Last week we studied Ruth 1 and discussed 5 biblical things a single woman can do to prepare for a successful marriage.
This week we will study Ruth 2 and discuss 5 biblical things a single man can do to prepare to be a great husband to his wife.
Passage: Ruth 2:1, “Now Naomi had a relative of her husband’s, a worthy man of the clan of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz.”
Principle: Become respectable before you even meet the woman who you want to respect you.
Practical Application: A woman wants a man with a good reputation. By the time she meets you, she wants you to have something going in your life. Many guys make the mistake of trying to find a woman and then they try to make her the center of their life. But a woman doesn’t want to be your everything. She knows she can’t be that. That’s too much pressure. Rather, she wants to come alongside of you and join you in your life. She doesn’t want to be your life.
Notice the similar language used about Ruth in Ruth 3:11 that was said about Boaz in Ruth 2:1. Ruth 3:11 states, “. . . for all my fellow townsmen know that you are a worthy woman.”
Boaz was a worthy man before he met a worthy woman. If he waited to get his life together until after he met Ruth, it would have been too late. If you want a woman to respect you one day, start working today towards being respectable.
Passage: Ruth 2:2-7, “And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, ‘Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor.’ And she said to her, ‘Go, my daughter.’ So she set out and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers, and she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the clan of Elimelech. And behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem. And he said to the reapers, ‘The Lord be with you!’ And they answered, ‘The Lord bless you.’ Then Boaz said to his young man who was in charge of the reapers, ‘Whose young woman is this?’ And the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered, ‘She is the young Moabite woman, who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. She said, “Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves after the reapers.” So she came, and she has continued from early morning until now, except for a short rest.’”
Principle: A godly man trusts God’s providence to find his future wife.
Practical Application: The terms “God’s sovereignty” and “God’s providence” are different. Sovereignty is really about the fact that God can do whatever he wants because he is all powerful. Everything that happens is either directly caused by God or directly allowed by God. The term “providence,” however, refers to God’s purpose behind what he decides to accomplish or allow. Providence is what we mean when we say that God always has a reason for everything.
From the details we know about Boaz, it seems he was a man who wanted to be married, was older, but for some reason was not married (Ruth 3:10-13). And as we will discuss in the points ahead, he was not a passive man. He was active in his pursuit of Ruth. Therefore, it’s not unreasonable to assume that Boaz was waiting for something special to happen before he chose a wife. It appears Boaz was not a man who was just looking for any wife who would marry him. He was looking for a wife who was sent from God to be a blessing.
Notice the phrase in Ruth 2:3, “. . . and she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz . . .” I can imagine Boaz telling this story to his grandchildren, “And would you know who just so happened to come to my part of the field? It was your grandmother, Ruth. God brought her there and it was completely outside of my control.”
This is what women want in a man. A godly woman wants a man who isn’t just following his gut or his own desires. She wants a man who is following God. She wants to know God brought them together, and she wants this man to also know that God brought them together. And one way she will feel like God brought them together is by seeing a man pursue her who is trying to follow God rather than just trying to marry her no matter what it takes.
Passage: Ruth 2:8-10, “Then Boaz said to Ruth, ‘Now, listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. Let your eyes be on the field that they are reaping, and go after them. Have I not charged the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink what the young men have drawn.’ Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, ‘Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?’”
Principle: Be very active when you sense God has given you an opportunity to be active.
Practical Application: I’m not saying that at this point in the story, Boaz was making a romantic move on Ruth. At this point, it seems he was just living from his good character in the Lord, trying to bless a young woman who had shown herself to be a good woman. He had compassion on her and seemed to admire how she was living her life.
With that said, it’s often forgotten when Ruth and Boaz are mentioned that it actually was Boaz who made first contact with Ruth. Ruth kind of steals the show with her actions in Ruth 3 when she lays and his feet and lets him know she wants him to pursue her. But again, it actually was Boaz in Ruth 2 who was the first one to take action steps to build a future connection.
Additionally, once Ruth did let him know that she was interested in him in chapter 3, Boaz didn’t need constant reassurance. As Naomi said in Ruth 3:18, “Wait, my daughter, until you learn how the matter turns out, for the man will not rest but will settle the matter today.” And that’s exactly what happened. In Ruth 4:13 it states, “So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife.” It was Boaz who took Ruth, not the other way around.
This is what women want. Yes, at times they need to do something a bit extra to let a guy know they are interested. But before and after that, she still wants this man to be active and not passive in his dealings towards her.
And as a side note to clear up any confusion from point 2, this means that a godly man might do something to go out and actively search for a woman to marry. While Boaz did seem to wait for God to bring Ruth into his life, the principle here is that Boaz was active when he felt God leading him to be active. So if God is leading you to be active and try something online dating, that would not be a sin.
The real key for a godly man is to simply do what he senses God leading him to do.
Passage: Ruth 2:11-14, “But Boaz answered her, ‘All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!’ Then she said, “I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, though I am not one of your servants. And at mealtime Boaz said to her, ‘Come here and eat some bread and dip your morsel in the wine.’ So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed to her roasted grain. And she ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over. When she rose to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, saying, ‘Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. And also pull out some from the bundles for her and leave it for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.’”
Principle: Treat all women right because that’s your character as a man, not because you want something from them.
Practical Application: I’m not saying it’s wrong to treat a woman right in the hopes that she likes you in a romantic way. However, it’s important as a man to have character that goes beyond this woman’s behavior towards you. Why? Because when a woman doesn’t treat you the way you want to be treated, you will act like a childish boy and dishonor the Lord. Remember, your calling as a man is not just about your personal happiness. It’s about bringing glory to God.
Notice how Boaz was actually showing the love of God to Ruth. He showed her kindness, but he attributed that kindness to God and not himself (Ruth 2:12). Not only that, Ruth was not the only young woman that Boaz was helping (Ruth 2:8). He was clearly a pillar in this society who others people depended on (Ruth 2:9).
Once Boaz had romantic feelings for Ruth, he then singled her out and treated her differently. But by this point, Ruth saw that this was not just a show. She knew Boaz’s character was genuine because of how he treated everyone, not just her. Likewise, if you want a godly woman to respect you, you need to be the type of man who respects all women, not just women you want something from.
Because Ruth knew Boaz was genuinely a good guy, she was free to trust his intentions once he started to actively pursue her. If you want a woman to trust your intentions, you have to be the real deal before you even start pursuing her.
Passage: Ruth 2:17-23 states, “So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley. And she took it up and went into the city. Her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. She also brought out and gave her what food she had left over after being satisfied. And her mother-in-law said to her, ‘Where did you glean today? And where have you worked? Blessed be the man who took notice of you.’ So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked and said, ‘The man’s name with whom I worked today is Boaz. And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, ‘May he be blessed by the Lord, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead!’ Naomi also said to her, ‘The man is a close relative of ours, one of our redeemers.’ And Ruth the Moabite said, ‘Besides, he said to me, “You shall keep close by my young men until they have finished all my harvest.”’ And Naomi said to Ruth, her daughter-in-law, ‘It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, lest in another field you be assaulted.’ So she kept close to the young women of Boaz, gleaning until the end of the barley and wheat harvests. And she lived with her mother-in-law.”
Principle: She will like you even more if you impress those she loves.
Practical Application: A woman usually has an important community in her life before you meet her. It’s not your job to come in and steal her away. Yes, she will need to spend less time on others to spend more time on you, just as you will have to do for her. But more than replace the community she already has in her life, it’s much better to try and impress them.
I’m not talking about vanity here or people-pleasing. I’m simply talking about respecting the safe-guards God has put in her life. Perhaps she’s close with her father. You want this man to respect you and see how much you value his daughter. Perhaps she has brothers. You want these men to know you are treating their sister well. Perhaps she’s close with her mother. You want her mother to feel good about her spending time with you. If someone is important to this woman, it should be your job to show them you are a godly man who has good intentions.
If the people in her life are impressed by you, this makes her want you even more. I’m not saying she is being shallow or just defaulting to others making decisions for her. Rather, when other people see what she sees in you, this will just be added confirmation to her that she can trust you.
Here’s Part 1 to this series where I go over Ruth 1: 5 Biblical Things the Women Do Who All the Guys Want.
Here’s Part 3 in this series if you want to continue reading: 5 Biblical Ways a Woman Can Invite a Man to Pursue Her (Ruth 3).