Last week we began our journey into the Book of Ruth with Naomi in deep loss with the death of her husband and both her sons. She sees her life through the lens of deep grief, to the point of renaming herself ‘Mara’, meaning ‘bitter’. When Ruth and Orpah, her daughter-in-laws are given the option to return to their own people, Orpah returns to her people but Ruth stays with Naomi. Chapter 1 began with ‘famine’ in the land of Moab and ends with Naomi and Ruth arriving in Bethlehem, which means ‘house of bread’ at the beginning of the barley harvest. Yes – this is foreshadowing.
As we continue into chapter 2 this week, we will see Ruth make a gutsy, risk taking step of love to provide for Naomi. Behind the scenes, God is at work through the circumstances of everyday life in Bethlehem. We are going to meet a new character this week – Boaz. As the story of Ruth unfolds, we will see God’s blessings flow through the extraordinary obedience of followers of God (Ruth and Boaz) to fulfill God’s law of love.
As you read chapter 2 of Ruth in preparation for Sunday, ask yourself these questions: Is Ruth taking a risk by going out into the field alone as a foreigner? How is it risky? What are the ways that Boaz shows ‘hesed’ (loving kindness) to Ruth (and Naomi)? I count at least 6 ways! Where does God show up in chapter 2? (Think about ways that God shows up in subversive and behind the scene kind of ways!)
I love this book of the Bible. Join us Sunday as we reflect on the ancient text and wonder about how it speaks to us today – Shalom!