You're young and widowed.
You can return to your family and all things familiar.
Or you can go to your mother-in-law's hometown where you'll be a stranger and a foreigner. And some people will be prejudiced against you because of your ethnic background.
Your mother-in-law strongly urges you to stay with your family and return to your pagan gods.
But you vow to never abandon her or the True and Living God.
When you arrive in her hometown, she complains bitterly to everyone, ignoring your sacrifices for her.
Nevertheless, you immediately start looking for a way to support her, and you take on humble, back-breaking work in the hot sun.
When she recommends you to marry an older man, you agree.
It's so easy to read Bible stories and forget they record events in the lives of real people like you and me. Ruth had human feelings, questions, and challenges. But she is an example of faith, humility and forbearance.
God rewarded Ruth by placing her in the bloodline of Jesus, and He recorded Ruth's story to build our faith.
What is He saying to you through her story today?
Bible Study1. Ruth overcame prejudice about her ethnic group.* If someone looks down on you, how do you respond?
The following verses gives us insights into Ruth's attitudes which overcame prejudice and suspicion:
Ruth 2:11: Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before.
Ruth 3:11: All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character.
Ruth 4:14-15: The women said to Naomi ...“your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.”
*Read more about the Moabites for background on Ruth's ancestry.
2. The only type of work Ruth could do was difficult and sometimes humiliating. If you were out of work, would you do something "beneath" you in order to put food on the table?
Ruth 2:9, 22: Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the women. I have told the men not to lay a hand on you ... 22 Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, “It will be good for you, my daughter, to go with the women who work for him, because in someone else’s field you might be harmed.”
3. Ruth showed great respect for Naomi's wisdom. How do you respond to advice from those who are older than you?
Ruth 3:1,5: One day Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi said to her, “My daughter, I must find a home for you, where you will be well provided for. [Naomi gives Ruth instructions]... 5 “I will do whatever you say,” Ruth answered.
Perhaps we don't respect everything about a particular elder, but that doesn't mean God can't use them to advise us. And it doesn't mean we can't show them respect. It is humbling to admit older people know things we don't, but it's true.
How does Peter speak to Ruth's attitude and to yours?
1 Peter 5:5-6: ...you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
4. How did God honor Ruth's attitudes?
Matthew 1:1, 5-6: This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah ... 5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of King David ...
Women are usually not listed in genealogies during this time frame, but Matthew, under the direction of God's Spirit lists 3 women.
copyright 2015, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
All Scripture NIV unless otherwise noted