Journey Through The Scriptures

The Life of Ruth

Lesson 2: Ruth Declares Her Faith

(Scripture to Read: Ruth 1:11–22)

A tearful scene of three widows hugging and saying their good-byes hardly sounds like the start of a great love story. But in the case of Ruth, that is exactly what it was. Naomi was on the road back to Bethlehem with Orpah and Ruth (1:6-7) when she turned to them and urged them to let her go on while they went back to their families in Moab. Naomi spelled out the grim future that she believed awaited her in Bethlehem, and she wished better for her daughters-in-law.

Orpah stayed in Moab, but Ruth pleaded to go to Bethlehem with Naomi, saying, "Your people will be my people, and your God my God" (v. 16). Thus Ruth aligned herself and her fate with Israel-much as "righteous Gentiles" like Oskar Schindler and Corrie ten Boom did by saving Jews during the Holocaust. Naomi felt that God had made her life hard, and when she arrived back in Bethlehem she told the women to call her "Mara," or "bitter." But once back in the Promised Land, Naomi and Ruth began to see the loving hand of God turn despair into hope.

Study Questions

  1. Why did Naomi feel it was important for Orpah and Ruth to understand that she herself was too old to consider marrying again?
  2. Ruth understood that, humanly speaking, nothing but hardship awaited her if she went to Bethlehem with Naomi. Why was Ruth so determined to go with Naomi?
  3. Why did the women of Bethlehem express such surprise and shock the first time they saw Naomi after her return?
  4. Ruth is full of seeming coincidences that reveal God's hand at work. Why does the Bible note that Ruth and Naomi arrived in Bethlehem just in time for the fall harvest?

Something to Think About

Naomi believed it was impossible for Ruth to have a hopeful future in Bethlehem. But Ruth had already declared her allegiance to the God of Israel, about whom Jeremiah said, "Sovereign Lord… nothing is too hard for you." (Jeremiah 32:17).

Turning despair into hope was not too hard for God in the lives of Naomi and Ruth, and He can do the same for you today.