December 22, 2014
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
Boaz – A Picture of Christ, but…
And Naomi had a kinsman of her husband’s,
a mighty man of wealth,
of the family of Elimelech; and his name was Boaz.
One of the most precious pictures of Christ in the Old Testament is Boaz. This is not only because of his love and care for Ruth, reminding us of Christ’s love for us, but because of his stainless life. He is one of the few pictures of Christ in the Scriptures who has no blot against his life. Possibly Joseph is the only other individual who comes to mind. The touching story of Ruth is a picture book in which we come to understand something of the truth of redemption.
Boaz emerges from the famine conditions of Israel as a mighty man of wealth. Unlike Abraham, and unlike Elimelech, he did not desert the land during difficult days; as a result, he is able to be a blessing to Naomi in restoration, and to Ruth in redemption.
But as much as Boaz reminds us of the Lord Jesus Christ, there are marked differences which only enhance our Saviour in our eyes.
Boaz did not know Pain
Boaz did not know the pain or shame of being a redeemer. For Boaz, sitting in the gate, there was no spittle or scourge. There was no abuse or mockery as he sat among his peers. For the Lord Jesus, those that sat in the gate “spoke against Him” (Ps 69:12). Boaz, on the other hand, earned the admiration and respect of all in the gate.
Boaz did not know Poverty
Boaz did not know the poverty which the Lord Jesus knew. Boaz bought all that was involved in carrying out his responsibility as redeemer. He gave out of his wealth. There is nothing to suggest that he “became poor” in order to redeem Naomi and Ruth. He is still the wealthy man of Bethlehem after the purchase. Our Saviour had to know poverty when He stooped to redeem us.
Boaz did not disclose the Price
One of the unmentioned things in the story of Boaz is that we never discover how much he paid as the price of redemption. As in the case of the depth to which Jonah descended, there are things which cannot be measured. And while we cannot measure the extent of the sufferings of Christ, we do know what He gave – He gave Himself, He gave His all.
- Ten men sat in the gate. The number is suggestive. Boaz satisfied every requirement of the law in carrying out the plan of redemption.
- Think of other undisclosed things in connection with pictures of Christ: the distance the scapegoat went in to the wilderness (Lev 16), the price the merchantman paid (Matt 13), and the years Joseph spent in prison.
- There is another contrast between Christ and Boaz. For Boaz, there was a possible “out” from having to be the redeemer. Whatever way you want to interpret the unnamed and reluctant redeemer, Boaz was not certain he would have to pay the price until he met the man in the gate (ch 4).