IN A NUTSHELL: Ancient Rabbinic tradition suggests that the purpose of the book of Ruth is “to teach us how great is the reward of those who do deeds of kindness. The book shines a powerful light on God’s ultimate act of Kindness of including Ruth (a gentile) into his redemptive plan and the family line of Jesus. But each Sunday will spotlight each character’s act of kindness. All of these individuals were “outsiders” in some form or fashion. Ruth a Moabite, Naomi had left Israel to go to Moab because of the famine, Boaz was outside the family, not eligible to take Ruth as his wife. (a Moabite, see De. 23:3)
ICE BREAKER: Can you recall a time when you were such an outsider that you had to go to a single person and ask for help? Did you initially see that as God ignoring your needs or saving you?
TEXT: Ruth & Judges 21:25
CONNECTING WITH THE TEXTS:
1. What does Ruth 1:1 tell us about the timing of this story?
2. What does Judges 21:25 tell us about the spiritual culture during the timing of this story?
3. List the reasons Naomi had to feel picked on by God. Ruth 1:1-5, 13, 20-21
4. Why would Naomi urge her daughter-in-laws to “go back to their gods” in Moab? Ruth 1:15
5. Where did the Moabites come from? Gen. 19:36-38
6. How were the Moabites regarded by Israel, and why? De. 23:3
7. How did God seem to regard Ruth in spite of her coming from Moab? Ruth 4:13-17
REFLECTING ON YOUR LIFE:
1. Have you ever felt that God’s hand has “gone out against” you? (Ruth 1:13)
2. When living in times of moral decline and apparent judgment from God how might the story of Ruth bring encouragement?
3. In light of De. 23:3 doesn’t it seem ironic that a fourth generation from Moabite nationality BUILT the temple in Jerusalem? Would you regard this as contradictory to God’s command or a providential exception? De. 23:3 & Ruth 4:17
CONNECTING WITH YOUR CHURCH:
1. How might the church encourage people that feel confident that God has turned against them?
2. How should we regard our lives during times of national and spiritual decline? Jer. 45
3. What kinds of acts of kindness seem appropriate to people in our community?
CARE Sheet Resources:
- Summary of the Book of Judges – The time period in which the story of Ruth took place.
- Even “The World” gets the power of Random Acts of Kindness & Kindness University
- The love of Ruth and Boaz – A commentary
- Minister to Others by David Wheeler – A great book!
- Growing Deeper Church Communities an ebook by C. Christopher Smith –
- Pastor’s Biblically Correct Remarks Draws Harsh Criticism
Title: “Naomi’s Kindness”
Text: Ruth 1, 3&4
Question: Imagine Naomi’s heartache and yet her willingness to encourage Ruth to go back to her home. Parents & Kids: Read the Bible story summary and discuss what a Kinsman redeemer means, and what an appropriate illustration today might look like. http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/ruth-bible-story-summary/