Ruth & Samuel
This week’s reading is split between two books: the book of Ruth and the beginning of 1 Samuel. Ruth takes place during the era of the JUDGES, while 1 Samuel ushers us into the next era of Old Testament history, the KINGDOM era.
The book of Ruth tells the story of the family of an Israelite woman named Naomi. Ruth is Naomi’s daughter-in-law. The story highlights the Israelite custom of a kinsman redeemer. During Old Testament times, when a husband died, leaving a family and property behind, his closest male relative was to redeem that family by marrying his widow and protecting the family and property. The book of Ruth tells the story of Boaz, an Israelite, a kinsman redeemer. God works through the lives of Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz in order to advance His plan to redeem humanity. Remember, God promised that He would bless all the nations through Abraham’s descendents. The gospel of Matthew lists Boaz as 10 generations removed from Abraham. He and Ruth are the great-grandparents of King David. Ultimately, Jesus will come from the family line of David. Whereas Boaz is the redeemer of Naomi’s family, Jesus is the redeemer of all humanity, paying the price to free us from slavery to sin. From the darkness of the JUDGES era comes an important step in advancing the light of God’s saving work.
The beginning of 1 Samuel moves us into the KINGDOM era. Samuel is neither a judge nor a king, but a prophet, who plays a key role in the anointing of Israel’s first two kings. 1 Samuel’s opening chapters recount Samuel’s birth and calling, as well as Israel’s demand for a king to rule over them.
For this week's sermon over Ruth and 1 Samuel, Listen Below:
The book of Ruth is the perfect example of the family ingredient of Identity. The story begins with a famine in the land of Israel brought on as a result of Israel’s sin. In response, Elimelech leads his family away from Israel to the land of Moab to find provision. In Moab, the people worship the false god, Chemosh. Elimelech dies, both sons marry wives from that land, then both sons become sick and die. What are the women to do? Naomi hears that the Lord has come to the aid of His people. She decides to return to the land of Israel and invites her Moabite daughters-in-law to join her. Will they retain their Moabite identity or choose instead to join the people of Israel? Read closely to learn about these women’s decisions and see how God proves Himself faithful to those who trust in Him.
- Why was Israel experiencing famine?
- Ruth and Orpah were both Moabites. What religion did they probably learn as children? Who introduced them to the God of Israel?
- In Ruth 1:8-9, what does Naomi tell her daughters-in-law to do? Why? Do you think that Naomi is doubting God’s ability to provide?
- Why do you think that Ruth chose to stay with Naomi? What does it mean that the Lord came to the aid of His people? Has this ever happened to your family?
- Why do you think Orpah chose to stay in Moab?
Activity: Ruth Follows the One True God
Supplies: a blindfold and an item to make drumming sound
Assign roles: Listener, Singer, Drummer, and Holy Spirit
If you only have 2-3 people, replace Singer and/or Drummer with music. Adaptation for younger kids -- only one distraction character. Blindfold Listener. Then have the Singer and Drummer stand on either side of Listener. Holy Spirit person stands behind and further back. On the word “GO,” Singer and Drummer begin singing/drumming. “Holy Spirit” softly calls Listener’s name. As sounds continue, the Holy Spirit should move closer and become a little louder. When the Listener hears their name, they should stand and attempt to follow the Spirit or raise their hand. Conclusion: How is this like Ruth? Who did she choose as her God? Did she obey God’s call? What are some of the things in our lives that distract us? Pray that your family will believe that God calls to you personally and will help you listen for His voice.
Small Group Discussion
- What example is there to follow?
- What do we do when our life plans take an unexpected, unrequested detour?
- How should we respond when clearly-directed paths are interrupted with seemingly counterproductive stall-outs?
- To what can we cling when we find ourselves on a wilderness journey with no end in sight?
- How do we seek satisfaction in Christ alone? What Scripture or promise can you turn to when facing a period of loneliness or uncertainty?