There are certain qualities that make some people rise above the crowd.
Boaz was one of those people who, when faced with a situation, responded in a way that makes him stand out even today as a great example.
First, let’s consider that there are legal ways to address a situation. He assembled ten of the city’s elders to sit as judges in a legal matter concerning Naomi. Land owned by Naomi and her late husband, Elimelech, had been sold during difficult economic times.
A kinsman redeemer could acquire the land, and while Boaz was willing to assume that role, there was a man who was closer kin to Naomi and Elimelech.
It is entirely possible Boaz could have settled the matter without going before the elders, but he was unwilling to conduct his business outside of the presence of witnesses.
Secondly, think about we sometimes address situations by “doing things the way they have always been done.” The other man was ready to buy the land until Boaz told him that he would also have to marry Ruth to give Naomi an heir and in accordance to the law.
The other man, not wanting to marry Ruth, surrendered his right to buy the land. It was the custom that the one giving up his right would hand his shoe to the person to whom he surrendered the right to buy the land.
In the end, Boaz was the one who redeemed the land and married Ruth, and that leads us to the third point – there are God’s ways to handle the situations we face. Boaz was willing to buy the land and marry Ruth, but he would only do these things with a pure heart.
Taking the legal route keeps us out of trouble, but it is also required by God’s Word. Following tradition is not necessarily bad because, presumably, we are relying on the wisdom of our elders and we are doing what people expect.
We will never go astray, however, if we conduct our business with the aim of pleasing God. We might think Boaz did Ruth a favor by marrying her, but Boaz did much for himself. Ruth was known in the city as a virtuous woman, and the reputation of Boaz, already strong, became even better.
Boaz was drawn into the family tree of the Messiah.
n The Sunday school lesson is written by Ed Wilcox, pastor of Centerville Baptist Church. email@example.com.