Scripture Text:(click to open in a new window)
1. What was the economic climate like for the family in which you were raised?
2. When have you felt quite alone in the world? The most cared for? Explain.
3. Without a husband or sons, what crisis is Naomi facing (verses 11 – 13)? In a male-dominated, pre-welfare age, how important would male relatives be for widows?
4. Why did Naomi tell her daughters-in-laws to return to their homes?
- she was concerned about their welfare
- she was immersed in self-pity
- she was tired of them and wanted to gently get rid of them
- she was testing them to see if they really wanted to go with her
- she couldn’t bring herself to ask them to leave their people
5. What ethnic enmity complicates prospects for her daughters-in-law? Why this hatred of the Moabites (see Genesis 19:30 – 38; Numbers 25:1 – 3; Deuteronomy 23:2 – 4)?
6. Both Ruth (verses 16, 17) and Naomi (verses 20, 21) confess God’s sovereign control of events, each in her own way. What truth does each convey of God? Of themselves? Of their success in coping with stress?
7. In reference to Question #6, which confession do you think would most startle the original readers? Why?
8. What do you think awaited Ruth at the end of the road to Israel?
- warm welcome and acceptance
- cold shoulder and a lonely future
- fears similar to Naomi’s when her family moved to Moab
- a difficult, but hopeful, transition
9. In what way is your life full? In what way is it empty? Which word depicts your life now more accurately?
10. Like Ruth, have you ever had to crossover to another ethnic or cultural group? Were you able to assimilate or did you remain a stranger?
11. What kinds of groups do you feel like a stranger among? (On what basis: social class? race? creed? politics? past hurts?)
12. Like Ruth, have you embraced God’s people as your own, forever? For instance, have you settled into a church?
13. What has been stressful for you this year? Did you cope like Naomi, Orpah or Ruth? How so?
14. Who in your life is like Ruth, loyal to you in your emptiness? How can you be like Ruth to someone else in their desolation?
15. In what way has your most recent loss been like Naomi’s or Ruth’s?
- My “roots” have been destroyed
- I have gone through a series of painful losses
- I have felt unworthy of others’ support or wanted to be alone in my grief
- I have assigned my loss to my self-identity
- I have been angry about my loss
- I have blamed God for my loss
- I have clung to God and His people
16. This question is for empty nesters.
(a) How long have your children been gone?
(b) What has been the most difficult thing about being an empty nester?
(c) What has been most helpful in keeping you from being sad or bitter?