WEEK 1: WHEN THINGS GO WRONG
Read: Chapter 1:1-5
1. Elimelech, Naomi and their two sons travel from Bethlehem to Moab (verses 1-3). Why did they leave Bethlehem, and what (presumably) did they find in Moab?
2. The period of the judges was a time of depravity, immorality, and anarchy. In the terms of Judges 21:25 “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was fit in his own eyes.” What reason would have been assumed for God bringing a drought to Judah?
3. Elimelech died, and Naomi was left in gentile territory with only her two sons (verses 3-4). Although marriage to Moabite women was not forbidden, do you think Naomi would have approved of her sons marrying Moabite women?
4. When her two sons also died (verse 5), how do you think Naomi would have felt about her original decision to go to Moab? And, how do you think she felt about where she stood in her relationship with God?
5. Remember a time when a series of things went wrong for you. How did you feel? Describe how your relationship with God felt at the time.
Read: Chapter 1:6-18
6. When Naomi heard that the famine in Judah was over, she and her two daughters-in-law prepared to return to Naomi’s home in Bethlehem (verses 6-7). On the road to Bethlehem, Naomi told her daughters-in-law (twice) to return to Moab (verses 8-13). What reasons did she give?
7. Orpah took her mother-in-law’s advice, but Ruth didn’t (verses 14-17). What are the differences between the reasons that Orpah left, and the reasons that Ruth stayed?
8. Despite what Naomi may have been personally feeling, what does Ruth’s response (verse 16) say about what Naomi had to offer, and what Naomi’s true relationship with God was really like?
9. What does Naomi’s experience teach us about what we may have to offer, even when things, including our relationship with God, seem to be going terribly wrong?
Read: Chapter 1:19-22
10. When Naomi and Ruth arrived in Bethlehem they were greeted by the town folk (verses 19-22). Although accepting God’s authority, Naomi remained bitter about what God had put her through. Was her bitterness an understandable response? And was her bitterness appropriate?
11. What conclusions can you make regarding the faith of Naomi? Had her faith really been eroded by the number of tragic events in life? Or had she remained committed to God, despite everything?
12. When we go through rough patches in life, how can Naomi’s experience help us?
Posted: 21st January 2016
© 2016, Brian A Curtis