When my precocious five-year-old announced that she’d one day marry a prince, have a big wedding, and become a nice mommy with lots of children, I smiled. I too believed that my life would unfold with such accuracy and simplicity when I was her age. But somewhere along the road I had left the little girl inside of me behind and morphed into a single mother convinced that a series of wrong turns had disqualified me from receiving God’s best.
My daughter’s proclamations reminded me of Ruth’s story. A story proving that our God is a God of second chances.
Read the story in a new way.
Before Boaz ever said “I do” — he did. As Ruth worked to sustain herself and her mother-in-law, God used that time not only to establish Ruth’s reputation as an honorable believer within her community, but to allow Boaz an opportunity to exhibit his godly character as well. He proved himself to be a provider, a protector, an intercessor, a coverer, and a redeemer.
Though Boaz was a man of wealth and power, he was humble enough to respect a converted Gentile woman, and wise enough to admire her courage, devotion, kindness, and fidelity to Naomi (Ruth 2:11). He considered himself blessed to be wanted by a woman who could have gone after a younger man (Ruth 3:10).
Boaz’s kindness and admiration was so overwhelming that at one point Ruth asked him, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me — a foreigner.” (Ruth 2:10) Like many of us, Ruth felt “less than.” She felt that her past, her poverty, and her status as a foreigner in Bethlehem made her less desirable than other women.
Yet, Boaz noticed her. In Hebrew the word “notice” means to “acknowledge with honor, to understand.” Boaz didn’t simply see Ruth, he understood and honored her. He recognized that Ruth was more than her past, or even her present, struggles. He honored the woman she was in her heart and the woman that she could become with him.
God wants us to see Ruth and Boaz’s union as an example of how he notices, loves, and redeems each of us, especially those who feel as though life has ravaged all promise and purpose.
Ruth was a woman who lacked the right pedigree, position, and purity that most people would have expected a man like Boaz to desire: she was not Jewish, she was a foreigner. She was not a virgin, but a widow. She was not wealthy — in fact, she was less than a servant girl.
Yet, she obtained favor from an honorable man who loved her wholeheartedly and willfully provided, protected, covered, prayed for, and ultimately redeemed her.
Boaz loved Ruth because of her character and her heart. When Boaz agreed to redeem Ruth, one of the first things he said was, “All my fellow townsmen know that you are a woman of noble character” (Ruth 3:11). He felt blessed to have such a woman and in turn blessed her with the rest that Naomi prayed Ruth would one day find in the home of another husband (Ruth 1:9), the rest that we all long for and can find in God.
No matter how we feel, in God, we are not disqualified. Do you trust God as you wait for your spouse, like Ruth? Do you pursue opportunities for God to shape and test your character, like Boaz?
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