I love the story of Ruth and Boaz. It is a beautiful love story, appropriate for today (Valentine's Day), but as I read the story I thought of another word ... the word pursuit.
I hear people talk about God. They say things like "be all in!" ... "love God with all your heart!" These are both really good things. But when we say those things we are often singing Sunday songs but forgetting the words during the week. I am so guilty of this! Maybe you are too? It is easy to say the cliché' and sing the words, but it is much harder to really follow God.
In the story of Ruth, Boaz teaches us some useful things about how to pursue something you really want. It is clear that Boaz is quickly smitten with Ruth. But his actions go far beyond mere infatuation. Boaz realizes that if you desire a relationship with someone it involves intentionality, especially in knocking down walls. In Ruth's case, there were many walls. She was a foreigner. She was poor and needy. She was a widow. She wasn't a youngster, having been married to one of Naomi's sons for 10 years. And there were cultural barriers regarding a possible relationship with Boaz, including age and family obligations. Boaz had obstacles too. He was an older man. He was a leader to his clan. There was another with the right to claim Ruth. But Boaz knew something about pursuit.
Boaz, after seeing Ruth and realizing her beauty and the quality of her character, started tearing down walls. 1) Boaz saw Ruth for the amazing person she was and he found out everything about her, 2) He helped her but allowed her the dignity of working for the help, 3) He protected her from other workers in the field, 4) He made sure she was successful in her work. In short, Boaz' pursuit of Ruth built her up, gave her dignity and offered her the hope of a better life.
When I think of Boaz, I realize something about my pursuit of God. 1) I want to know all I can about God and see God as worthy of love and worship, 2) I want to help in God's work in the world, even if I realize my work is meager and flawed, 3) I realize that any good thing I do is really God working through me, and 4) I want to do what I can to help God's plan happen in this world. For if I love God, I pursue him by my actions. I allow the walls between me and God to be torn down.
And in the Bible, we see what God can do with pursuit and love. From the Gospel of Matthew 1:5-6, we find these words ... "Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab. Boaz the father of Obed whose mother was Ruth. Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse, the father of King David." This amazing family tree (just one family in Hebrew history) shows how God can do a lot with love, obedience and pursuit! Randy