“Boaz… A warrior in body, heart, & spirit.” by Scott Bittinger

In the book of Ruth, Bible readers are introduced to Boaz.  Boaz is not your typical warrior; he is not described as having great military exploits and saving Israel from another band of “-ites.”  The Bible does, however, reveal a man of Godly character and influence, compassion, and integrity.  Honestly, some might argue that he is the greatest kind of warrior because he represents the very soul of a nation as opposed to only its physical security.

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When Boaz is first introduced in Ruth 2:4, the Bible immediately reveals his Godly heart and influence in the way that he addresses the laborers in his field.  He greets them with a blessing, saying, “…The Lord be with you.”  His sincerity in that blessing is revealed in both the laborers’ immediate response, “…The Lord bless thee,” and also in their obedience to his instructions over the next several verses to care for, protect, and provide for Ruth.  His God-centered life is also found in his blessing of Ruth in verse 12.  Over Ruth, he says, “The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.”  He speaks this blessing not only because of Ruth’s care for Naomi but also because he recognizes her submission to the God of Israel whom she did not grow up knowing in Moab.  This submission would only be relevant to Boaz if he too were submitted.
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In addition to his Godly character and influence, the book of Ruth is peppered with examples of Boaz’s compassion.  In Ruth 2:11, he articulates both his understanding of the difficulties Naomi faced, losing her husband and two sons, and also his understanding of Ruth’s sacrifice to leave all that she had known in life and move to Bethlehem to support Naomi.  The verses that follow capture his heart as he ensures Naomi and Ruth have sufficient provisions.  Additionally, in Ruth 3:8, when Boaz awakes to find Ruth laying at his feet, he does not chastise her and send her packing but instead is sensitive to her position and need for protection, and he puts in motion a plan to help her.
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Throughout Ruth, Boaz can also be viewed as a man of integrity.  In both Ruth 2:10 and 3:9, Ruth is clearly humbling herself before Boaz, but he doesn’t once take advantage of her.  He is motivated by compassion for her and Naomi instead of by her beauty and position.  His integrity is also demonstrated in chapter 4 when he meets with his kinsmen to discuss the redemption of Elimelech’s, or Naomi’s husband’s, land.  There is no deception in Boaz’s explanation or an attempt to sway the kinsman with the first right.  He simply shares the facts, including the requirement to buy Ruth along with the land, and leaves the decision to the kinsman with the first right.  When his kinsman passes on the opportunity, Boaz’s priority is not to celebrate but to make it clear to those that had gathered that his decision will bring restoration to the names of Naomi’s husband and sons; in other words, he was restoring the house that had been broken in their death.
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Boaz was truly a mighty warrior in body, heart, and spirit.  He stood for Godly character and influence, compassion, and integrity.  Likewise, today’s Christian warriors should do the same.  They should be driven with a love and compassion for their fellow man and seek ways to demonstrate that love in every relationship.  In doing so, they will exhibit the character of God, improve unity, and ultimately influence nations to pursue the heart of God.
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Strength and Honor,
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Scott Bittinger

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