When I was fourteen, I created a “husband list.” You know the one. As a new believer, I decided it was about time I knew exactly what I should look for in a man. I have long forgotten that list, but I remember most of it had nothing to do with godly character. Of course, number one was “Christian” in bold ink, but after that it was mainly how he made me laugh, liked being outdoors, and would be my lifelong adventure partner. This particular list even came with a “bonus list.” I’m ashamed to say I jotted down things like “plays guitar” and “has good hair.” I laugh at myself when I think back to the things I wanted at that time in my life. Ten years later, I have grown to appreciate what biblical manhood truly looks like apart from a trendy hairstyle and the same taste in music.
In the book of Ruth, we find a woman who is willing to do whatever it takes to take care of her mother-in-law, Naomi, after Ruth’s own husband, her brother-in-law, and her father-in-law have all died. She is a woman of honor, respect, and humility. We also find a man named Boaz, a landowner and relative of Naomi’s, who goes to great lengths to make sure both Ruth and Naomi are taken care of. Let’s look at essential qualities of a godly man through Boaz.
Godly Men Are Worthy
Boaz is described in Scripture as “worthy”. He loves the Lord, and he has proven his standing through a good reputation among the community. Also important to note here is that he knows the value of a “worthy woman”, as Ruth is described in Ruth 3:11.
Have you ever known someone who is so incredible that no matter who you ask, they are always talked about highly? That is for a reason. People recognize sincerity and goodness. This was the case for Boaz. He was just a good man. He didn’t ask for praise, but because of the qualities people saw in him, the whole town sung his praises.
While other people’s opinions should not be the most important thing, the Lord uses people in our lives to help us discern character. That is also why it is so important to have Gospel community and Jesus-loving friends to help us when it comes to making decisions, especially with relationships. What other believers perceive in someone can always tell you a lot about a person—wise counsel helps when it comes to marrying someone in the future.
Godly Men Are Protectors
Boaz looks out for the well-being of others, including Ruth. He makes sure she is safe while working in his fields by telling the men in his field to leave her alone. He wants to keep her safe and secure, while there is no personal gain for himself. He just has an inherent desire to protect that which has been entrusted to him.
In Ephesians 5, Paul lays out duties of both the husband and the wife. The husband’s job is to love his wife wholeheartedly, even to the extent of the laying down of his own life to protect her. This is a representation of how Jesus died in the place of His Bride. In 1 Peter, the woman is referred to as the “weaker vessel”, and husbands are commanded to show honor. This is not demeaning, nor is it something we should be mad about. In today’s culture, there are a lot of lies circulating when it comes to the specific roles of men and women. We are uniquely different because that is how God intentionally created us. So because of this Truth, when it comes to relationships and marriage in the future, a man who is humbly submitting to the will of God will reflect the protection of God in the way he treats you.
Godly Men Are Providers
(Ruth 2:9, 14; 3:15)
Boaz is overwhelmingly kind to Ruth and Naomi. He tells Ruth to drink from the fountain his own men drink from. He gives them enough grain to survive and then some. In Ruth 3:17, it shows that he gives to them abundantly and sacrificially.
Imagine if you showed up to work for someone, and the whole day they gave you special privileges, even on the first day on the job! Your new boss provided a free lunch, special water privileges, unlimited bathroom breaks, and gave you food to take home to your family after you clocked out. You would probably think you had just scored the best job in the world. Ruth worked hard in Boaz’s fields, but he showered her with kindness and gave her things he didn’t even have to give her. This should be an attribute you look for in a potential spouse. As someone who will one day be responsible for the needs of a household, it is important that he recognizes his responsibility here.
Godly Men Are Men of Integrity
Finally, when Ruth comes to Boaz to ask him to redeem her family, he acts in integrity. Someone else had “first dibs” as a closer kinsman redeemer. Boaz took the necessary steps in going to this other relative before securing her hand in marriage. If you look forward into chapter 4, it goes into great detail how he respects the community and authorities in this process. In going through all of the proper steps, he does what is right even if there’s a chance he won’t get what he wants. This is extremely important for your future, as you want someone you can trust with your life. This is not something to be taken lightly. If he is trustworthy and a man of integrity, you will never have to worry about whether or not he is doing the right thing.
Most important to this story is how beautifully it portrays the Gospel. At the end of the day, Boaz is still just a man. The attributes he displays only provide a small glimpse into how great God is. Boaz is the kinsman redeemer in this story, and he redeems Ruth by taking her as his wife and redeeming the line of Elimelek. But by doing these things he only points to how Christ is our ultimate redeemer! Boaz foreshadows Jesus in that Christ will redeem a bride for Himself—the Church. Jesus will redeem all the people of the Church. God intended for earthly marriage to be only a representation of the beautiful covenant between Himself and His Bride.
When looking to men as godly examples or as possible life partners in the future, we must get our definition of true manhood from Scripture. It doesn’t really matter if he has a trendy haircut or is “really nice.” True manhood comes from qualities the Lord has outlined in Scripture—in men like Boaz. True manhood manifests itself in qualities like loving the Lord, having a good reputation among godly community, protecting and providing, and valuing honesty and integrity.
The more the Lord grows me in becoming a godly woman according to the Bible, the more distinctly I see true qualities of biblical manhood. I encourage you to always use Scripture as your ultimate source of identity—both for yourself and for detecting qualities in others. Instead of focusing on character qualities (and especially trivial qualities) in a future spouse, seek to be a modern-day Ruth—a worthy woman, selfless and devoted to the needs of others, and obedient in everything she does. She had no idea what the Lord had in store for the future; she simply obeyed. And if you continue reading on in this book, you will see that Ruth and Boaz are Jesus’s ancestors! They would never see the fruit of their labor on earth, but they knew God was worthy of obedience.
Lord, mold me into a woman of godly character so that I might see more clearly godly qualities in others. Help me to focus on knowing You, obeying You, and seeking out the needs of others before my own. I trust You with my future no matter what that holds because I know You are a good Father who ordains every detail.
1 Peter 3:7
Passion and Purity by Elizabeth Elliott