Ruth, the Girl from Moab     Ruth 1-4

Even during the dark days of the judges, there was always a remnant of people who tried to serve Him. This week we will talk about a girl from the heathen land of Moab who was faithful to Him, too. That girl’s name was Ruth. Ruth’s mother-in-law Naomi was an Israelite. Naomi had lived in Judah with her husband Elimelech and their two sons Mahlon and Chilion. Because of a terrible famine, the family moved from Bethlehem down into Moab. Then Naomi’s husband Elimelech died. Mahlon and Chilion married girls of Moab named Ruth and Orphah - - but after about ten years, Mahlon and Chilion died, too. So poor Naomi was in a strange land without her husband and sons.

When Naomi heard the famine was over in Judah she decided to go home to Bethlehem. She told Orphah and Ruth to go back to their own people - - they were still young enough for other husbands.

Orphah agreed to stay in Moab, but Ruth wanted to go with her mother-in-law. When Naomi tried to say good-bye, Ruth clung to her and declared she would not be left, saying “…wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge I will lodge; your people shall be my people and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die and there will I be buried.” Ruth wanted to stay with Naomi the rest of her life.

Ruth was determined to go with her, so Naomi let her come. When they got to Bethlehem, everyone was excited to see them. “Is this Naomi?” the woman asked. After all, she had been gone many years! Naomi told them she had gone out full and was returning empty. They must have been sorry about Naomi’s husband and sons. But Naomi still had her daughter-in-law Ruth to love her.

Since it was time for the barley harvest, Ruth went into the fields to glean grain for flour so they could make bread. Ruth happened to go into the fields of Boaz, a rich man from the family of Naomi’s husband Elimelech. When Boaz saw Ruth, he asked his servant, “Whose young woman is this?” The servant told Boaz that Ruth was the girl who had come back with Naomi. She had worked hard all morning except for a few minutes’ rest in the house.

Boaz was glad Ruth came to his fields for grain. He had heard about her taking care of her mother-in-law. Now he told Ruth, “…do not glean in another field, nor go from here, but stay close to my young women.” He even told Ruth to get a drink from his own people when she was thirsty.

Ruth wondered why this great man was so kind to her. She fell on her face before Boaz and asked why he was showing such favor to a foreign woman. Boaz told her he knew all about her leaving her own father and mother and homeland to come live among people she didn’t even know. “The Lord repay your work,” Boaz said. “And a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel under whose wings you have come for refuge.”

Later when it was time to eat, Boaz invited Ruth to sit with his workers and passed the food to her himself. Soon she had eaten all she could hold and had some left over for Naomi. Then she went back to the fields and gleaned until dark. When Ruth had beat out the grain, she had a whole basketful to take home along with the food she had saved for her mother-in-law.

Naomi was delighted to hear about Boaz. She had wanted Ruth to find another husband - - maybe if Boaz liked her, he would want to marry her.

Surely enough Boaz did marry Ruth later. Imagine Naomi’s happiness when God gave them a baby boy! Now the women came to celebrate, naming the child Obed. Obed grew up and became the father of Jesse and grandfather of King David, into whose family the Savior Jesus was born.

We can see that Ruth was greatly blessed for her great faith and for her kindness to her mother-in-law.

Talking it Over:

1. Women without husbands or sons had a hard time in Bible days. They could not get a job and were often very poor. Who else could help take care of them?
2. How did Naomi influence Ruth? Try to memorize Ruth’s beautiful statement in Ruth 1:16-17. Then talk about some of the ways Naomi’s country was different from Ruth’s homeland of Moab.
3. Talk about Ruth having the greatest honor any woman could have - - to have Jesus the Savior born into her family. Was it worth giving up her own people? Talk about some things you may have to give up to serve God.

Memory Verse:

“A full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel under Whose wings you have come.” Ruth 2:12
How did God repay Ruth?

Text by Betty Belue Haynes, originally published in Bible Talk Times. Used here with the kind permission of the author. Users are free to reproduce for use, but not for publication.