Going Deeper – 04.23.2023

Breaking Ground

What’s your favorite novel? Why?

The Dig

This Sunday, we began our new series on the Old Testament Book of Ruth, which acts as, essentially, a slice of life story. That is, it depicts the ordinary life events of several good, average people living between two dramatic moments in Israel’s history (Judges & the rise of King David).

Why does the Bible include a story like this & what does that reveal about the purpose of Scripture? 

Next, read Ruth 1:1-6. This introduction establishes the main characters & impetus of this story. It focuses on Naomi (an Israelite widow) & Ruth (Naomi’s widowed, Moabite daughter-in-law) after both undergo an immense tragedy, which would’ve been both traumatic & economically disastrous. Importantly, the Moabites were ancient enemies of Israel. 

Imagine being in these women’s shoes. What would be going through your mind? How would you respond to this situation? 

Ultimately, Ruth’s story ends happily because of the small acts of generosity, charity, justice, & faithfulness by Ruth &, later, Boaz (a kind Israelite farmer named Boaz whom Ruth marries).

In this, two of Ruth’s most interesting aspects are highlighted. 

  1. God never speaks or acts directly in this story. Thus, it’s only through the daily decisions of ordinary people that healing & renewal are brought about in the story.
  2. Ruth (a marginalized, widowed, Moabite woman) becomes central in the family line of David & Jesus.

Consider God’s silence & the story’s focus on everyday acts of kindness carried out by ordinary people. What might this be trying to teach us about how God operates in the world? 

What does Ruth want us to understand about the importance of even the most mundane & ordinary moments of our lives? 

Finally, consider that Ruth (a marginalized, widowed, Moabite woman) plays such a critical role in Israel’s story. 

Why’s it so important that the Bible includes a book where figures like Ruth & Naomi are the clear heroines of the story? How does Ruth’s character, in particular, challenge us to reorient our understanding of identity (both for ourselves & others)?

Getting Out of the Hole

Take time to reflect on the Sunday sermon & how this week’s section of Ruth might speak into your daily life.

  • Read Ruth 1:1-6. In your mind, summarize the key characters & events of this part in the story. Whose involved? What’s happened? 
  • Imagine yourself in the shoes of Ruth & Naomi. What would you be feeling? What would be going through your mind?  
  • How might Naomi & Ruth’s story help you navigate the joys & hardships of your life in this season? Where might you be able to model the faithfulness & commitment that they model in your own relational world?

Journal, reflect, & pray on how God might be speaking to you through each week’s teaching. Share your experience with your growth group next week!

Additional Resources*

World Biblical Commentary: Ruth & Esther by Frederic Bush

The Hebrew Bible: The Writings by Robert Alter

The Bible for Everyone: Ruth by NT Wright


Coming Up This Week:* 

Saturday, April 30th: Join us next Sunday for week 2 of our series on The Book of Ruth

* Please see mye3.org for details.