Spring 2022 Bible Reading Plan - Ruth, Part 2
Questioning the Kindness of God in Difficult Moments
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The kindness of God is the theme that threads throughout the book of Ruth. We find ourselves during the time of the Judges where all did “what was right in their own eyes”. Chapter one introduces us to a family who leaves Bethlehem for Moab in search of food during a famine. Tragically the father and two sons die and we are now focused on two specific characters: Naomi and Ruth. Chapter one displays the kindness of God through an unlikely character, a Moabite woman named Ruth. Despite Naomi’s circumstances, God’s kindness can often be displayed in the mundane and routine places of life. Chapter two introduces a new character whom we can learn a lot from in our lives today. Let’s begin!
Describe in your own words what a “worthy man” looks and acts like.
III. Read Ruth 2:1-7
Ruth 2:1-7 - Now Naomi had a relative of her husband's, a worthy man of the clan of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz. 2 And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor.” And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.” 3 So she set out and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers, and she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the clan of Elimelech. 4 And behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem. And he said to the reapers, “The Lord be with you!” And they answered, “The Lord bless you.” 5 Then Boaz said to his young man who was in charge of the reapers, “Whose young woman is this?” 6 And the servant who was in charge of the reapers answered, “She is the young Moabite woman, who came back with Naomi from the country of Moab. 7 She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves after the reapers.’ So she came, and she has continued from early morning until now, except for a short rest.”
IV. Questions for Reflection and Discussion
- What do we learn about Ruth’s character in the first few verses of this chapter?
- Ruth takes initiative. We should be people who observe what needs to be done and then take steps to do it, even if it is not comfortable.
- Ruth is humble. While some people might say “I would rather die than endure the humiliation of picking up others’ leftovers,” Ruth saw an opportunity to put in hard work in order to feed her and Naomi.
- Ruth is diligent. Notice the text says she had been gleaning since early morning with only a short rest.
- Read Leviticus 19:9-10: “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.”
- Verse 3 says Ruth “happened” to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz. From people’s perspective, this appears to be a happy coincidence, finally a bit of good luck! However, we know that God is sovereign. It was not luck or chance that brought her to Boaz’s field that day. It is called “providence.” Providence means that God divinely arranges circumstances and events in our lives to fulfill His good purposes for us. Often He arranges these things unseen and unknown. To the unbeliever, these are mere coincidences. But to those who put their faith in God, we know that He causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him. He brought Ruth to Boaz’s field for her good, for Boaz’s good, and for Naomi’s good.
V. Continue Reading Ruth 2:8-17
Ruth 2: 8-17 - Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Now, listen, my daughter, do not go to glean in another field or leave this one, but keep close to my young women. 9 Let your eyes be on the field that they are reaping, and go after them. Have I not charged the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels and drink what the young men have drawn.” 10 Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?” 11 But Boaz answered her, “All that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband has been fully told to me, and how you left your father and mother and your native land and came to a people that you did not know before. 12 The Lord repay you for what you have done, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge!” 13 Then she said, “I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, though I am not one of your servants.”
14 And at mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come here and eat some bread and dip your morsel in the wine.” So she sat beside the reapers, and he passed to her roasted grain. And she ate until she was satisfied, and she had some left over. 15 When she rose to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. 16 And also pull out some from the bundles for her and leave it for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.”
17 So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley.
VI. Questions for Reflection and Discussion
- Why do you think Boaz extends mercy and loving-kindness towards Ruth?
- Hint: Read verse 11.
- He loves talking about the Lord! His actions mirror the actions of a loving, protective, and merciful God.
- Read Proverbs 11:24-25: “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.”
VII. Continue Reading Ruth 2:18-23
Ruth 2:18-23 - And she took it up and went into the city. Her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. She also brought out and gave her what food she had left over after being satisfied. 19 And her mother-in-law said to her, “Where did you glean today? And where have you worked? Blessed be the man who took notice of you.” So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked and said, “The man's name with whom I worked today is Boaz.” 20 And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “May he be blessed by the Lord, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead!” Naomi also said to her, “The man is a close relative of ours, one of our redeemers.” 21 And Ruth the Moabite said, “Besides, he said to me, ‘You shall keep close by my young men until they have finished all my harvest.’” 22 And Naomi said to Ruth, her daughter-in-law, “It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his young women, lest in another field you be assaulted.” 23 So she kept close to the young women of Boaz, gleaning until the end of the barley and wheat harvests. And she lived with her mother-in-law.
VIII. Questions for Reflection and Discussion
- In Ruth 1, we see Naomi extremely bitter because of the circumstances she had been dealt. In Ruth 2:20, we see a new response to her circumstances. Why do you think that is?
- Did God change? If God had not changed, then what changed between chapter 1 and chapter 2?
- What does this teach us about God’s character?
- If you feel that the hand of God is heavy on you in some way, what then should you do?
- If you could sum up Ruth 2 in one word, what word would you choose? How about in one sentence?
- What kind of worker are you? (This does not only apply to those in the workforce). Christ-followers should strive for a reputation that is pleasing to God and makes Him shine in the workplace.
- In the opening verses of chapter 2, we notice Boaz clearly has the respect and appreciation of the reapers who work for him. For those in your group who are in leadership positions, what kind of leader are you?
- Through Boaz’s example, we see an overflow of generosity towards those around him. Where are areas of your life that you can be more generous in? (Time? Finances?)
- Boaz is a wonderful example of being an encourager. After he speaks to Ruth in verse 13, she says Boaz has comforted and spoken kindly to her. How well do you do comforting your spouse? Your co-workers? Brothers and sisters in Christ? (Proverbs 16:24: Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.)
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