Series: Ruth

One family. Ten years. Unspeakable loss.

It was Naomi’s worst nightmare. First, a famine forced her family to leave their home to find food and refuge in enemy territory. Her sons marry and they settle in. But then, unexpectedly, tragedy strikes. And then it strikes again. And then it strikes again. In the aftermath, Naomi is left widowed and childless, with no family but her daughters-in-law. Grieving, she returns to her hometown empty handed and without hope.

But she may not be as empty handed as she believes…

Discussion Guides & Message Wraps

Week 1: Tragedy

It was Naomi’s worst nightmare. First a famine forced her family to leave their home to find food and refuge in enemy territory. Her sons marry and they settle in. But then, unexpectedly, tragedy strikes. And then it strikes again. And then it strikes again. In the aftermath, Naomi is left widowed and childless, with no family but her daughters-in-law. Grieving, she returns to her hometown empty handed and without hope… but she may not be as empty handed as she believes.

Week 2: Generosity

CS Lewis pointed out that pain has a narrowing effect. It has a tendency to focus our thoughts and attention inward. That’s what happens to Naomi at the end of Ruth 1. Having lost the people and the things she loved most, she declares “I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty.” That’s how it looked. That’s how it felt. But Naomi wasn’t as empty as she thought — and God was about to use two people close to her to show her that she still had far more than she ever imagined.

Week 3: Love

The book of Ruth is famous for the love story connecting Ruth and Boaz. In chapter 3, the story begins to move in that direction as Ruth approaches Boaz in his role as the Guardian Redeemer. Their actions not only give us a clearer picture of love and family than our contemporary culture does, they point us to the greater love story in the background: God’s lavish love for us.

Week 4: Redemption

Ruth 4 is a reversal of Ruth 1:1-5. Empty-handed Naomi holds a son. Widowed Ruth marries a husband. The line of Elimilech, in danger of ending, is not only saved by the bold and loving actions of Ruth and Boaz, it becomes the line that leads to David and (ultimately) Jesus. This microcosm of God’s plan of redemption provides us with a picture of the whole story: God is our Guardian-Redeemer, whose love leads him to redeem fallen humans at great cost to himself. What a story! What a God!

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