March 3, 2019
SCENE 1 (v. 6-7): Curious Incident #1
1. From these verses, we see that the famine of v. 1 has subsided…but the spiritual condition has not improved. This is a moment where the “hesed” of God is on display, God shows gracious, selfless, loyal lovingkindness towards the people…despite the people! What are other examples of God showing hesed in the Scriptures?
2. These verses also show concurrence taking place as God’s Will is accomplished through the decision of Naomi to return to the land of Judah. How does believing in providence & concurrence help us to move forward as people of faith with confidence in the plan of God?
SCENE 2 (v. 8-10): Conversation #1
3. Naomi is telling Orpah & Ruth to return & remarry in their homeland, and also ask that they get a double blessing: hesed from God & rest from God. As we come to see the condition of Naomi’s heart, we realize these are hollow words…she doesn’t see God as loving, but the source of her bitterness! Why must we be wise with our own words & the ways we speak about God? What role does sincerity have when talking about God?
SCENE 3 (v. 11-14): Conversation #2
4. In this scene, Naomi lays out the cold, hard facts of the situation: she is old, unmarried, no kids…she believes there is no hope! When we get to dark places in life, what helps us to navigate our way through those seasons in a way that honors the Lord?
5. In their response, a distinction is finally made between Orpah & Ruth. Orpah does what is expected, while Ruth shows hesed towards Naomi…she did more than was expected. Naomi’s transformation will come to pass through the hesed of Ruth. How have you seen God use the hesed of the people of God to impact & transform lives? What are ways you can show hesed this week?
SCENE 4 (v. 15-18): Conversation #3
6. In v. 15, Naomi’s now urging Ruth to return home & worship false gods…her helplessness led to hopelessness which led to bitterness & is showing itself in this moment. What are other ways bitterness reveals itself?
7. Ruth then responds with 5 couplets that point to the seriousness of her commitment & the sacrificial aspect of her commitment. It is both audible & visible…how does this act of Ruth point us to Christ? How can our commitment to God be both audible & visible?
SCENE 5 (v. 19-21): The Catastrophy
8. Naomi & Ruth arrive in Bethlehem & the people barely recognize Naomi. Her sin has had an effect, even on her outer appearance. One of the great lies of sin is that it is private…what are other lies when it comes to sin & its effects?
9. Finally, Naomi’s bitterness leads to her wanting to change her name as she blames God & even lies about her circumstances (she’s not “brought back empty”). Why is it the human default to blame when we disobey, rather than take responsibility? How does remembering that we are prone to this same things as Naomi affect how we view others in this kind of helpless & hopeless position?