It's so interesting to me that we're studying Ruth during a time when our own sweet Ruth is so heavy on our hearts. It's funny how life works. She was the whole focus of our closing prayers on Monday.
I just love when our lessons give us a glimpse into God's heart. Gleaning law's do more than simply providing for the poor. They show God's willingness to rescue the powerless. And Ruth was the picture of powerlessness. She was a foreigner, a widow, with no possible brothers in law to marry. Her only friend was another widow broken by life's circumstances. Neither of these women had hopes of rescue from their situation but God doesn't let them stay hopeless for long.
Ruth could have wandered into any field in Bethlehem, but somehow she wanders into Boaz's. He not only allowed her to stay, he blessed her. He positioned her among the other women who worked for him. He not only warned his men not to lay a hand on her, he also instructed them to pull and drop extra stalks for her to gather. He shared his food and wine and then pack up all his leftovers for her to take home.
What I love so much is that he noticed her. It would have been easy to overlook this stranger. She's a nobody. She couldn't have been more vulnerable. Ruth's life was hard and there was no reason to hope it would improve. She certainly didn't think it would. Look at her question to Boaz in verse 10. "Why have I found such favor in your eyes?" She must have been blown away when Boaz had a ready response. "I've been told all about what you've done for your mother in law....May you be richly rewarded". He knew her story. He knew her needs. What a picture of God's lavish love and care for us.
We each have our own story and our own needs. Like Ruth some of us try to hide behind our sorrows but God notices us. He notices our heartbreak and our vulnerability. He alone knows the best way to meet our needs and He has a plan to do that for us.
Perhaps right now you're a lot like Ruth or maybe God's calling you to be someone's Boaz. Will you ask God to help you notice the poor, welcome the outsider, protect the meek and speak kindness where it's needed most? Let's strive to be God's hands and feet to those he places in our "fields"
Love, as always, Renée
Now on to this week's lesson:
Read Ruth 3
Memory verse Ruth 3:5 " I will do whatever you say Ruth answered"
1. From our study last week we learned that Ruth gleans after two separate harvests -wheat and barley. What do you imagine Boaz learned about her during all that time together?
2. How willing are you to allow others to learn who you are?
3. What is Naomi's greatest concern for Ruth and why do you think she pushed Ruth on Boaz?
4. Has anyone ever tried to set you up with a man? How did that end up?
5. How did their motivation differ from Naomi's for Ruth?
6. How does Naomi's plan for Ruth nearly backfire?
7. How do we see Boaz protecting Ruth?
8. Who might God have placed in your life to bless and protect?
For personal growth:
This encounter between Ruth and Boaz seems so strange to me. I wonder if it seemed strange to Ruth as well. How do we see humility in Ruth's approached to Boaz? Where might God be calling you to a position of humility? She approached Boaz bolstered by Naomi's trust. Who has God placed in your life to push you in the right direction? How willing are you to follow their prompting? How easily do you place your trust in someone else? Where might your hesitation to trust others rob you of potential blessings?
For the good of the group: whose advice are you most likely to follow and what is it about them that has caused you to trust them?