Brave Hearts Ministry

Ruth


Memory Verse:  “Don’t make me leave you, for I want to go wherever you go, and to live wherever you live; your people shall be my people, and your God shall be my God.”  Ruth 1:16

 

Facts about Ruth

 

Author: Unknown

Purpose:  To show how three people remained strong in character and true to God even when the society around them was collapsing.

Date Written: Sometime after the period of the judges (1375-1050 B.C.)

Setting:  A dark time in Israel’s history when people lived to please themselves, not God

 

                                                            Overview

 

Lesson #1   Ruth 1:1-22        A Lesson of Faithfulness

Lesson #2   Ruth 2:1-23        A Lesson of Kindness

Lesson #3   Ruth  3:1-18       A Lesson of  Integrity

Lesson #4   Ruth  4:1-22       A Lesson of  Protection

                                              Result of the lessons were Prosperity/Blessing

 

Lesson #1: Ruth 1:1-22. A lesson of faithfulness

 

“Long ago when judges ruled in Israel, a man named Elimelech, from Bethlehem, left the country because of a famine and moved to the land of Moab.  With him were his wife, Naomi, and his two sons.  During the time of their residence there, Elimelech died and Naomi was left with her two sons.

            These young men married girls of Moab.  Later both sons died, so Naomi was left alone, without her husband or sons.  She decided to return to Israel with her daughters-in-law, for she had heard that the Lord had blessed his people by giving them good crops again. 

But after they had begun their homeward journey, she changed her mind and said to her two daughters-in-law ‘Why don’t you return to your parents’ homes instead of coming with me?  And  may the Lord reward you for your faithfulness to your husbands and to me.  And may he bless you with another happy marriage.’  Then she kissed them and they all broke down and cried.

‘No’ they said.  ‘We want to go with you to your people.’

But Naomi replied. ‘It is better for you to return to your own people.  Do I have younger sons who could grow up to be you husbands?  No, my daughters, return to your parents’ homes, for I am too old to have a husband.  And even if that were possible, and I became pregnant tonight, and bore sons, would you wait for them to grow up? No, of course not, my daughters; oh, how I grieve for you that the Lord has punished me in a way that injures you.’  (Naomi’s comment here refers to levirate marriage, the obligation of a dead man’s brother to care for his widow.  This law kept the widow from poverty and it provided a way for the family name of the dead husband to continue.)

And again they cried together, and Orpah, one of the daughter-in-laws, kissed her mother-in-law good-bye, and returned to her childhood home; but Ruth insisted on staying with Naomi.

‘See,’ Naomi said to her, ‘Your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; you should do the same.’

But Ruth replied, ‘Don’t make me leave you, for I want to go wherever you go, and to live wherever you live; your people shall be my people, and you God shall be my God; I want to die where you die, and be buried there, May the Lord do a terrible thing to me if I allow anything but death to separate us.’

When Naomi saw that Ruth had made up her mind and could not be persuaded otherwise, she stopped urging her.  So they both came to Bethlehem and the entire village was stirred by their arrival.

            ‘Is it really Naomi?’ the women asked.

But she told them, ‘Don’t call me Naomi.  Call me Mara, (Naomi means (pleasant”; Mara means “bitter”) for Almighty God has dealt me bitter blows.  I went out full and the Lord has brought me home empty; why should you call me Naomi when the Lord has turned his back on me and sent such calamity.” (Their return from, Moab and arrival in Bethlehem was at the beginning of the barley harvest.)

 

Questions

 

1.      Why did Elimelech leave Bethlehem?  (There was a famine.)

2.      Naomi was left alone without her husband and two sons.  What did she decide to do? (She decided to go back to Bethlehem.)

3.      She decided to take her two daughters-in-law with her.  Why did she decide this was the thing to do?  (Naomi heard that the Lord had blessed His people by giving them good crops.)

4.      Naomi changed her mind after one day of travel.  What did she think was the best for the girls?  (She wanted them to return to the homes of their parents’.  She hoped the Lord world provide them with another happy marriage.)

5.      Ruth insisted on staying with Naomi.  Why?  (Ruth replied don’t make me leave you, for I want to go wherever you so, to live wherever you live; your people be my people and your God shall be my God.  May the Lord do terrible things to me if I allow anything but death to separate us)

6.      They returned to Bethlehem.  Naomi changed her name.  Do you think this was a good think to do?  Why or why not.  (Naomi had changed her name to express the bitterness and pain she felt.  She seems to have lost sight of the tremendous resources she had in her relationship with Ruth and God. ) When you face hard times, God welcomes your honest prayers, but be careful not to overlook the love, strength, and resources that he provides in relationships.  Talk about the blessings God had given you.

 

Remember relationships as well as things.   

 

Summary:  Ruth’s faithfulness to Naomi as a daughter-in-law and friend is a great example of love and loyalty.  Ruth’s life was guided by faithfulness toward God and showed itself in loyalty toward the people she knew.  To be loyal and loving in relationships, we must imitate God’s faithfulness in our relationships with others.

                             

Lesson 2:  Ruth 2:1-23. A lesson of kindness

 

First we must understand what it means to glean.  When the wheat and barley were ready to be harvested, reapers were hired to cut down the stalks and tie them into bundles. Israelite law demanded that the corners of the fields not be harvested.  In addition, any grain that was dropped was also to be left for the gleaners, poor people who were free to pick up the leftover grain.  The purpose of this law was to provide food

for the poor and prevent the owners from hoarding.  This law served as a type of welfare program in Israel.  Because Naomi and Ruth were widows with no means of providing for themselves, Ruth went into the fields to glean.

 

“Now Naomi had an in-law there in Bethlehem who was a very wealthy man.  His name was Boaz.  One day Ruth said to Naomi, ‘Perhaps I can go out into the fields of some kind man to glean the free grain behind his reapers.’   And Naomi said ‘All right, dear daughter, Go ahead.’  So she did.  And as it happened, the field where she found herself belonged to Boaz this relative of Naomi’s husband.

Boaz arrived from the city while she was there.  After exchanging greetings with the reapers he said to his foreman, ‘Hey, who’s that girl over there?’ 

The foreman replied ‘It’s that girl from the land of Moab who came back with Naomi.  She asked me this morning if she could pick up the grains dropped by the reapers, and has been at it ever since except for a few minutes rest over there in the shade.’  

Boaz went over and talked to her.  ‘Listen, my child,’ he said to her.  ‘Stay right here with us to glean; don’t think of going to any other fields.  Stay right behind my women workers; I have warned the young men not to bother you; when you are thirsty, go and help yourself to the water.’

She thanked him warmly.  ‘How can you be so kind to me?’ she asked.  ‘You must know I am only a foreigner.’

‘Yes, I know, Boaz replied,’ and I also know about all the love and kindness you have shown your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you left you father and mother in you own land and have come here to live among strangers.  May the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, bless you for it.’

‘Oh, thank you sir, she replies.  ‘You are so good to me, and I’m not even one of your workers!’

At lunch time Boaz called to her, ‘Come and eat with us.’

So she sat with his reapers and he gave her food, more than she could eat.

When she went back to work again, Boaz told his young men to let her glean right among the sheaves without stopping her, and to snap off some heads of barley and drop them on purpose for her to glean, and not to make any remarks.  So she gleaned, it came to a whole bushel!  She carried it back into the city and gave it to her mother-in-law, with what was left of her lunch.

‘So much!’ Naomi exclaimed ‘Where in the world did you glean today?  Praise the Lord for whoever was so kind to you. ‘So Ruth told her mother-in law all about it, and mentioned that the owner of the field was Boaz.  Praise the Lord for a man like that!  God has continued his kindness to us as well as to your dead husband!’  Naomi cried excitedly. ‘Why, that man is one of our closest relatives!’

‘Well’ Ruth told her, ‘he said to come back and stay close behind his reapers until the entire field is harvested.’

‘This is wonderful!!’ Naomi exclaimed.  ‘Do as he has said.  Stay behind his girls  through the whole harvest; you will be safer there than in any other field!’

So Ruth did, and gleaned with them until the end of the barley harvest, and the wheat harvest, too.”

 

Questions:

 

1.      What does it mean to glean a field?  (You are free to pick up the left over grain.)

2.      Why was this important to Naomi and Ruth?  (They had no other means of getting food.   They were poor.)

3.      What do you think they did with the grain? (Answers will vary but some might be grinding it into flour, cooking it whole for barley soup, etc.)

4.      Whose field did Ruth glean in?  ( Boaz)

5.      What form of kindness did Boaz show Ruth and Naomi?  (He told Ruth to stay in his field, he said stay right behind by women workers, warned the young men not to bother her, fed her lunch, told his reapers to snap off  some heads of barley and drop them on purpose.)   

6.      Who did Naomi give thanks to?  (Praise the Lord for whoever was so kind and Praise the Lord for a man like that.)

7.      Let the girls think of all of the ways Boaz had shown kindness to Naomi and Ruth, and the ways Ruth has shown kindness to Naomi. Discuss ways they can show kindness to others.  Discuss ways others have shown kindness to them.

 

Summary:  Ruth showed great kindness to Naomi.  In turn, Boaz showed kindness to Ruth- a despised Moabite woman with no money.  God showed his kindness to Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz by bringing them together for his purposes.

 

Lesson 3:  Ruth 3:1-18.   A lesson of integrity

 

The dictionary states the meaning of integrity as complete moral principles; honesty; soundness; the quality of being whole or undivided.  We will see how Ruth and Boaz exhibit these qualities.

 

“One day Naomi said to Ruth, ‘My dear, isn’t it time that I try to find a husband for you, and get you happily married again?  The man I’m thinking of is Boaz!  He has been so kind to us, and is a close relative.  I happen to know that he will be winnowing (to free the grain from the chaff by force, wind or beating it against the floor) barley tonight out on the threshing floor.  Now do what I tell you---bathe and put on some perfume and some nice clothes and go on down to the threshing-floor, but don’t let him see you until he has finished his supper.  Notice where he lies down to sleep; then go and lift the cover off his feet and lie down there, and he will tell you what to do concerning marriage.’ Ruth replied, ‘All right.  I’ll do what ever you say.’

So she went down to the threshing-floor that night and followed her mother-in-law’s instructions.  After Boaz had finished a good meal, he lay down very contentedly beside a heap of grain and went to sleep.  Then Ruth came quietly and lifted the covering off his feet and lay there.  Suddenly, around midnight he wakened and sat up, startled.  There was a woman lying at his feet!

‘Who are you?’ he demanded.

‘It’s I, sir-Ruth,’ she replied.  Make me your wife according to God’s law, for you are my close relative.’

‘Thank God for a girl like you!’ he exclaimed. ‘For you are being even kinder to Naomi now than before.  Naturally you’d prefer a younger man, even though poor.  But you have put aside your personal desires.  Now don’t worry about a thing, my child; I’ll handle all the details, for everyone knows what a wonderful person you are.  But there is one problem.  It’s true that I am a close relative, but there is someone else who is more closely related to you than I am.  Stay here tonight, and in the morning I’ll talk to him, and if he will marry you, fine: let him do his duty; but if he won’t, then I will, I swear by Jehovah; lie down until the morning.’

So she lay at his feet until the morning and was up early before daybreak, for he had said to her, ‘Don’t let it be known that a woman was here at the threshing-floor.’

Bring your shawl,’ he told her.  Then he tied up a bushel and a half of barley in it as a present for her mother-in-law, and laid it on her back.  Then she returned to the city.

‘Well, what happened, dear?’ Naomi asked her when she arrived home.  She told Naomi everything and gave her the barley from Boaz, and mentioned his remark that she mustn’t go home without a present.

Then Naomi said to her, ‘Just be patient until we hear what happens, for Boaz won’t rest until he has followed through on this.  He’ll settle it today.’       

 

Questions:

 

1.      As widows, Ruth and Naomi could only look forward to difficult times.  Typical of Naomi’s character she thought of Ruth’s happiness first.  She wanted to see if Boaz would take the responsibility of being a kinsman-redeemer to Ruth.  A kinsman-redeemer was a relative who volunteered to take responsibility for the extended family.  Why did Naomi pick Boaz to be Ruth’s husband?  (He had been kind to them and he was a close relative.

2.      Naomi gave Ruth specific instructions that she was to follow.  What were they?  (bathe, put on perfume, put on nice clothes, go to the threshing floor.  When she got there she was not to be seen until Boaz had finished his dinner.  She was then to go to him, lift the cover off his feet and lie down, at his feet.) This seems very strange to us.  Remember our lesson is integrity.  Ruth will remain morally pure.

3.      What did Boaz do when he discovered her?  (He wanted to know who she was)

4.       What was Ruth’s response?  (It is I sir, Ruth.  Make me your wife according to God’s law, for you are my close relative.)

5.      What (The barley was for Naomi because she couldn’t go home without  a present.  We have a kinsman-redeemer in Jesus Christ, did Boaz think of Ruth’s character?  (Thank God for a girl like you.  You are even kinder to Naomi than before.)

6.       We don’t know how old Boaz is but we do know Boaz feels she’d probably prefer a younger man even if he were poor.  Boaz will take care of all the details.  However, there is one little problem, what was it?  (There is a closer relative to her than Boaz.  He has the first choice to marry her.)

 7.   Boaz gave Ruth a bushel and a half of barley.  Who was she to give it to and why?   

       Who though He was God he came to earth as a man in order to save us.  By His death on the cross, He has redeemed us from sin.  This guarantees our eternal inheritance.

 

Summary:  Ruth showed high moral character by being loyal to Naomi, by her clean break from her former land and customs, and by her hard work in the fields.  Boaz showed integrity in his moral standards, his honesty, and by following through on his commitments.

 

Lesson 4: Ruth 4:1-11, 13, 17.  A lesson of protection 

 

Ruth 1-11

 

“Boaz went down to the marketplace and found the relative he had mentioned.  ‘Say, come over here,’ he called to him.  ‘I want to talk to you a minute.’  So they sat down together.  Then Boaz called for ten of the chief men of the village, and asked them to sit as witnesses.  (Boaz cleverly presented his case to the relative.  First he brought in new information not yet mentioned in the story- Elimelech, Naomi’s former husband still had some property in the area that was now for sale.  As the nearest relative, this man had the first right to buy the land.)   Boaz said to his relative, ‘You know Naomi, who came back to us from Moab.  She is selling our brother Elimelech’s property.  I felt that I should speak to you about so that you can buy it if you wish, with these respected men as witnesses.  If you want it, let me know right away, for if you don’t take it, I will. You have the first right to purchase it and I am next.’

The man replied, ‘All right, I’ buy it.’

Then Boaz told him, ‘Your purchase of the land from Naomi requires your marriage to Ruth so that she can have children to carry on her husband’s name, and to inherit the land.’

‘Then I can’t do it,’ the man replied.  ‘For her son would become an heir to my property, too; you buy it.’

In those days it was the custom in Israel for a man transferring a right of purchase to pull off his sandal and hand it to the other party; this publicly validated the transaction.  So, as the man said to Boaz, ‘You buy it for yourself,’ he drew off his sandal.

Then Boaz said to the witnesses and to the crowd standing around, ‘You have seen that today I have bought all the property of Elimelech, Chilion, and Mahon, from Naomi, and that with it I have purchased Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of Mahlon, to be my wife, so that she can have a son to carry on the family name of her dead husband.’

All the people standing there, and the witnesses replied, ‘We are witnesses.  May the Lord make this woman, who has come into your home, be as fertile as Rachel and Leah, from whom all the nation of Israel descended!’ 

 

4:13

 

So Boaz married Ruth.

 

4:17 

 

She had a son they named Obed.  He became the father of Jesse and grandfather of King David.  She was the great grandmother of King David.  This is how a Moabite lady became part of the family tree from which Jesus was born. 

The events recorded in Ruth were part of God’s preparations for the birth of King David and for Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah.  Just as Ruth was unaware of this larger purpose in her life, we will never know the full purpose and importance of our lives until we are able to look back on the whole picture from the perspective of eternity.  We must make our choices with God’s eternal values in mind.  Because of Ruth’s faithful obedience, her life and legacy carried great significance even though she couldn’t see the end result.  Live in faithfulness to God, knowing that the significance of your life will extend beyond your lifetime.   

 

Questions:

   

1.      Boaz went to the marketplace and told the relative he wanted to talk to him.  He asked ten of the village chief men to sit with them.  Why?  (To be witnesses to what Boaz  was doing.)  Explain that they didn’t have legal papers written by attorneys at that time.

2.      The relative wanted the property at first.  What made him change his mind.  (Any child born to them would inherit the relatives land and he didn’t want that to happen.) 

3.      How did they show the deal was final?  (Boaz pulled off his shoe and handed it to the other relative.)

This also showed what else?  (Boaz had purchased Ruth as his wife.

4.      Ruth and Boaz married.  They had a son.  What was important about who his  grandchild was? (He was grandfather to King David.  This made Ruth the great grandmother in the family tree of Jesus.) 

 

Summary:   We see God’s care and protection over the lives of Naomi and Ruth.  His supreme control over circumstances brings them safety and security.  He guides the minds and activities of people to fulfill His purpose.

 

Lessons of Prosperity/Blessing:  Ruth and Naomi came to Bethlehem as poor widows, but they soon became prosperous through Ruth’s marriage to Boaz.  Ruth became the great-grandmother of King David. Yet the greatest blessing was not the money, the marriage, or the child; it was the quality of love and respect between Ruth, Boaz, and Naomi.

 

 

 

*The scriptures used for this study were taken from Life Application Bible (1988), Tyndale House, Wheaton. Illinois.    

 


Posted 5/09