Bible Study

Ruth: Life Lessons

Life is battle. And in battles, people screw up, people get hurt, but if you chose the right side, You can win. Right now I am currently praying for:

A mother-in-law and father-in-law who have battled cancer for years and still fight it everyday.

A friend who is an alcoholic but won’t admit it.

A friend in the throes of an affair.

Friends whose families have turned away from God.

and those are just a few.

And I find myself asking God like Jackson when he was two, “Why?”

I don’t know why. But, I know this, God redeems. I once was lost, but now I’m found. He can bring life from ashes. He can restore joy. He can redeem any person, any family, any situation.

Let’s recap on who these people were as individuals, and then on their life together:


Ruth was a foreigner, a Moabitess. She was also a Gentile, a pagan from a culture of idolatry. When her mother-in-law Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem, it would have been much easier for Ruth to return to Moab, but Ruth did not choose the easy path.

-Ruth was a young widow.

-Ruth gave her heart to God

-Ruth displayed uncharacteristic love and loyalty for her mother-in-law.

-Ruth was assertive, unconventional and diligent in working the fields to provide food for Naomi and for herself, and in visiting Boaz at the threshing floor.

-Ruth displayed moral purity in her interactions with Boaz.


Boaz was a Jew and was known for his noble character. He was the son of Rahab, a Canaanite prostitute.

-Boaz also had a heart for God

-Boaz showed kindness, generosity, and protection in his provisions for Ruth in the field.

-Boaz displayed moral purity in his relations with Ruth.

-Boaz followed Jewish tradition in establishing himself as the “family redeemer.”

-Boaz publicly committed himself to being the “family redeemer,” which included possession of land, marrying Ruth and bearing a son.

God redeemed Ruth from her past and from her hard situation, and He allowed Boaz to redeem the family and her deceased husband’s name. And as a couple, God chose them to be direct ancestors of King David and, ultimately, of Jesus.

God specifically chose these people to establish the lineage that gave birth to Jesus. Their history as foreigners and pagans did not exclude them, and this was no oversight of God. He purposefully picked people with sordid backgrounds so that God’s work of redemption would be visible in their lives.

This whole story is a foretaste of the redemption that will come in Christ Jesus. Living on this side of the cross, we know that Jesus is the Ultimate Redeemer because He saves our sinful, lost souls. Inclusion of Boaz and ruth in the line of Jesus was intentional to show that Jesus came to save ALL people. Jewish and Gentile. You and me.

Colossians 1:13-14 says, “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

By accepting the gift of salvation we are delivered, ransomed, rescued, reborn. Trials stretch our faith and help us endure. And when we make a mess of life (which we all do), He again offers grace to reclaim, repair and purify. This is work that only God can do.

As believers, we are redeemed. Let’s thank God for His abundant grace. And let’s allow the cross to truly transform us.

Bible Study

Ruth: God’s Happily Ever After

We have reached the end of the Book of Ruth, but instead of ending the story with Ruth living happily ever after with Boaz, we end with a genealogy. The genealogy of Ruth and Boaz’s descendants.

Ruth 4:13-22 New International Version (NIV)

Naomi Gains a Son

13 So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When he made love to her, the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son. 14 The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! 15 He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.”

16 Then Naomi took the child in her arms and cared for him. 17 The women living there said, “Naomi has a son!” And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.

The Genealogy of David

18 This, then, is the family line of Perez:

Perez was the father of Hezron,

19 Hezron the father of Ram,

Ram the father of Amminadab,

20 Amminadab the father of Nahshon,

Nahshon the father of Salmon,[a]

21 Salmon the father of Boaz,

Boaz the father of Obed,

22 Obed the father of Jesse,

and Jesse the father of David.

As a child I was made to memorize what we referred to as the “Begats”- Matthew 1: 1-17. I admit that most of us didn’t like Memorizing all these strange names in order. Reading the biblical genealogies was hard enough. They are filled with names we can hardly pronounce and people we have never heard of. But genealogies are important. They tie together all of the Sunday school stories and VBS lessons and show God’s plan from the beginning.

Through genealogies we see how God uses ordinary people for His extraordinary work.

As beautiful of a love story the book of Ruth is, we see that Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz are part of a much larger story: a story guided by the hand of God in order to bring about the future events that would lead to the coming of a Savior. We see Him accomplish this by using normal people, like Ruth, with common lives, like that of a field owner, in a small insignificant town called Bethlehem. God, in His sovereign wisdom, uses what we might deem as insignificant and humble to bring about the extraordinary. And what is more extraordinary than the true Kinsman Redeemer being born to the undistinguished descendants of Ruth and Boaz?!

Genealogies also show that we belong. When you study your genealogy you will quickly find out that you belong to a family and a heritage; to a certain culture and ethnicity. But for those of us whose trust is in Jesus, we have the unearned privilege of belonging to the family of God. We have been gifted with a heritage rich in grace, mercy, forgiveness, and sacrificial love.

Genealogies are important because in them we see God using imperfect people for His perfect plan. We have Jacob who was a liar and a thief, Rahab who was a former prostitute, and David who was an adulterer and murderer and yet God brought the Messiah through this line of misfits.

This should give us encouragement. There are no perfect people, and yet God uses us anyway. He uses us through our ordinary lives in order bring about His kingdom work.

Continue in your faithfulness to the calling God has for you no matter how ordinary you may feel it is. You, also, are part of a larger story. A story that involves the kingdom of God.

Bible Study

Ruth: Creating a Legacy

As you know, My husband is my Boaz. And one of the things I just love is how Boaz is a man of his word. When Daniel and I were about to get married we discussed much of what we wanted our marriage to be like. One thing we always said and still do is, “Mean what you say and say what you mean.” This means always be a person of your word and don’t be passive aggressive or beat about the bush with something. Because of this, we have grown to trust and lean on each other more than any other relationships in our lives. Boaz also embodies this phrase. Right after Ruth heads back to Naomi with a shawl full of barley, Boaz wastes no time and travels into town, just like he said he would.

Ruth 4:1-12 New International Version (NIV)

4 Meanwhile Boaz went up to the town gate and sat down there just as the guardian-redeemer he had mentioned came along. Boaz said, “Come over here, my friend, and sit down.” So he went over and sat down.

Boaz took ten of the elders of the town and said, “Sit here,” and they did so. Then he said to the guardian-redeemer, “Naomi, who has come back from Moab, is selling the piece of land that belonged to our relative Elimelek. I thought I should bring the matter to your attention and suggest that you buy it in the presence of these seated here and in the presence of the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, do so. But if you[b] will not, tell me, so I will know. For no one has the right to do it except you, and I am next in line.”

“I will redeem it,” he said.

Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the land from Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the[c] dead man’s widow, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property.”

At this, the guardian-redeemer said, “Then I cannot redeem it because I might endanger my own estate. You redeem it yourself. I cannot do it.”

(Now in earlier times in Israel, for the redemption and transfer of property to become final, one party took off his sandal and gave it to the other. This was the method of legalizing transactions in Israel.)

So the guardian-redeemer said to Boaz, “Buy it yourself.” And he removed his sandal.

Then Boaz announced to the elders and all the people, “Today you are witnesses that I have bought from Naomi all the property of Elimelek, Kilion and Mahlon. 10 I have also acquired Ruth the Moabite, Mahlon’s widow, as my wife, in order to maintain the name of the dead with his property, so that his name will not disappear from among his family or from his hometown. Today you are witnesses!”

11 Then the elders and all the people at the gate said, “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman who is coming into your home like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the family of Israel. May you have standing in Ephrathah and be famous in Bethlehem. 12 Through the offspring the Lord gives you by this young woman, may your family be like that of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah.”

Boaz is ready to make good on his word. He will do everything in his power to bring redemption to both Ruth and Naomi’s lives. From the Scripture, we see Boaz is not only able to meet with this nearer, unnamed kinsman-redeemer, but he is also able to gather the ten elders of the town to hold this important meeting.

At first, this man seems eager to redeem Elimilek’s property. My heart screams out, “No!” Even though I know the story, I tend to get caught up in the narrative. Until he hears that Ruth a Moabite comes with the redemption.

The cost is too much.

The potential sacrifice to his own estate too high.

He is only willing to redeem that which will benefit him and carry on his name… not the name of someone else.

Should he step into this redemption kinsman-redeemer role and take on Elimilek’s land and “property,” this man would risk putting his own heritage at stake. So he counts the cost and decides to pass on the opportunity. And of course, all of us cheer with excitement for what this means for Ruth and Naomi!

Boaz steps in and makes good on his word. He accepts her, loves her, and joyfully takes on the responsibility of caring for both Ruth and Naomi. He does not worrying about Ruth’s Moabite past. Just as Jesus steps in as our Redeemer with no worries of our sinful past.

How ironic that the first kinsman-redeemer was more concerned about protecting his name and his inheritance, yet we don’t even know his name. Boaz, on the other hand, didn’t care about those matters. He chose to love, accept, and help those who didn’t have the power to help themselves, and his name has been kept through generations because of his obedience and the good he did. Boaz’s name and deeds live on through Scripture.

We all have a choice to make just as Boaz and the nearer kinsman-redeemer, the choice to live for ourselves or to live in obedience to God. We can choose to live lives that are ordinary in our own strength and what we can accomplish, or we can choose to live out God’s truth and live lives that are extraordinary because of how we allow God to work through us.

We can choose to play it safe, or we can choose to live lives in complete obedience to God. Our choices dictate the type of legacy we leave behind.

Boaz’s name is preserved in Scripture and the other man is never heard of again. What he thought he was saving, he lost. What Boaz didn’t care to save, he kept.

May we choose to be like Boaz, people who are not only willing to obey God, but have a passion for it. Be someone who is willing to redeem, love, and protect those rejected by the world. May we be people who love and care for the least in our midst. May we be people who are like Boaz. And in turn be more like Jesus.

Let’s Talk: Who has been a “Boaz” to you and what impact did this person’s kindness have on your life?

Bible Study

Ruth: Proverbs 31 Woman

As a teenager, I was required to memorize Proverbs 31. I remember thinking, “That is so hard. Who could do that?” Ruth is a great example of a Proverbs 31 woman. To be honest, this part of the Book of Ruth has always made me a bit nervous. Am I the only one who cringes at the thought of Ruth going to the threshing floor that night and following Naomi’s orders? Ahhh, talk about awkward! My heart begins to beat faster, and I get anxious just thinking about how nervous Ruth must have been!

Ruth 3:11-18 New International Version (NIV)

11 And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character. 12 Although it is true that I am a guardian-redeemer of our family, there is another who is more closely related than I. 13 Stay here for the night, and in the morning if he wants to do his duty as your guardian-redeemer, good; let him redeem you. But if he is not willing, as surely as the Lord lives I will do it. Lie here until morning.”

14 So she lay at his feet until morning, but got up before anyone could be recognized; and he said, “No one must know that a woman came to the threshing floor.”

15 He also said, “Bring me the shawl you are wearing and hold it out.” When she did so, he poured into it six measures of barley and placed the bundle on her. Then he went back to town.

16 When Ruth came to her mother-in-law, Naomi asked, “How did it go, my daughter?”

Then she told her everything Boaz had done for her 17 and added, “He gave me these six measures of barley, saying, ‘Don’t go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed.’”

18 Then Naomi said, “Wait, my daughter, until you find out what happens. For the man will not rest until the matter is settled today.”

It wasn’t until I began to study and read more of the background behind Naomi’s instructions to Ruth that I began to understand the parallel to Christ’s redemption of our lives.

Look at Naomi’s advice to Ruth instructing her to change from her clothes of mourning and widowhood to new, clean and fresh clothes signifying that her time of mourning her husband’s death is over and she should move on with her life. How beautiful that Naomi would be the one to suggest this to Ruth and lovingly give her the freedom and blessing to move on! Much like Ruth, I feel I may have needed a “Naomi” in my life to give me permission to exchange my clothes of mourning and get on with my new life in God. Removing the garments of shame, anger, unforgiveness, betrayal, bitterness and pain and putting on new garments of hope, redemption, and love.

In the Hebrew Bible, Proverbs comes just before the book of Ruth. With Proverbs 31 being the last chapter, You would Read of the virtuous woman and start reading book of Ruth. Proverbs provides the description and Ruth, the example.

What we see in Ruth 3:11 is the same description we see of the “Proverbs 31 Woman” in verse 31:31. Just like the “Proverbs 31 Woman”, Ruth was also praised at the city gates…a woman mind you who was born in an enemy country, who was an alien in the country she was living in…this broken, widowed woman was actually a Proverbs 31 woman!.

Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.- Proverbs 31:31

Ruth is praised at the city gates because of how she has loved Naomi, worked hard to provide food for her mother-n-law and sought to honor her. A woman who could have turned away and started a new life in her homeland chose to leave all that she knew and walk forward in faith, not knowing what the road to Bethlehem would hold for her.

I am learning so many lessons to apply to my life as I’m inspired by Ruth’s story. We can never dismiss the power of a life lived out in love for God and others. We see this in Ruth’s life, as we see it in the life of the “Proverbs 31 Woman”, too. Both women lived with their focus on God and serving those around them. Both women lived for more than themselves and because of that, both women’s every day, step-by-step obedience is still encouraging generations of women thousands of years later!

As I’ve been reading through Ruth, I’ve been challenged through this powerful book to live more boldly for Christ. To walk my life out in greater faith and greater obedience…even if I’m not sure what is waiting for me in my “Bethlehem.” It’s not easy to humble ourselves and lay our lives down at the feet of our Redeemer. But just like Boaz, Jesus doesn’t reject us. He sees us and loves us.

What about Ruth’s life encourages you so far in our study? Is there something new that you’ve learned?

Bible Study

Ruth: Love and Faith

We begin this week in chapter 3 and many scholars guessed that a couple of weeks have gone by between the end of chapter 2 and the beginning of chapter 3. It is harvest time in Bethlehem and Naomi decides to set Ruth up with one of the landowners named Boaz.

Naomi has always referred to Ruth as a daughter and has always showed her great love. The simple fact that Naomi addressed Ruth as “my daughter” meant that she really cared for Ruth and that she had taken it on herself to secure a good future for Ruth.

Ruth 3:1-10 New International Version (NIV)

3 One day Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi said to her, “My daughter, I must find a home[a for you, where you will be well provided for. Now Boaz, with whose women you have worked, is a relative of ours. Tonight he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor. Wash, put on perfume, and get dressed in your best clothes. Then go down to the threshing floor, but don’t let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking. When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down. He will tell you what to do.”

“I will do whatever you say,” Ruth answered. So she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do.

When Boaz had finished eating and drinking and was in good spirits, he went over to lie down at the far end of the grain pile. Ruth approached quietly, uncovered his feet and lay down. In the middle of the night something startled the man; he turned—and there was a woman lying at his feet!

“Who are you?” he asked.

“I am your servant Ruth,” she said. “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a guardian-redeemer of our family.”

10 “The Lord bless you, my daughter,” he replied. “This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor.

Things get a little weird hear. Noami is really specific in how she is supposed to act with Boaz. First Ruth is to take a bath, put on some perfume and some fresh clothes. This seems normal. Then she is to go to his field and wait (without him knowing that she is there) for Boaz to finish eating and drinking, and then to lay down for the night. This seems a bit stalkery.   

Lastly, Ruth is to uncover his feet and lay down with him. This seems strange and somewhat inappropriate. Some believe that Naomi’s suggestion is sexual since it is believed that prostitutes would act in this way.  But this interpretation goes against what we know of both Naomi and Ruth’s character and the praise that Boaz gives Ruth for her actions later in verse 10. Instead, Ruth’s actions express a desire for protection, and the idea of marriage would have been the obvious way of receiving this protection.

Naomi’s idea certainly is a bit delicate and could result in Boaz misinterpreting what Ruth was doing. But Naomi seems very confident in the situation and in Boaz’s integrity. She believes that he will do what is right when he wakes up and finds Ruth lying at his feet.

But what can we take away from this part of the story? We have to be careful that when we are reading historical narratives, that we don’t try and force an application for every part of the story. Instead, we need to look for the themes that are found throughout the whole book.

Two of the themes we see is love and faith. Naomi’s faith in God seems to have gotten stronger since the story began, and she seems very confident in her plan for Ruth. The faith Naomi and Ruth have in the one true God has created a strong bond of love between the two of them. Naomi really wants to see Ruth taken care of and is willing to do all she can to help.

These two ladies can be great examples to us in godliness and faith. We need to do all we can to grow in our faith and in love for others who have this same faith.

Bible Study

Ruth: Luck has Nothing to Do With It.

I used to say, “If I had no bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.” I would compare my life to others and just think that I was plagued to be unlucky. Then after years trying to run from what God wanted from me, I finally realized. There is no such thing as luck. There is God, His love, and blessings.

It wasn’t luck that brought Ruth to Boaz’s field. It wasn’t luck that he just happened to arrive back to his field from Bethlehem at the same time Ruth was there. And is sure wasn’t luck that Boaz was from the clan of Elimelek and therefore a close relative to Naomi.

It wasn’t luck. It was God.

Ruth 2:20-23 New International Version (NIV)

20 “The Lord bless him!” Naomi said to her daughter-in-law. “He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead.” She added, “That man is our close relative; he is one of our guardian-redeemers.[a]

21 Then Ruth the Moabite said, “He even said to me, ‘Stay with my workers until they finish harvesting all my grain.’”

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.”

23 So Ruth stayed close to the women of Boaz to glean until the barley and wheat harvests were finished. And she lived with her mother-in-law

I was grown with a son before I learned about God’s providence. How He goes before us to orchestrate events in our lives. He sets up things that many times we don’t even understand until years later.

Throughout the book of Ruth, we see God’s loving hand through all the details, events, and opportunities in spite of disobedience, mistakes, and sin. What I love about the book of Ruth is how God, through His amazing love, went before Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz. He wrote a beautiful story of redemption which mirrors His heart for all His children; children who at one time were like Ruth, people in need of a redeemer.

Though Elimelek and Naomi shouldn’t have moved to Moab, God in His mercy gave Naomi her daughter-in-law, Ruth. Through Naomi, Ruth turns from her past, her gods, her culture, and clings to Naomi and Naomi’s God. When Naomi and Ruth need food to survive back in Bethlehem, God provides a Redeemer in Boaz. At every turn and every crisis, we witness God’s providence, not luck, providing, tending to, and caring for Naomi and Ruth.

What God did for Ruth and Naomi, He does for us too.

You may be looking at your life right now and wondering what in the world God is up to. Or you may be crying out to God, begging Him to redeem your mistakes, your journeys to foreign lands, and missed opportunities. If so, know that you are not alone. Like a prodigal son, turn back to God. When you do, you’ll see that He is running after you with open arms.

When we look at Ruth’s life and how God worked. God is at work in your life just like He was in Ruth’s. God is up to more than what meets the eye. There are no chance meetings, no lucky opportunities. It is God, your kinsman redeemer, who is at work in your life. That doesn’t mean that the road ahead will be easy. It doesn’t mean that there won’t be construction involved, delays, or possibly detours. What it does mean is that God is orchestrating your life for a bigger purpose.

Looking back over your life, how has God been orchestrating it for a greater good?

Bible Study

Ruth: Hard Work Under Sheltered Wings

At this point in the Book of Ruth, we have witnessed the hesed of God and Ruth, seen tragedy, and seen Boaz showing Ruth kindness. Today we are going to see more of the characters of both Ruth and Boaz. As you read the scripture look closely at nature of these people and look for the hand of God.

Ruth 2:10-19 New International Version (NIV)

10 At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She asked him, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me—a foreigner?”

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. 12 May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”

13 “May I continue to find favor in your eyes, my lord,” she said. “You have put me at ease by speaking kindly to your servant—though I do not have the standing of one of your servants.”

14 At mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come over here. Have some bread and dip it in the wine vinegar.”

When she sat down with the harvesters, he offered her some roasted grain. She ate all she wanted and had some left over. 15 As she got up to glean, Boaz gave orders to his men, “Let her gather among the sheaves and don’t reprimand her. 16 Even pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up, and don’t rebuke her.”

17 So Ruth gleaned in the field until evening. Then she threshed the barley she had gathered, and it amounted to about an ephah.18 She carried it back to town, and her mother-in-law saw how much she had gathered. Ruth also brought out and gave her what she had left over after she had eaten enough.

19 Her mother-in-law asked her, “Where did you glean today? Where did you work? Blessed be the man who took notice of you!”

Then Ruth told her mother-in-law about the one at whose place she had been working. “The name of the man I worked with today is Boaz,” she said.

Did you see it. Ruth was loyal, hardworking, humble and grateful. Boaz was gracious, kind, generous and giving praise to God. He pointed out to her that God was giving her refuge. We know from before that Ruth had already renounced her moabite ways and swore to Naomi that Naomi’s God was her God. She was now looked to Jehovah God for her sustenance. Her resilient faith did not sway as she worked in the hot sun while every person in town watched her sweating out her new-found faith.

Because of her hard work, faith and loyalty, Boaz noticed her and she found favor in the eyes of the wealthy landowner. Can that be said for you? Are you noticed for hard work, faith and loyalty? I hope I am, but I am afraid I have failed. I will always have this as my goal.

Are you in a place were you feel like your drowning in your circumstances. Take a moment and take refuge in the Lord. Allow him to work in your life. You might be surprised to find out he is already working. Remember sometimes it is not the circumstances that need to change, sometimes it is the people in the circumstances that need to change. Be willing to let God change you if that’s what needs to happen.

You are never alone and unprotected, . Like David in the Psalms, we can cry out to God: Psalm 57:1 “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in You my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by” 

During desperate times, we must remember that we have a Hesed God.

Plug into His power through prayer and Bible study.

Trust in His timing, rather than try to take control.

Resolve to stay close by His side and not stray.

Rest in hope because He is faithful and true.

Bible Study

Ruth: God’s Hand in Our Lives

The book of Ruth is often seen as a love story. And Yes, it is that. But, it goes so much deeper that just the story of a man and a woman. As we begin chapter two, Ruth and Naomi have moved to Bethlehem and are looking for ways that they can get food.

Ruth 2:1-9 New International Version (NIV)

Now Naomi had a relative on her husband’s side, a man of standing from the clan of Elimelek, whose name was Boaz.

And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.”

Naomi said to her, “Go ahead, my daughter.” So she went out, entered a field and began to glean behind the harvesters. As it turned out, she was working in a field belonging to Boaz, who was from the clan of Elimelek.

Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, “The Lord be with you!”

“The Lord bless you!” they answered.

Boaz asked the overseer of his harvesters, “Who does that young woman belong to?”

The overseer replied, “She is the Moabite who came back from Moab with Naomi. She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the harvesters.’ She came into the field and has remained here from morning till now, except for a short rest in the shelter.”

So Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here with the women who work for me. 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. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled.”

I hope that reading the book of Ruth will touch your hearts and make you fall in love with the beautiful, provisional exchange between Ruth and the beyond merciful man of God named Boaz. I have always prayed that God would help me raise Jackson to become a man like Boaz. I was blessed and given my own Boaz, in my husband Daniel. The way this wealthy man treats his workers and then Ruth demonstrates a genuine life lived for God and others. Boaz is the God initiated positive shift in this story that born out of the deepest suffering.

As I was blessed with a Boaz and desire my son to be like him. I also aspire to have the character of Ruth. She is a model of grace, humility, tremendous work ethic, resourcefulness, and selflessness. I am motivated by her strength and inspired by her undaunted attitude. She Reminds me of the woman described in Proverbs 31. You might even want to put your hands to work for God with renewed commitment and fervor after reflecting on her life.

Or God might be telling you, you have been more of a Naomi. Who ended chapter 1 in hopeless and bitterness, but who now is beginning to see the mercy of God break through in her life after a long period of darkness. Her return to Bethlehem not only signified a return to her people, but also a return to her God. If you’ve been in a season of darkness that has left you far from God, I pray that your heart will be softened as you watch Naomi’s transformation this week.

But oh, more than anything, please don’t miss our great God in the details.

It’s not a coincidence that Naomi returned Bethlehem.

It’s God that lead them there.

It’s not a coincidence that Ruth “happened to come”to a certain field.

It’s God who placed Ruth in Boaz’s field

It’s not a coincidence that Boaz had leftover harvest to glean in his fields.

It’s God who has a heart for the poor and the widow – Leviticus 19:9-10; James 1:27

God’s intention isn’t for us to simply focus on the love story of Ruth and Boaz, or admirable human strength, resilience, or effort. Throughout Scripture, God longs for us to see Him as the loving God whose hands direct our lives.

Now it’s your turn. Where have you seen God go before YOU?

Seek Him in your suffering, don’t miss His whisperings in the waiting, and look for His provision as you unpack His faithfulness in each new day.

And then don’t forget to speak of His glory and goodness to those He has put in your path! .

Bible Study Uncategorized

Ruth: Get Bitter or Get Better

Many people find it almost impossible to have hope when you are filled with pain and loss. Naomi has lost her husband and both her sons and her dreams of having a large family had been shattered. In most of our lives we have felt pain and loss. It may not be on Naomi’s scale, but the struggle is still real for us. At one point in my life I was bitter and angry at how I thought God was treating. It turns out i was bringing this destruction on myself, but I was young and naive and very selfish. During this time, I spoke with a very god- centered preacher, Bobby Tucker. He said to me, “Missy, You have one choice. You can be bitter or get better.” Those words have often come back at me many times since that conversation. Although it is difficult to believe that God is near, His sovereignty never sleeps. When our pain is the deepest and our doubt the greatest, God remains with us.

Ruth 1:19-22 New International Version (NIV)

19 So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?”20 “Don’t call me Naomi,[a]” she told them. “Call me Mara,[ because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. 21 I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.

22 So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.

In this passage, Naomi is facing a crisis of faith. Returning to her homeland, Bethlehem, the home of her God, her faith, and her people should bring feelings of hope. However, Naomi is left empty and in despair. Naomi, in Hebrew means pleasant. After all that has happened, now wishes to be called Mara, which means Bitter

Naomi believes that God is punishing her. When everything seems to be tossed upside, do you get like Naomi or do you choose to cry out to God and get better. My Mother and father -in- law have have a rough 5 years. My father- in-law has battled prostate and bone cancer. My mother-in-law has battled stomach, uterine and brain cancer. Yet, they refuse to be bitter. Going into her brain surgery my mother-in-law looked at me and said, “It’s okay. Either way I win. I beat this and get to spend more time here with you or I don’t and I get to spend eternity with Jesus. Either way I win.”

God does not just extend the fullness of His grace and overflowing love during the good times in our lives. That Grace and Love are present in the bad as well, you just have to stop wallowing in you grief long enough to see God. We get so focused on me, me, me that we forget this story your starring in is all about God. God will use our doubts, our fears, and our pain for His glory. Nothing is wasted or without purpose. We can be assured that all of our struggles and our pain are in the loving hands of a loving Father.

Naomi, in her pain, called herself Mara, because she failed to recognize God’s grace. However, God, in His grace, blessed Naomi with a loving husband for many years. In His grace, Naomi and her husband birthed two strong sons who were then able to support and care for her after her husband’s death. In His grace, her sons were married, her daughters-in-law, who honored and respected her despite their Moabite upbringing. In His grace, Naomi was able to return to her home and her faith, in Bethlehem, after God had delivered the land from a severe famine.

In God’s grace, Naomi was never alone. She possessed the love and devotion of her daughter-in-law Ruth who shared her same struggles with pain and loss. In His grace, Naomi would become grandmother to Ruth’s first-born, Obed, and share in the majestic ancestry of the lineage of her Messiah, Jesus Christ. God’s grace is exceedingly more abundant than our circumstances, our past, or our pain.

God’s grace pours out love, kindness, favor, and forgiveness all over the place, to those who trust in Him. His grace changes everything. Our plan for our life is often drastically different from God’s purpose for our life. The challenge for believers is to filter our every experience through the love of Jesus Christ and trust His perspective, not our own. Grounding our lives in God’s promises in His Word gives us the confidence to trust His will and His plan for our lives.

But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for He has been good to me. – Psalm 13:5-6 

Naomi thought she had lost everything. She thought God had afflicted her. Naomi was wrong. Everything she believed had been lost and perished was restored as a part of God’s plan because of His great love. There are no insignificant people or circumstances in God’s story. Even when we doubt it, God’s love for His people is eternally perfect, unconditional, and inexhaustible until the end of ends.

Have your circumstances derailed your faith in God? How might your emotions be limiting your ability to recognize God’s grace in your life? How might God be using your trials to strengthen your faith and reveal His glory?  How can we pray for you as you seek out God’s grace in your life?

Bible Study

Ruth: Loyalty in Relationships

Having spent many years working with teenagers, I been evolved in some lively conversations. We have talked about Everything from games and memes, I have no idea about, to food, to shoes, but when you hang in there long enough, the topic of relationships almost always rises. One thing I have noticed through the years is that the kids bring up the seeming lack of loyalty in relationships around them. It’s no secret that changes throughout the teenage years can often result in self-focus, fickle feelings, shifts in friendship groups, and short-lived romantic interests. Unfortunately, the absence of loyalty isn’t just exclusive to the teenage years.

The world we live in has distorted views on loyalty. The more and more people I talk to the more convinced I am that most peoples loyalty lies in their own needs not the others in the relationship. I am not only speaking of marriage, but also friendships, jobs, churches and ministries. With staggering divorce rates, decreasing job longevity, and even a trending lack of commitment to the local church, the priority the world places on personal convenience and fulfillment the evidence of out lack of loyalty is staggering. Ruth chose to be loyal to a mother- in -law and shows us how we can put others needs above our own desires.

Ruth 1:8-18 New International Version (NIV)

Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.”

Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud 10 and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.”

11 But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? 12 Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons— 13 would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!”

14 At this they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her.

15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”

16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.

That’s why the story of Ruth is so captivating.

In the first chapter, right smack dab in the middle of personal tragedy, Ruth introduces us to a kind of loyal love that can be a rare find in human relationships. The Hebrew word for Ruth here is hesed, and it’s become one of my most precious words in the Bible. Hesed is difficult to translate to English because there is no single word in English that encapsulates all its meanings. to define hesed we us words such “kindness,” “loving-kindness,” “mercy,” “sacrificial love”, “loyalty,” and “steadfast.” Hesed is one of the richest, most powerful words in the Old Testament. It reflects the loyal love that people committed to the God of the Bible should have for one another. It is not a “mood.”Hesed is not something people “feel.”  It is something people DO for other people. The word hesed is displayed throughout the story of Ruth where it is usually translated “kindness.”  Love is something we do, not primarily something we feel.

On the way, when Naomi was returning to her homeland, her daughters-in-law must make the difficult decision to stay or to go with the old woman they have grown to love deeply. It would make more sense for Ruth and Orpah to stay in Moab – their family ties were in the place they had called home their entire lives, and their chances for remarriage were greater there. In Israel it was doubtful that the young widows would find husbands, and to be a childless widow during this time was considered to be among the lowest of social classes.

Orpah ultimately makes the heart-wrenching decision to stay in Moab, but Ruth clung to Naomi as she promised that Naomi’s people would be her people and Naomi’s God would be her God. From the world’s perspective, Ruth had nothing to gain and everything to lose, but bold faith and loyal love often require a walk down a unfamiliar road.

As we study the book of Ruth together, be on the constant lookout for the depth of God’s loyal love as He orchestrates events and details in lives as only He can. Chapter by chapter look for His overwhelming, grace-filled, consistent, fully-redeeming, unconditional love to those who had initially strayed from Him.

My prayer is that we would be open to let God’s hesed toward us change us from within, like Ruth, and cause us to pass onto others what our loving Father has given to us.

Strive everyday to be loyal and more hesed to those that God has given us the pleasure to be involved in their lives.