Ruth 1 – Advent Week 1


The story of Ruth is a beautiful narrative of hope, romance, and redemption. Nevertheless, it begins as a tragic one. Referencing the days of the Judges, this was a time when the people did what was right in their own eyes (Judges 17:6). Since the people neither worshiped God as king, nor submitted to His laws, they became a god unto themselves. Because of this, we see the judgement of God fall on the land in the form of a famine. However, this famine shows providence. Through this famine, God would lead Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and their two sons Mahlon and Chilion to the country of Moab. After Elimelech dies, Naomi is left with her two sons who take Moabite wives, Orpah and Ruth. The tragedy does not stop there. Naomi then loses her sons and is now left with only her daughters-in-law.

Upon hearing that the famine has ended in Judah, Naomi rose to return back to the promised land. Naomi pleads with Orpah and Ruth to return to their families. Naomi feels as though God has dealt harshly with her and does not them to likewise be impacted.

Yet, through all of this, Ruth, a Moabite woman, an outsider, tells Naomi not to urge her to return back to her people and to her idols. In boldness Ruth says with faith, “your people shall be my people, and your God my
God” (vv.16). This conversion of a non-Israelite reveals the grace and mercy of God. However, it does not stop there. What begins as a tragic story is actually the providential sovereignty and grace of God. A famine came on the land that would drive Elimelech to take his family to the land of Moab. His sons would take to marrying Moabite women. One of those women, God would place as a glimmer of hope to not only the nation of Israel bringing about King David, but pointing forward to the Messiah who would come to redeem His people.

Study Questions

  1. The book of Ruth begins in Israel during a dark time. Yet, we see the providential hand of God at work. Can you remember a time in your life that, at the moment, seemed dark and hopeless? Reflecting back on that time are you able to recognize the hand of God at work? How did this change you or your attitude towards God
  2. Naomi felt as though God was against her. From the outside looking in we notice this was not about Naomi in the first place. Was Naomi right to feel the way she did? What should her response have been? What should your response be when you feel as though God is against you?
  3. The faith Ruth shows in verses 16 and 17 demonstrates a commitment to, trust in, and reliance upon the one true God. She left her family and idols in order that she may accompany Naomi on a journey to a land not her own, full of a people that are not her own, by the sovereignty of a God she has only experience through common grace. What can you learn from this display of faith by Ruth? How can you apply this practically in your everyday life?
  4. Ruth was a woman outside of the covenant community of God. Nevertheless, God still called her and as we will see God will use her for His purpose. We see this theme follow into the new testament as well when God brings gentiles into the covenant family. Discuss among your group what it says about God’s character that He would bring outsiders into His covenant family.