Right in the Eye - week 6

Bo & Ruthie Save Christmas

Conversation point:

  • Think back to a situation in your life where the circumstances seemed insurmountable. How did you get through that time? What did you learn about God during that time?

The book of Judges records God’s chosen people doing what they want, when they want, with whom they want. The tragedy was that ancient Israel began with divine intervention and a divine mandate- they were to show the world who God was by being different than the nations around them. Instead, they lived for 300 years in a cycle of disobedience, disaster, and deliverance. During an era when everyone did what was right in his or her own eyes, God was still paving a way that would eventually lead to the coming of Jesus.

Our focus this week is on the following truth:

In the midst of horrible circumstances
God still has a plan and He still works

The events in the book of Ruth are a great example of the reality of this statement. Ruth is the OT book right after Judges and takes place during the time period of the judges. We learn in the first chapter that Ruth was a Moabite woman who married into an Israelite family residing in Moab due to a famine. After the deaths of her father-in-law, husband, and brother-in-law, Ruth vows to follow her mother-in-law, Naomi, who decides to return to Israel. These circumstances leave Naomi broken and bitter…

“I left here full, but the Lord has caused me to return empty- handed. Why do you call me ʻNaomi,ʼ seeing that the Lord has opposed me, and the Sovereign One has caused me to suffer Ruth 1:21

Upon her arrival in Israel, Naomi changes her name to Mara, which means “bitter.” Her attitude is in many ways a microcosm of the nation of Israel at this time- when trouble comes, the assumption was that God had left them. Naomi had forgotten that even in the worst circumstances, God still has a plan, and He is still at work.

It was not an easy time to be two unmarried women in Israel. Ruth was tasked with the dangerous job of picking barley left by the land owners. Ruth unknowingly chose the fields belonging to Boaz, a distant relative of Naomi’s deceased husband. Ruth was already well known in the area, a foreign widow who had been faithful to Naomi, leading to this encounter with Boaz:

Boaz replied to her, “I have been given a full report of all that you have done for your mother- in- law following the death of your husband- how you left your father and your mother, as well as your homeland, and came to live among people you did not know previously. May the Lord reward your efforts! May your acts of kindness be repaid fully by the Lord God of Israel, from whom you have sought protection!” Ruth 2:11-12

Like Ruth, Boaz can see God’s hand at work, even in these most unusual circumstances.

As the story continues, an aging Naomi decides that Ruth must make a desperate move if she is going to survive- Ruth needs to ask Boaz to be her Kinsman-Redeemer.

A Kinsman-Redeemer could protect the poor in the family, repurchase lost property, redeem relatives sold as slaves, and provide an heir for male relatives. If Boaz were to accept this role, he would then have to marry Ruth- a Moabite woman!

In a wonderful act of faith and trust, Boaz chooses to become Ruth’s Kinsman-Redeemer, they get married, and they live happily ever after… but the story doesn’t end there! It’s recorded that Boaz and Ruth had a son, named Obed. We are also told that Obed was the father of Jesse, who was the father of David- Ruth was King David’s great grandmother! In the midst of the decadence and disobedience of this era, God used a faithful Moabite woman to continue the biological line of the Messiah.

In the midst of horrible circumstances
God still has a plan and He still works!

Conversation point:

  • Think about one area in your life where you need to declare to God, “I no longer want to do what is right in my eyes. I’m ready to do what is right in your eyes.” How can this group help you follow through on that declaration?