Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Great People of the Bible Week #7- Ruth


This ancestor of David and Jesus submitted to the circumstances of her life by submitting to the God of circumstances-- a foreign God at first. She still models for us the transtition from an outsider to an insider.

The stories of several people in the Bible are woven together so closely that they are almost inseparable. We know more about thier relationship than we know about them as individuals. And in an age that worships individualism, their stories become helpful models of good relationships. Naomi and Ruth are beautiful examples of this blending of lives. Their cultures, family backgrounds, and ages were very different. As mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, they probably had as many opportunities for tension as for tederness. And yet they were bound to each other.

They shared deep sorrow, great affection for each other and and overriding commitment to the God of Israel. And yet as much as they depended on each other, they also gave each other freedom in the commitment to one another. Naomi was willing to let Ruth return to her family. Ruth was willing to leave her homeland to go to Israel. Naomi even arranged Ruth's marriage to Boaz although it would change their relationship. But all the while God was at the center of their intimate communication and mutual love for one another.

Read Ruth 1:1-5
-Describe the difficult circumstances of Naomi's stay in Moab.

Read Ruth 1:6-22
-What factors could have kept Ruth and Naomi apart?
-What was Ruth's response to Naomi's insistence that she return to her home?
-Why did Ruth's pledge mark a significant change in her life?

Read Ruth 2:1-23
-What did Ruth's willingness to glean demonstrate about her character?
-What does the passage indicate about Ruth's attitude as she went aout to glean?
-When Ruth showed surprise at Boaz's consideration of her, he indicated that he had heard of her from the townspeople. What reputation had Ruth attained? How?
-Boaz blessed Ruth because of "what she had done". Accoding to Boaz, in whom had Ruth trusted?
-How had she demonstrated that trust?
-What actions had she taken that made her a recipient of his blessing?
-Imagine Ruth and Naomi praying together after that first day's gleaning. What do you think they would thank God for?

Read Ruth 3:1-6
-What was Naomi's plan for Ruth?
-Why was it important for Ruth to be vulnerable to Boaz?
-Why might this have been a difficult plan for Ruth to accept?
-What was Ruth's reply to Naomi?
-What does this demonstrate about the relationship between Ruth and Naomi?

Read Ruth 3:7-18
-What was Boaz's response to Ruth?
-What did his blessing in verse 10 demonstrate about Ruth's priorities and about her obedience to God?

Look back at Naomi's prayer for Ruth in chapter 1:8-9 and Boaz's prayer for Ruth in 2:12.
-In what ways was God beginning to answer those prayers?

Read Ruth 4:1-22
-Both Ruth and Boaz are called by name in Matthew's genealogy of Jesus Christ(Matthew 1:5). How is the presence of Ruth (a non-Israelite) in the lineage of Chist an indication of (1) his purposes in coming to earth and (2) the plan of salvation?
-Ruth 4:13 reads; "Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer." In light of the offspring of Ruth and Boaz, how was this an appropriate blessing?
-Ruth's life demonstrates the principles of faithfulness, humility, obedience, and fruitfulness. How can Ruth be a model to us today in 2005?

Next Week = David


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