As you well know I am expecting grand baby #3 in July. Emily just started her second trimester, things are going well and she feels like she can relax and enjoy dreaming of this little one. And with those dreams comes the naming of the baby. So much time and thought goes into choosing the perfect name. Why??? Seriously I'll never know because when you need to quickly catch their attention you can never recall that perfect name without listing two or three other kids first.
In our culture we choose names because we like them. We like the way they roll off our tongues. Maybe they're family names. We name kids after movie stars, or cities or flowers even. In biblical days names had deeper significance. Your name identified who and what you are. This is why it saddens me to hear our sweet Naomi tell her friends and neighbors that her new name is Mara. Naomi means pleasant, beautiful, delightful. I can easily imagine her as all 3 of these. I believe that was part of what drew her daughters-in-law to her. True delight is attractive and I believe that her pleasant nature shone in the way that she cared for her husband, her sons and the women they chose for themselves.
The name Naomi fit well until life wasn't so pleasant anymore. Then she wrapped herself so tightly in bitterness that she couldn't imagine life without it. Ladies, I ask you the same question I ask myself. When life tries to beat you down, what do you wrap yourself with? Are you bitter too? Do you turn into a big black cloud that rains on everyone's parade?
I'm telling you now that this is not what God chooses for you. He no doubt allows painful circumstance in each of our lives. Those trials are a way He calls out to us. "In this world you will have trouble". The first half of John 16:33 doesn't sound too comforting until you finish Christ's sentence "... but take heart, I have overcome the world". Note that he says HAVE overcome , not will. It’s a done deal, past tense. That's a promise we can wrap ourselves in.
Love, as always, Renée ( which means reborn by the way. What a great name for a Christian to have)
Now on to this week's lesson:
Read Ruth 2
Memory verse: 2:5 Boaz asked the overseer of his harvesters "who does that you woman belong to?"
1. Who was Boaz and why was it important that he was part of Ehimilek's family?
2. How is he described in this passage?
3. What does his greeting to and from his workers reveal about him?
4. What do you recall from past studies or sermons about the practice of gleaning?
5. What do these gleaning laws reveal about God's heart?
6. When have you had to rely on the kindness of others and how can you now see God's hand in that?
7. Unconquerable kindness seems to be Boaz's greatest trait. What do others see in you?
8. What do you want them to see?
For personal growth: Gleaning was a way of protecting widows and children and those who would otherwise have been unable to provide for themselves. Call it God's own welfare system. How does this mirror our own welfare system? What is your attitude like when you find out that someone's is receiving some type of government assistance? Do you look down on them? Do you doubt the legitimacy of their claim? Is there a part of you that gets angry when you see what they do and buy with your taxpayer dollars? What do you think is the right response and how far away from right are you? How is God speaking to you about this and what do you plan to do about to about it?
For the good of the group:
How can we pray for you to be more cognizant of the needs of those around you?