August 2: Some Graces Grow Best in Winter (Ruth 1:1-22)
This Sunday Josh Herring will continue teaching a series on church history in the youth room at 9:00am, focusing on the roots of the Reformation and how theology develops over time. Ray Rutledge will be in the Adult 1 classroom continuing through The Gospel Project.
[We will study all of chapter 1, though only vv. 19-22 are provided here]
So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. And when they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them. And the women said, “Is this Naomi?” She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full, and the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the LORD has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?”
So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabite her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest. (ESV)
The book of Ruth is one of the jewels in the Old Testament. It is one of two books named after women - the other is Esther. While many read it as a beautiful love story, it is that but it is so much more. This story fits into the greater story of God’s kind and sovereign hand working out his redemptive plan in his world. While the book of Ruth was written most likely in David’s time (his name is mentioned in Ruth 4:22), the story itself is set in the time of Israel's judges. The period of judges was between the death of Joshua, Moses’ servant, and the coronation of Saul, the first Israelite king. It was a time of religious apostasy, political disorganization and social chaos. Yet in this book, while we will see a story of faithfulness in times of apostasy, we also observe the global and redemptive power of God’s grace as he moves his glorious purposes forward. We will also see a critical link between God’s promise to redeem and the coming of the redeemer, Jesus, whose lineage is traced through Ruth. The book is really a story given to us to edify us in our hope in God in midst of trial and to instruct us to walk in faith.
Review and Apply
- List the various struggles and difficulties facing this family in Ruth 1:1-5.
- What makes Ruth's commitment so remarkable?
- How has your following Jesus brought difficulties into your life this week? How did you respond to them?
- How do Ruth's words of devotion (Ruth 1:16-17) reveal a genuine conversion?
- How is God's kindness expressed in this chapter? Where do you see grace in the hardship?
- How has God's loving kindness been expressed in your life this week?
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