We need to take a long, hard look at Boaz. He was an average Joe—but God was at work in every circumstance of his life, not only for him, but for generations of his children yet to come. By the way, that’s exactly what the Lord is doing in your life. Boaz became a part of the greatest story in history when he made his decision to marry Ruth. In a culture that deflates masculinity and reflects the sad state of fatherhood in our world today, Boaz stands as an example of true biblical manhood. In the pages of Real Valor, Steve Farrar’s third installment in the Bold Men of God series, find the courage to rise up and shepherd your family in the way of Boaz.
About the Author
Steve Farrar is the founder and chairman of Men's Leadership Ministries. A graduate of California State University, Fullerton, with a Master's degree from Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon, he also has an earned a doctorate from Dallas Theological Seminary. Steve authored the best-selling book, Point Man: How a Man Can Lead His Family and has since written fifteen other books. He is a frequent speaker at conferences, for Promise Keepers and at many other events nationwide. Steve and his wife, Mary, have three grown children and currently reside in suburban Dallas, Texas.
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A CHARGE TO NURTURE AND PROTECT YOUR FAMILY
By STEVE FARRAR
David C. CookCopyright © 2013 Steve Farrar
All rights reserved.
"The wind in a man's face makes him wise."
Right out of the chute, this is a book that centers on Boaz, but I want to begin this book about Boaz by quoting a Scripture concerning his great-grandson.
He chose David his servant
and took him from the sheepfolds;
from following the nursing ewes he brought him
to shepherd Jacob his people,
Israel his inheritance.
With upright heart he shepherded them
and guided them with his skillful hand. (Ps. 78:70–72)
David, as you know, was one of the great kings of Israel. Yes, he'd had his share of significant and even shocking sin. But David was a man after God's own heart, and even when he fell into deep sin, he demonstrated deep repentance.
In other words, when he went wrong, he went way wrong. But when he turned around and came back to God, he came back heart and soul.
Overall, he was a king with a track record of following the Lord with a whole heart. Note the words set down in his Old Testament obituary: With upright heart he shepherded them and guided them with his skillful hand.
David started out as a shepherd and remained a shepherd his entire life. From the earliest days of his youth, he guided and cared for the little lambs and later was promoted to be king over God's people. In Israel, God expected His kings to shepherd the nation and its people. And David pulled it off with a skillful hand.
Joel Beeke told the story of an old Welsh shepherd who was asked how long it took for a shepherd to become competent. The old sheepherder paused for a moment and then replied, "About four generations."
David was a remarkable shepherd. But David's shepherding skills didn't start with him. It started with his great-grandfather Boaz. Oh, and by the way, if you do the math, David is the fourth generation from Boaz.
David shepherded a nation.
Boaz shepherded two desperate and destitute women, saving their lives. Eventually, he married the younger woman, took in her needy mother-in-law, and raised a son. In other words, he shepherded his family.
Most men don't shepherd nations. God calls most men to be husbands and fathers and grandfathers. He calls them to shepherd their families. We don't fly around in Air Force One and ride in limos. We aren't kings—we're family men. But as someone once said, "Every family is a small civilization."
I'm to shepherd my family as I follow the Lord Jesus Christ. But first He must do a radical work in my heart to turn me from myself and my sin to know and follow Him.
Owen Strachan said it well:
This very day, every man—whether a global leader or an unknown tradesman—has an opportunity to show the world that the gospel does not kill pleasure or aggressiveness. Rather, as [Jonathan] Edwards has shown, it frees Christians to experience true pleasure and to act in manly ways for a far greater cause than ourselves. We grieve the trajectory of modern men, and we feel special pain for the wives and children who are, through no fault of their own, deeply damaged by the sins of men. In a broken world, we pray to God to show the world a better way, a greater joy, and a magnificent Savior, who delights in taking sinful men and turning them into agents of his glory.
That's what it means to be a Boaz Man.
I will never have what it takes to do the job in my home until I utter from my heart of hearts, "The Lord is my Shepherd."
Boaz did that, and he did it well. He was one of the few who trusted in the Lord in a time of tremendous wickedness. His nation was in freefall and decline. And all the while, he stood firm like a pillar of basalt, going about his business, shunning sin on the left and the right, and trusting the Great Shepherd to direct his steps and provide wisdom for the daily grind.
Sometimes you hear people in Christian circles talk about miracles, signs, and wonders. As far as I'm concerned, a man who stays faithful to God and shepherds his family in a time of national upheaval and great moral decline is a wonder. And something about him points to strength and wisdom beyond his own.
Boaz is among the group of Old Testament greats who point us to Christ.
I think you're going to like this guy.
He reminds us by his life and character of what it means to be a God-fearing man. We live in a time when so many are confused about masculinity and manhood. They never really saw their fathers model manly, godly behavior in the home. As a result, they're confused and unsure of what they're supposed to do and how they're supposed to live. Some of them get so overwhelmed that they just give up.
"I Don't Need to Be Confused"
Jackie Cooper was a big-time TV star when I was growing up. He had a couple of major hits in primetime, including Hennessy. When Jackie Cooper was a kid, he was one of Hollywood's biggest child movie stars—sort of the male equivalent to Shirley Temple. Then he performed on the stage in London and on Broadway. After he left his primetime TV gig, he became a Hollywood producer and director. For a while he tried his hand at car racing. Later he raised thoroughbred horses.
So here's a guy who was successful in many different facets of show business his entire life. He was talented, smart, funny, and very engaging. And he was also a pretty good businessman. That's why I took a moment to read his obituary when I saw it online.
And I found out something I didn't know about him.
Jackie Cooper had never known his father. His dad cut out on the family in 1924 when Jackie was just two years old. In 1951, Cooper was driving his car from New York to Los Angeles. Apparently, at that point in his life he didn't like flying and chose to make the cross-country trip in his car. He pulled into a service station one afternoon in some small town outside of Kansas City to get some gas and a Coke. As he was pumping gas, the mechanic recognized him and came over to greet him. Jackie Cooper shook the man's hand and was stunned to hear the man tell him that his father, John Cooper Sr., lived upstairs over the garage.
Cooper had to be in shock. The man went on to say that his father had Jackie's pictures all over his room and spoke of him with pride. "Let me tell him that you're here," the mechanic said.
"Please don't," replied Cooper. "I don't need to be confused."
And then Jackie Cooper got into his car and drove away.
You see, that's what happens when a man runs away and doesn't shepherd his family. When a man doesn't care enough to stay on the scene and love and care for his family, all he leaves behind him is a cloud of confusion.
White or Wheat?
We need to take a minute and talk about white bread and whole grain bread. That may seem to you like a jarring shift of gears, but I assure you, it isn't. I think there are two kinds of men in the world: you've got your white bread men and your whole grain men.
Jackie Cooper's father was a white bread man.
Maybe your dad was too.
Allow me to explain. For thousands of years, bread has been the staple of life. Much care and time has been given to the planting, nurturing, and harvesting of the various kinds of grains. For generations upon generations, virtually all bread produced was whole grain bread. But somewhere around a hundred years ago, somebody (and it's hard to determine who) got the bright idea of removing the bran and the germ from whole wheat flour. And when they did that, they basically stripped it of its nutritional value.
But the new milling process also had a benefit. It greatly increased the shelf life of the bread before it went stale.
The white of white bread, however, wasn't that easy to come by. It seems that when you mill out the wheat germ and bran from the bread, it leaves it with an unappetizing yellowish color. That's when they got the idea of bleaching the flour with chlorine dioxide gas, to make it white.
This stuff was easy to mass-produce, slice, and package. It was snow white, uniform, perfectly sliced—and essentially worthless, nutritionally speaking. It looked like bread, but in essence it had no substance. So eventually they had to start adding minerals to it to keep the soldiers healthy in World War II.
(I'm going somewhere with this, so stay with me.)
The good stuff in the bread world is whole grain bread. Did you know that there is actually a recipe for bread that God gave for the Israelites to eat? We've got some Ezekiel 4:9 bread in our freezer. No kidding—that's the name of the bread. The bread recipe is actually based on Ezekiel 4:9, and the passage is paraphrased on the packaging: "Take also unto thee wheat and barley, and beans, and lentils, and millet, and spelt, and put them in one vessel, and make bread of it."
This company actually did that—and they made a remarkable discovery. And once again I quote from the label on the plastic bag: "We discovered that when these six grains and legumes are sprouted and combined, an amazing thing happens. A complete protein is created that closely parallels the protein found in milk and eggs. In fact, the protein quality is so high ... that it contains all 9 essential amino acids. There are 18 amino acids present in this unique bread—from all vegetable sources—naturally balanced in nature."
Now that's what I call wonder bread. It's got all the substance and all the stuff that you need to stay healthy.
Okay—you get the point.
White bread men are men who look just like real men, but they don't have the substance needed to nurture and provide for their families. These guys look good on the surface, but they don't deliver in the clutch. They're like a mouthful of ... nothing.
That's the kind of father Jackie Cooper had.
But the Boaz Man is the whole grain man. Yes, he's probably kind of rough around the edges. He may be a little lumpy and bumpy, his coloring isn't always perfect, his texture may be a little more coarse, and sometimes you've got to chew a little longer to digest what he has to say. But he's got the substance and stuff to stay the course and take care of his family in the stresses and strains of everyday life.
The Book of Boaz
So let's get to the book of Boaz.
But there's just one problem. The book of Boaz doesn't exist.
The book of Ruth, however, does exist, and it is in that brief Old Testament book that we find the story of Boaz. So who was Ruth? She was the woman who wound up marrying Boaz, a distant relative of her mother-in-law, Naomi.
Wait a minute. If Ruth already had a mother-in-law, then that means she was already married. Right? That's true—but her husband died as a young man, and Ruth became a very young widow. As a matter of fact, both Ruth and Naomi were widows—and they were in a heap of trouble.
Until Boaz showed up.
And then Ruth met Boaz and everything changed for the better.
This may be hard for you to believe, but your life has actually been improved beyond words because Boaz walked into Ruth's life. (But I'm getting way ahead of myself here.)
There is no book of Boaz, but there is the book of Ruth.
Nevertheless, even though he doesn't get top billing, Boaz is the central figure in the story. As a matter of fact, if Boaz had never showed up, there would be no story.
The book of Ruth has only four chapters and three main people: Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz. But every time I read through the book of Ruth, I come away with the same thought.
The book of Ruth is all about Boaz.
He doesn't even show up until chapter 2, but when he does, he rescues two women who are in desperate financial straits with absolutely no options to improve their lives. And then Boaz shows up and saves their lives.
Matthew Henry, the great Bible commentator of the nineteenth century, said that the book of Boaz—the book of Ruth—had two purposes. The first was to lead us to the doctrine of God's providence, and the second was to lead us to Christ.
If you've ever doubted that God is involved in every detail of your life, you will be reminded of that fact on every page of the book of Boaz. Your life is not an accident or a mistake or the result of chance. You are alive and exist by the specific plan and will of God. That's true of you and it's true of the history of the entire world. Every detail of the past and of the future are planned, arranged, and orchestrated by the providence of God.
Did you know that it's impossible to be content where you are right now without an awareness of God's providence? The reason that so many of us struggle with contentment is because we are woefully ignorant of what the Bible teaches us about God's providence. The book of Boaz is all about God's providence, and it's all about the Lord Jesus Christ—and it's providence that ties the two together.
Over three hundred years ago, Jeremiah Burroughs wrote about the contentment that only a right understanding of God's providence can bring. These are whole-grain words. Chew them slowly, and take in all their nourishment.
(It is necessary) to understand the universality of providence, that it, how the providence of God goes through the whole world and extends itself to everything. Not only that God by his providence rules the world, and governs all things in general, but that it reaches to every detail; not only to order the great affairs of kingdoms, but it reaches to every man's family; it reaches to every person in the family; it reaches to every condition; yes, to every happening, to everything that falls out concerning you in every particular; not one hair falls from your head, not a sparrow to the ground, without the providence of God. Nothing befalls you, good or evil, but there is a providence of the eternal first Being in that thing; and therein is God's infiniteness, that it reaches to the least things, to the worm that is under your feet.
Not only does God take care of the whole world, but His care extends to the very worms in the earth beneath your feet. When Jeremiah Burroughs penned that truth in the 1600s, he wasn't sipping a Snapple Diet Peach Tea. But the other day when I took the cap off a Snapple bottle, I read an interesting fact inside the bottle cap. Worms (so the bottle cap told me) have five hearts that are perfectly synchronized. That was news to me— especially since I had just looked at the Jeremiah Burroughs comment about the God's providence extending even to worms.
So I did a computer search on this and found that technically worms don't have hearts but five aortic arches that for simplicity's sake are commonly called "hearts." The aortic arch functions as a heart, although there are no chambers. "Worms also don't have lungs. They absorb oxygen through their skin and then it gets into their blood vessels. The dorsal blood vessel does a bit of the pumping work, with the hearts helping to keep the blood pressure steady."
I know you have a pretty busy life with a lot going on, but take a minute to think about how God regulates blood pressure. Not your blood pressure, but the blood pressure of the earthworms in the ground below you. That's how detailed the providence of God truly is. He governs the entire universe, and if He even governs the blood pressure of worms, that simple fact should reduce your blood pressure. In other words, if He's taking care of the worms, He's obviously got you covered too.
Naomi and Ruth didn't know much about worms, but they did understand that their credit cards were maxed out, the cupboards were pretty much bare, and they were out of cash. Boaz showed up in just the nick of time for these destitute women. They were without government assistance, savings accounts, or food stamps.
Then ... at the exact moment when they were about to lose hope, Boaz saw Ruth. And in that one detail that fed through the optic nerve of the physiology of Boaz, both of their lives changed in an instant. I would even be so bold as to say that the whole world changed in that moment. And it was all because of the providence of God.
Maybe you've heard that old expression "The devil is in the details." No, the fact is God is in the details. And one small detail, like Boaz seeing Ruth from afar for the first time, contains not one providence but many providences. Jeremiah Burroughs continued:
There is an infinite variety of the works of God in an ordinary providence, and yet they all work in an orderly way. We put these two things together, for God in his providence causes a thousand thousand things to depend upon one another. There are an infinite number of wheels, as I may say, in the works of providence; put together all the works that ever God did from all eternity or ever will do, and they all make up but one work, and they have been as several wheels that have had their ordinary motion to attain the end that God from all eternity has appointed.
Excerpted from REAL VALOR by STEVE FARRAR. Copyright © 2013 Steve Farrar. Excerpted by permission of David C. Cook.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1 Boaz Man,
2 White Bread Gone Bad,
3 Area 51,
4 Rock or Sand,
5 Keep Calm and Carry On,
6 Good Out of Bad,
7 Hard Stretch of Highway,
8 Boaz Rides In,
9 The Missing Piece,
10 Man in Motion,
The Enduring Qualities of a Boaz Man,
Study Questions for Personal Reflection or Group Discussion,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Steve Farrar in his new book, "Real Valor" published by David C. Cook gives us A Charge to Nurture and Protect Your Family. From the Back Cover: It takes a real man to raise a family. We need to take a long, hard look at Boaz. He was an average Joe--but God was at work in every circumstance of his life, not only for him, but for generations of his children yet to come. By the way, that's exactly what the Lord is doing in your life. Boaz became a part of the greatest story in history when he made his decision to marry Ruth. In a culture that deflates masculinity and reflects the sad state of fatherhood in our world today, Boaz stands as an example of true biblical manhood. In the pages of Real Valor, Steve Farrar's third installment in the Bold Men of God series, find the courage to rise up and shepherd your family in the way of Boaz. There is no Bible book of Boaz. However there is the book of Ruth. Boaz doesn't even appear in this book until chapter two, but when he does he rescues two women who are in desperate financial straits with absolutely no options to improve their lives. And then Boaz shows up to save their lives. The character of Boaz is a type of Christ. Steve Farrar does an excellent job of showing us Boaz then and how he reflects Christ and then shows us how we, as men today, can be more like Boaz. "Real Valor" is a must have book. By doing this in-depth look at Boaz Mr. Farrar shows us what it is like to be a Boaz man. This is a book for all men. It is a tool to help us focus on what really matters to God. I recommend this book highly! Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free from David C. Cook for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
I have always loved the book of Ruth. When I heard Alistair Begg's sermons on Ruth I loved her story even more. Ruth is a lovely little book, only four chapters long, and God paints a grand scene on this small canvas: Fidelity, Redemption, Restoration, and Love. The story of Ruth exists like all of Scripture to point us to Christ, and in Ruth the illustration of Christ is found in the person of the Kinsman Redeemer, Boaz. Boaz is the man who rescued her and loved her, Like Christ does for us. Her story is His Story. Within Ruth's story we see Boaz as an illustration of Christ and also upheld as one of the best examples of manhood in Scripture. Real Valor: A Charge to Nurture and Protect Your Family is a book I am glad to add to my library of books on Biblical Manhood and Marriage and Family. Real Valor looks at the heart and character of Boaz; what made him tick, and why this Boaz-Man has a lot to show us about Godly manhood. We find that Boaz was truly a mighty man of Valor, and that he was used mightily in a way every man of God can be used. "Most men don't shepherd nations," Steve Farrar states, "God calls most men to be husbands and fathers and grandfathers. He calls them to shepherd their families." Boaz's role in God's Plan was as a shepherd of his family. He lived righteously, worked diligently, worshipped humbly, stepped up to his duty as a rescuer of Naomi and Ruth, and when he married in purity and honor he was blessed to become an ancestor of Christ through his son. Real Valor looks at many themes that we see in Boaz's life. We read about his awareness of God's Providence that guided every detail of his days. We see his sterling character, that would refuse a blessing he dearly wanted because another man was first in line to receive it. We watch his care and compassion for the orphan and widow; his love of mercy and his willingness to pour out grace upon this widowed Moabitess Ruth. Steve Farrar's book is rich with quotes from great Theologians, including Thomas Watson, Charles Spurgeon, and Jeremiah Burroughs, all Boaz Men themselves. They show us Men the way God created them to be: Under the Kingship of Christ and working and striving for His Kingdom. Like Boaz, these Puritan Calvinists were real men, strong and sturdy, and they are among the best Theologians our world has seen, because they are God's men. You see this in Spurgeon's expositions. As you read you become overwhelmed by his manly, passionate love for Christ. His Godliness is expressed in a masculine way. The Puritan men who penned the prayers in Valley of Vision set this truth firmly in our soul. They are real men, worshipping The Living God with their minds brimming with Scripture. I hope that every one who has not yet read their writing will venture into them now... You will not return the same. Their quotes added so much to this good book about Boaz. I am looking forward to sharing Real Valor with my family. I am glad I was given this book from David C Cook Publishing free for review. Real Valor will be added to my library.