stay with her mother in law. She accompanied her back to the land of her people with the famous phrase, “Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people and your God will be my God.” When they arrived, Ruth immediately went out to look for a field of grain to work in so they could eat. God led her straight to a field that belonged to Boaz.
In their story, Ruth immediately caught the attention of Boaz. He was impressed with her faithfulness to Naomi. Because of that, he showed her kindness and compassion. He allowed her to stay in the field and to become like one of the women workers. He gave her food to eat and spoke to the other workers to drop grain for her to pick up. Here, Boaz demonstrated that love is kind and seeks what’s best for the other person. He also gave us the example that love provides for the other person’s needs.
In Ruth chapter 3, Naomi instructs Ruth to go lay at the feet of Boaz while he slept. When he woke up around midnight, he was surprised to see a woman laying at his feet. She replied, “I am your servant Ruth. Spread your covering over me, for you are my kinsman redeemer.” His response showed his love. “I will do what is necessary,” he said. Love does what is necessary, not what is expedient. He could have claimed her as his wife or taken advantage of the situation. Instead, he protected her virtue, did what was right and necessary. He showed that love does not act unbecomingly.
The next morning, Boaz went out to the city gate to look for the real kinsman redeemer. When he came through Boaz approached him and told him the situation. The other man said he couldn’t marry Ruth so he gave permission to Boaz. Here Boaz showed that love risks everything. He was willing to let go of Ruth because it was the right thing to do. In releasing her, he opened his hand for God to bless him back. He did what was right in the sight of God and man and acted with integrity. He showed that love doesn’t trap someone, it frees them.
If you are not familiar with their story, Boaz and Ruth got married. They had a son named Obed. When he grew up and married, he had a son named Jesse who had a several sons, one of whom was a shepherd named David. David became the greatest king of Israel. Several generations later, one of his defendants married a woman named Mary who gave birth to a son named Jesus. Because Boaz acted out of love and integrity and risked everything, he became part of the lineage of Christ.