I am starting a Bible study on the book of Ruth. In addition to this Introduction there will be 2 or 3 additional lessons. I hope you will join me. The Big Idea details my goals for this endeavor. Grab a cup of coffee with me and let’s see what Ruth has to say.
The Big Idea
What I hope we take away from this study is that God is bigger than any of our circumstances and through the obedience of faith, relying and trusting totally in the sovereign God who holds all things together by the power of His word (Heb. 1:3), we can walk though all seasons of life with steadfast confidence that God truly does work all things together for good for His people (Romans 8:29). Ruth’s faith was amazing. Because she believed in the same sovereign God Naomi did, she was free to embrace whatever He brought into her life.
Most people view Ruth as a refreshing (if they have just read through Judges) love story. Ruth’s “No, I won’t leave you” speech is quoted by unbelievers as well as believers. And who isn’t swept away by the romantic love story of Ruth and Boaz? So, we tend to read Ruth with rose-colored glasses, and we don’t stop and really look at her life before she married Boaz. It was extremely hard.
Ruth was a member of a pagan society that worshiped a false god named Chemosh who required human sacrifice. She married a foreigner who was sickly and died, leaving her childless, so she threw her lot in with her bereaved mother-in-law, traveled to a foreign country, and had to work sun up to sun down gathering grain so they could eat. Then she had to do the proposing to get a husband. Not so glamorous.
However, when we get to Chapter 3 and 4 Ruth’s life takes a turn. We are introduced to Boaz, a godly man, who is a close relative of Naomi’s. He could redeem them and Naomi’s family’s land (the land by buying it and Ruth by marrying her). According to Naomi’s instructions, Ruth approaches Boaz one night and asks him to redeem her and Naomi from their destitution. He agrees and we see the great and awesome picture or type of our Kinsman-Redeemer, Jesus Christ, who redeems His people and will one day redeem the whole earth.
The book of Ruth is a beautiful story of love and redemption. Ruth is an example of God’s ideal woman. Woven through her story, we see God’s kind providence, often hidden in her hard times and shown through the kindness and protection extended to her through others.
Our purpose in this study is to investigate the seasons of Ruth’s resilient life and see how she embraced them and how we can apply what we learn to our own lives.
What are seasons of life?
Webster’s Dictionary says:
a time characterized by a particular circumstance or feature
a suitable or natural time or occasion
Seasons can be life events: such as, marriage, child-rearing, career development, widowhood, to name a few. They can also be emotional/spiritual/physical seasons, such as: long times of sorrow, joy, despair, hope, energy, and lethargy.
Gordon MacDonald in his book “A Resilient Life” identifies them as decades in our lives. In each season we are concerned about different things.
MacDonald says that you will talk about very different things to an 80 plus person than you will to a 20+ person. The 80 year old is concerned about end of life issues. Death is a hot topic. How will it come? Will I have pain? Will I be afraid? Will Jesus grant me grace to get through it as my Pastor says He will?
The twenty year old would run like crazy from that conversation. They are interested in school, careers, marriage, what is the latest cool video game.
As we examine Ruth’s responses to the seasons in her life let’s remember as she did, that God has a plan and His loving hand is shaping our lives through His Spirit and His providence, as He did Ruth’s.
For our sanctification is not a straight highway. It has ups and downs, twists and turns. When we look forward, we see those ups and downs, twists and turns, but when we look behind us, we see God has made them into a straight highway heading us toward home.
How do you embrace each season of life and persevere with your faith intact? How do you maintain a steadfast assurance that no matter what happens, God will get you safely home?
These are the questions we will be answering in the lessons to follow.
See you next time.
You are loved.