Ruth 1.1-22 – October 29, 2020

Ruth 1:1–22

In the days when the judges ruled,  there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. The man’s name was Elimelek, his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.
Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband. 

When Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there. With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.
Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.”
Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud 10 and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.”
11 But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? 12 Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons—13 would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!”
14 At this they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her.
15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”
16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.
19 So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?”
20 “Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty  has made my life very bitter. 21 I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”
22 So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.
 (Ruth 1:1–22, NIV)

Call me bitter! Is there a sadder story than a woman in a foreign country without any family to come to her aid? Or is Naomi without the help she thinks she is?

Thought Questions:

Naomi laments her situation, which indeed would have been challenging. Had you been in her shoes, how do you think you would have reacted to her circumstances?

The book of Ruth is filled with heroes who provide help for those in need. Who is the hero of today’s text? What actions proved heroic?

When your life goes wrong, do you assume you are without help? To whom do you turn for support?

Ruth 4.1-22 – October 19, 2020

Ruth 4.1–22

This, then, is the family line of Perez:
Perez was the father of Hezron,
19 Hezron the father of Ram,
Ram the father of Amminadab,
20 Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
21 Salmon the father of Boaz,
Boaz the father of Obed,
22 Obed the father of Jesse,
and Jesse the father of David.

(Ruth 4.18–22, NIV)

In a book that seems slightly off topic, we discover that it is through the lineage of Ruth comes Jesus.

Thought Questions:

So which character in the book of Ruth was most faithful? Might one argue that Boaz was just as faithful as anyone?

How might of the story of Jesus been different if Boaz had not been a part of Ruth’s story?

In what ways has God moved in unusual and surprising ways in your life and the end result was unexpected blessings?

Ruth 2.1-23 – August 31, 2020

Ruth 2:1–23

Now Naomi had a relative on her husband’s side, a man of standing from the clan of Elimelek, whose name was Boaz.
And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.”
Naomi said to her, “Go ahead, my daughter.” So she went out, entered a field and began to glean behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she was working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelek.
Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, “The Lord be with you!”
“The Lord bless you!” they answered.
Boaz asked the overseer of his harvesters, “Who does that young woman belong to?”
The overseer replied, “She is the Moabite who came back from Moab with Naomi. She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the harvesters.’ She came into the field and has remained here from morning till now, except for a short rest in the shelter.”
So Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here with the women who work for me. Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the women. I have told the men not to lay a hand on you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled.”
10 At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She asked him, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me—a foreigner?”
11 Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. 12 May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”
13 “May I continue to find favor in your eyes, my lord,” she said. “You have put me at ease by speaking kindly to your servant—though I do not have the standing of one of your servants.”
14 At mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come over here. Have some bread and dip it in the wine vinegar.”

When she sat down with the harvesters, he offered her some roasted grain. She ate all she wanted and had some left over. 15 As she got up to glean, Boaz gave orders to his men, “Let her gather among the sheaves and don’t reprimand her. 16 Even pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up, and don’t rebuke her.”
17 So Ruth gleaned in the field until evening. Then she threshed the barley she had gathered, and it amounted to about an ephah.  18 She carried it back to town, and her mother-in-law saw how much she had gathered. Ruth also brought out and gave her what she had left over after she had eaten enough.
19 Her mother-in-law asked her, “Where did you glean today? Where did you work? Blessed be the man who took notice of you!”
Then Ruth told her mother-in-law about the one at whose place she had been working. “The name of the man I worked with today is Boaz,” she said.
20 “The Lord bless him!” Naomi said to her daughter-in-law. “He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead.” She added, “That man is our close relative; he is one of our guardian-redeemers. ”
21 Then Ruth the Moabite said, “He even said to me, ‘Stay with my workers until they finish harvesting all my grain.’ ”
22 Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, “It will be good for you, my daughter, to go with the women who work for him, because in someone else’s field you might be harmed.”
23 So Ruth stayed close to the women of Boaz to glean until the barley and wheat harvests were finished. And she lived with her mother-in-law.
 (Ruth 2:1–23, NIV)

Ruth is a story of not only incredible love and commitment between a mother and daughter-in-law, but also an example of the providence of God.

Thought Questions:

Why do you think Boaz was kind to Ruth, an act that was probably not customary in that day?

Why would Boaz be mindful of God blessing Ruth for her actions, for what she had done? What had she done that was so noteworthy?

What does Naomi’s reaction to the news that Ruth harvested in the field of Boaz tell you about Boaz, but also about Naomi’s trust in God?

And He Believed Him – May 6, 2019

Ruth 2.1-4.22; John 4.43-54; Psalm 105.16-36; Proverbs 14.26-27

If I am going to believe in something you say, I really want some sort of proof that you will actually come through and do what you say you will. It’s the reason we have deposits and contracts and in days gone by, a handshake. What does is take to believe Jesus can do something in your life that you have never seen up to this point?

Questions:

In what ways was Boaz devoted to God, but also Naomi and Ruth in the story of Ruth?

Why do you think it was unusual for a government official to bring a request to Jesus that he would heal his son?

Why is recounting the things God has done in our lives an important part of building our faith?

What are ways people try to find security in their lives besides fearing the Lord?

Anarchy – May 5, 2019

Judges 21.1-Ruth 1.22; John 4.4-42; Psalm 105.1-15; Proverbs 14.25

“In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.” What a powerful, yet terrible, statement. These are the people God had selected to be his chosen nation and yet look at them now! You cannot refuse to submit to a king and assume things will go well. What happens when you refuse to see God as your king and choose to do your own thing instead?

Questions:

If your name was going to be a description of how you see yourself, what would your name be?

What does Jesus mean when he says we need to worship in spirit and in truth?

Tell someone today about God’s wonderful deeds.

Describe a time when someone said false things about you. How did you react and what was the result?