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A Man of Character

We cannot help but notice the integrity of the one whom Naomi has singled out as the best prospective husband for Ruth. Boaz was frank in his business dealings. At no time did he give offense. His relative had the prior claim to Naomi's land, and he not only advised him of his right but also recommended that he exercise it. All his actions were characterized by a sense of justness too little found among God's people today.

Boaz illustrates the kind of person who will put important things in writing. He obtains ten reliable witnesses to attest to what took place. He does not select people whose word might be altered with a suitable bribe. Instead, he chooses reliable people whose trustworthiness and knowledge were well established.

No doubt Boaz wished to marry Ruth. She appealed to him. He, therefore, faced a tension between his personal desires and his familial duty. How was this tension to be resolved? Certainly not by ignoring the rights of others or having a clandestine relationship. The tension was resolved by doing the right thing in the right way. The kind of practical righteousness Boaz demonstrated is not often found in Christian circles. We often lack patience, are selfish, and play "political games" in order to get what we want. We blame our hang-ups on our parents, our materialism on the economy, and we secretly excuse our conduct by comparing ourselves with other people. We conclude, "Well, I'm not so bad after all." Only as we open our hearts to the searching light of Holy Scripture and compare our conduct with what is revealed in God's Word do we realize how mercenary, self-centered, and ungodly we may have become.

What then are we to do if we would be characterized by the kind of practical righteousness illustrated by Boaz? The answer may be found in Boaz's Godward orientation. He lived out his life conscious all the while that God's eye was on him. We too may exhibit the same moral integrity and practical maturity if we remember that the bricks of character are laid one by one. The place to begin is with a renewed commitment of one's entire life to the Lord. With this foundation, we can build a consistent pattern of doing the right thing in the right way, and by walking with the Lord will grow toward spiritual maturity.

—Condensed from Ruth: A Story of God's Grace by Cyril J. Barber.