I have loved this study in Ruth. Where else in the Bible can we start in Sodom and end by climbing up a few branches in Christ's family tree? I always thought Ruth was a fluff piece, a girly study. It's one of those bible books women have to study because the main characters are women. I like that I'm wrong.
Our journey through this book revealed a lot about the strengths that each character possessed. Naomi lost her husband and two sons, ironically in a land they fled to in order to save themselves from dying of starvation. Ruth lost her beloved husband and presumably the stability of her home. The Bible is silent about her past but it's safe to assume no man no money. She also lost the support and kinship of her sister In law Orpah who opted to stay behind in Moab. And Boaz himself was likely a widower or he may not have been available to marry Ruth.
These are the kind of losses that park people on a psychiatrist's couch. Instead we learn about strength. We see Naomi's marvelous plan to protect Ruth, see her cared for and her family's inheritance re-established and maintained. We know that loss and grief broke Naomi but she didn't stay broken for long. I love that her persistent trust in Boaz, his character and his willingness to do right by his dead relative brings us to Obed, Jesse, King David, and King Jesus. This is a powerful reminder for each of us to move beyond those life circumstances that threaten to break us.
God surely knows the sorrows we face and just as surely places loving sisters in Christ to help us face them. I am grateful to have each of you by my side, especially now, and look forward to our time together in our next study "One Hit Wonders". We'll be studying each of the Bible books that have only one chapter. It'll be fun to see how much wisdom God packs into just a few short verses.
Love, as always, Renée
Memory verse Obadiah 17 " But on Mount Zion will be deliverence; it will be holy and Jacob will possess his inheritance "
1. What do you recall from past studies or sermons about the relationship between Jacob and Esau? ( for hints skim Genesis 25:19-24, 27:1-46, 32:1-21 and/or 33:1-17)
2. Which nations did each of them father and what do you recall was the relationship between these two nations?
3. Read Numbers 20:14-21. How does this passage further explain why God might be unhappy with Esau's descendants the Edomites?
4. Obadiah verse 3 says " the pride of your heart has deceived you", which sounds remarkably like words we've all heard before " Pride goes before a fall". When has pride caused a fall in your life or in the life of someone you know?
5. How have you been humbled by God?
6. God promises that everyone in Esau's mountain will be cut down in the slaughter. When you read about whole nations being destroyed what thoughts go through your mind?
7. Verse 15 warns " as you have done it will be done to you". Does this concern you or comfort you? Why is that?
8. What character trait of God stands out after reading this book and how have you seen that in your own life?
For personal growth:
Jacob and Esau shared a womb but that's where their similarities end. How closely do you resemble your own siblings? Which of them brings you the most joy? What is it about them that you admire most? How well do you communicate your love to them?If you are estranged, what caused that rift and how willing are you to resolve your differences? How much of the fault lies at your own feet? How might God be calling you right now to be the peacemaker? When you consider the downward spiral that started as a simple disagreement between two brothers, what steps are you willing to take to avoid disagreements between you and your siblings?
For the good of the group:
Where would you like to see justice prevail in your life?