What to do when God seems absent
I. The THREE main CHARACTERS. (1:20-2:23)
A. Naomi: Feeling BITTER and AFFLICTED. (1:20-21)
B. Ruth: Showing LOYAL love in VISIBLE ways. (1:16-17; 2:2,7,17)
C. Boaz: A RELATIVE who is FAITHFUL to God. (2:1,3,8-13,15-16.21; Dt. 24:19)
Last week Kari introduced us to the story of Naomi and Ruth. One of the key ideas was that at times God seems absent, or even worse, seems out to get us. As the story continues Ruth models what we are to do in these middle places of our lives where it seems as if God has forgotten us.
1. Kids question: Who’s your favourite character in the Bible? Why?
2. Who do you most identify with in Ruth chapter 2? Why is that?
II. LESSONS embedded in LIVES. (2:1-23)
A. Boaz: Faith beyond WORDS and RULES. (v.4,8-9,14-16)
B. Ruth: A life of HUMILITY and GRATITUDE. (v.2,7,10,13,18)
C. Relationships: Filled with GIVING and RECEIVING. (v.11-17)
As we see the story play out in chapter 2, there are some things we see in the lives of Ruth and Boaz that reflect the wisdom of God. This is one of the roles that Scripture plays in our life. We are to learn from the lives of those who have gone before us.
3. For Boaz, faith is a way of life more than keeping the rules or saying the right thing. Who do you know like that? How true is that of your own life?
4. What are some practical ways to cultivate humility and gratitude in your life right now? What are the challenges that stand in your way regarding growing in those areas?
5. Do you find it hard to receive from others? Why is that? How can you practice both giving and receiving this week?
III. Where are WE in the MIDDLE? (2:1-23; I Pet. 4:19)
A. Serving OTHERS where they ARE. (1:20-2:2; v.15-16; Rom. 5:8)
B. Being the HANDS and FEET of Jesus. (v.12,14-16; Jn 13:12-14; Eph. 2:10)
C. TRUSTING God with what “HAPPENS”. (v.3; Gen. 50:20; 2 Cor. 1:8-9)
D. REALIZE the DIFFERENCE a day can make. (v.2,20; Lk. 24:21)
Last week Kari showed us how the text provokes the question, “Where is God in the middle places of our lives?” Where is He when we suffer and struggle? This we I want to reframe that question by asking where are we? Or maybe the better question is “how are we” as we live in these middle spaces? How do we live in the meanwhile?
6. Who do you find it difficult to serve and why is that? What stands in the way of you being the hands and feet of Jesus in their life?
7. What is “happening” in your life right now that makes it difficult to trust that Jesus is at work? Can you surrender that to God and look for His hand in it?
8. Where might God be calling you to make a difference in the lives of those around you? How will you respond?