Small Group Bible Study - Leader Guide
Ruth steps out in faith to leave her land and her gods to follow the one true God.
The book of Ruth takes place during the time of the Judges in Israel, Boaz and Ruth are the great grandparents of King David, Israel’s shepherd king and patriarchs in the lineage of the promised Messiah.. According to the Talmud (Jewish tradition), the prophet Samuel wrote the book of Ruth.
Read the entire chapter. What stands out? Comments? Questions?
Have you ever left something behind in pursuit of God? What did you leave? Looking back now, did you make the right choice?
1 In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab.
2 The man’s name was Elimelek, his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.
3 Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons.
4 They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years,
5 both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.
The Moabites were a tribe descended from Moab, the son of Lot, born of an incestuous relationship with his oldest daughter (Genesis 19:37).
Moab was a small nation, situated on the East side of the Dead Sea, opposite the land of the tribe of Judah.
What had God said about marrying foreign women?
When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations… then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. 3 Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, 4 for they will turn your children away from following me to serve other gods…” (Deuteronomy 7:1-4)
1. What evidence can be found of Naomi’s faith in God?
2. Would someone meeting you for the first time find such evidence in your speech and actions?
Her references to the Lord in her speech.
6 When Naomi heard in Moab that the LORD had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there.
7 With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.
8 Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the LORD show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me.
9 May the LORD grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.” Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud
10 and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.”
11 But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands?
12 Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons—
13 would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the LORD’s hand has turned against me!”
Naomi was looking for an opportunity to return home.
Notice that Naomi is blessing her daughters. More evidence of her faith.
3. In verse 15 Naomi tells Ruth that her sister is returning to “her people and her gods” Is a people or culture usually linked with their gods? Give examples. Is US/Western culture linked to a set of gods? If so, what are they?
4. Is Ruth staying with Naomi because of her love for her mother-in-law or because of her relationship to God? How do we know?
“But our citizenship is in heaven.And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:20)
25 Many people were traveling with Jesus. He said to them, 26 “If you come to me but will not leave your family, you cannot be my follower. You must love me more than your father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters—even more than your own life! 27 Whoever will not carry the cross that is given to them when they follow me cannot be my follower.” (Luke 14:25-27)
14 At this they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her.
15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”
16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.
17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”
18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.
19 So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?”
20 “Don’t call me Naomi, ” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter.
21 I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The LORD has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”
22 So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.
The word “clung” in Hebrew is Dabak, meaning “to stay close”, “to stick with” or “to hug”
To adopt a culture is to worship their gods.
Ruth demonstrates a knowledge of and relationship with YHWH by referring to His name.
Naomi means “pleasant” in Hebrew.
Your name is your identity. YHWH means the Lord saves.
5. Naomi changes her name to change her identity. In the Bible your name is your identity. Give three examples.
6. How does God use His name to share His identity or character? List some names of God.
7. What is your new identity in Christ?
In response to today’s lesson, we can: