Philippe R. Sterling
In 1776 America rejected monarchy for what would eventually be a republic. We celebrate that birth of freedom every 4th of July. We exercise our right to select our national leader every four years. Yet we have remained enamored of the British royals. We followed the celebrations for the Queen’s Jubilee. Tens of millions of us watched the royal wedding of Kate and William. Kate was a commoner who became a royal by marrying William.
We nostalgically look back to what many considered our American royalty – John and Jacqueline Kennedy. We even called their White House . . . Camelot.
As believers we look forward to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and the establishment of His Kingdom. We pray “Thy Kingdom come . . .” We who are commoners in this world have the opportunity to be royals in His Kingdom. In order to be royals then we need to develop royal character and display royal conduct now.
Two persons in the Bible who became royals are Ruth and Boaz. The Book of Ruth makes special note of their character and conduct. They provide a model for us of royal character and conduct.
We are first introduced to Boaz in Ruth 2:1. Now Naomi had a relative of her husband, an ‘ish gibbor chayil, of the family of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz. The Hebrew attribution ‘ish gibbor chayil may have a military, economic, or moral connotation.
The military connotation is used for Gideon, Jephthah, and Naaman. The translation could be mighty man of war or valiant warrior.
· 11 Then the angel of the LORD came and sat under the oak that was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite as his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press in order to save it from the Midianites. 12 The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, "The LORD is with you, O valiant warrior." (Judges 6:11-12)
· 1 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a valiant warrior, but he was the son of a harlot. (Judges 11:1)
· 1 Now Naaman, captain of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man with his master, and highly respected, because by him the LORD had given victory to Aram. The man was also a valiant warrior, but he was a leper. (2 Kings 5:1)
The economic connotation is used for men from whom Menahem king of Israel exacted money. The translation is mighty men of wealth.
· 17 In the thirty-ninth year of Azariah king of Judah, Menahem son of Gadi became king over Israel and reigned ten years in Samaria. 18 He did evil in the sight of the LORD; he did not depart all his days from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel sin. 19 Pul, king of Assyria, came against the land, and Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver so that his hand might be with him to strengthen the kingdom under his rule. 20 Then Menahem exacted the money from Israel, even from all the mighty men of wealth, from each man fifty shekels of silver to pay the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria returned and did not remain there in the land. (2 Kings 15:17-20)
The moral connotation is used for Solomon’s description of Adonijah. The translation is a worthy man in contrast to a wicked man. A worthy man is a man of character, excellence, or integrity.
· 51 Now it was told Solomon, saying, "Behold, Adonijah is afraid of King Solomon, for behold, he has taken hold of the horns of the altar, saying, 'Let King Solomon swear to me today that he will not put his servant to death with the sword.'" 52 Solomon said, "If he is a worthy man, not one of his hairs will fall to the ground; but if wickedness is found in him, he will die." (1 Kings 1:51-52)
The connotations of ‘ish gibbor chayil are mighty man of war, mighty man of wealth, or mighty man of worth. Boaz could be a man of valor, a man of wealth, or a man of character, or all three. His subsequent actions will reveal the meaning.
The narrative of Ruth 2:4-16 reveals what kind of a man was Boaz. The exchange of greetings with his harvesters show him to be God-focused, prayerful, and respectful. He goes out of his way to provide for Ruth and make sure of her protection. He bestows favor. He offers praise. He prays. He serves. He exhibits extraordinary generosity and kindness.
Boaz’ conduct demonstrates his moral character. J. Vernon McGee observes: “On the canvas of God’s Word, Boaz is drawn with noble features. He fulfilled in his life all that the Latin suggests in the great word virtus. Boaz was a man of virtue in the literal sense of that word. There is not a more winsome character presented in the Old Testament than Boaz, and there is not a more lovely woman in the Bible than Ruth. She compares favorably with her descendant Mary, the mother of Jesus. These two, Ruth and Boaz, stand out like stars on the black background of that corrupt day.”
Boaz is a man of noble character. He is an Old Testament knight. He exhibits the best sense of chivalry.
The Knight's Code of Chivalry was a moral system that stated that knights should protect others who could not protect themselves such as widows, children, and elders. Knights needed to have the strength and skills to fight wars in Medieval times. Knights were expected to use their power to protect the weak and defenseless. Knights were to fear God and maintain His Church. Knights were to persevere to the end in any quest undertaken.
In Ruth 3:11 Boaz will call Ruth “an ‘eshet chayil” (a woman of worth). Proverbs 31:10 asks, “An excellent wife (‘eshet chayil), who can find? For her worth is far above jewels.” The rest of the chapter describes the conduct and character of a woman of worth. Boaz and Ruth are two people of noble character.
The book of Ruth ends with the family tree of Boaz and Ruth: 18 Now these are the generations of Perez: to Perez was born Hezron, 19 and to Hezron was born Ram, and to Ram, Amminadab, 20 and to Amminadab was born Nahshon, and to Nahshon, Salmon, 21 and to Salmon was born Boaz, and to Boaz, Obed, 22 and to Obed was born Jesse, and to Jesse, David (Ruth 4:18-22). God brought together two people of noble character to form what will be the royal house of Israel. Ultimately from them would also come the Messiah: 1 The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham . . . 5 Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse. 6 Jesse was the father of David the king. David was the father of Solomon by Bathsheba who had been the wife of Uriah (Matthew 1:1, 5-6).
Isaiah uses the attribution ‘el gibbor (Mighty God) to describe the Messiah who will rule God’s Kingdom: 6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders ; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. 7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this (Isaiah 9:6-7).
Jesus the Messiah has made royal promises to believers of our age. We are to hear and heed what the Spirit says to the churches:
· To the church at Thyatira: 25 'Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come. 26 'He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, TO HIM I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS ; 27 AND HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON, AS THE VESSELS OF THE POTTER ARE BROKEN TO PIECES, as I also have received authority from My Father ; 28 and I will give him the morning star. 29 'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.' (Rev 2:25-29)
· To the church at Philadelphia: 11 'I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 'He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name. 13 'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.' (Rev 3:11-13)
· To the church at Laodicea: 14 "To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this: 15 'I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 'So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. 17 'Because you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, 18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. 19 'Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. 20 'Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. 21 'He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 22 'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'" (Rev 3:14-21)
Become like Boaz and Ruth. Under the power of the Holy Spirit follow a royal code of conduct: loyalty, kindness, humility, purity, servant-leadership, honesty, self-discipline, excellence, integrity, and perseverance. Live a life of honor and nobility. Become an ‘ish gibbor chayil or an ‘eshet chayil, a noble lord or lady. If you do, you will reign with Christ. You will be a royal in Christ’s coming Kingdom.