Give each person a large piece of paper and writing utensils. Encourage each person to imagine he/she is going on a trip with one other person. Ask him to pick a person or describe the type of person who would be travelling with him. Describe the destination–how would they get there, where would they stay, what would they bring, what would they see/do. Your participants can put whatever they want on the paper (words, drawings, lists, etc). Ask for volunteers to share their trip ideas or give everyone one minute to share about their trip.
Ask: Did anyone choose to go on a trip with your mom? Do you think your trip would be similar or different if your travelling partner was your mom or even someone else’s mom? Why or why not?
Check it Out
Say: Today, we are examining a person of faith who went on a trip with her mother-in-law. In fact, she was her mother-in-law’s only remaining family so she decided not to leave her. And, it was not just a trip, but she was moving with her mother-in-law to a land she did not know and was not from.
Read: Ruth 1:1-19 (The Message translation paints a great picture of the story if you want to add some drama or volunteers to act out the story.)
- What is the setting of our story? Who are the main characters?
- Imagine your life many years from now…you just lost your husband or wife and you mother-in-law has no one left. Do you think you would be willing to say, “where you go, I go?”
- What do we learn about Ruth’s character from the first chapter?
- Did Ruth pray about her decision to stay with Naomi? Do you think that prayer would have been important? Why or why not?
Read: Ruth 2:1-23
Say: A new character, Boaz, is introduced; he plays a special role to Naomi and Ruth. In Israelite culture, due to the law of Moses (found in Leviticus and Deuteronomy), when a woman’s husband died, the closest male relative (kinsman) would be required to take her as his wife. He was required to take her as a wife even if she was an additional wife, and he was required to provide for her as part of the family. The man would become the redeemer of his brother (or relative’s) property.
Ask: In Israelite culture, caring for widows or orphans was a very important part of everyday life. How do you think this made Naomi and Ruth feel?
Read: Ruth 3:1-18
- What do you think of the dating rituals?
- Why was it important for Naomi to encourage Ruth to let Boaz know she was available for marriage?
- What does Boaz say about Ruth? How does he describe Ruth?
Read: Ruth 4: 1-17
- What else do we learn about kinsman-redeemers? What did property have to do with marrying a widow?
- Ruth seemed to stay calm and follow Naomi’s directions during their journey together. Do you follow directions well or would you rather plan out your trip?
- How did God provide for Naomi and Ruth?
- How does this story point to Jesus and show us how God cares for His people?
- How is Jesus like our kinsman-redeemer?
Say: As you think about the story of Ruth, think about how God always provides for all our needs. We may not know exactly what kind of journey or trip we are travelling on, but we know that He never leaves us. During our life, there will be times where we feel completely alone, but God is always with us. Remember Ruth’s words to Naomi, “For where you go I will go.” We see that clearly through Jesus’ work on the cross and the forgiveness and grace we are shown even in our darkest moments.
Heavenly Father, guide us as we follow You. Show us where we need to travel on our journey. We know that we might be taken to areas that will challenge us and encourage us to grow. Help us to be like Ruth and always follow You. We know that You are always with us no matter what. Thank You for our ultimate kinsman-redeemer, Jesus, and His work on the cross. In His name we pray, Amen.
Published September 2013