WEEK 4: FAITH HAS ITS REWARDS
Read: Chapter 4:1-4
1. Boaz was true to his promise, and sought out Ruth’s nearest (Israelite) male relative. In the light of Boaz’s extra generous responses to Ruth himself, do you think that there was more at stake for Boaz than the simple redemption of Elimelech’s estate (verses 1-4)? If there was, what was more important to Boaz, his feelings for Ruth, or his obedience to God’s laws?
2. When the closer relative accepted his responsibilities, no mention of Ruth had been made. Just what was it, do you think, that the closer relative thought he was redeeming?
3. Have there been times when you have said “yes” to something – before having learnt all the facts? What difference would knowing all the facts have made to your decision?
Read: Chapter 4:5-10
4. Boaz’s response was to spell out exactly what the closer relative would be redeeming. As a consequence the other relative changed his mind (verses 5-6). What does that say about the priorities of the other relative? And what does it say about the other relative’s attitude towards God’s laws?
5. Maintaining family property was a very important issue for Israelite families. At risk may have been the ultimate transfer of their own property to the family of Elimelech, leaving the redeemer’s family property-less (verse 6). But the issues for Boaz and the other family member were exactly the same. What does this tell us about the differences between the two men?
6. The process of renouncing one’s property rights and passing them to another was conducted, publicly, by taking off a sandal and transferring it to the other person (verses 7-10). Boaz, true to his word, redeemed all property owned by Elimelech and his two sons. Doing things that are costly, or are potentially costly, are never easy. How do the examples of Boaz and the other relative, encourage us in making difficult decisions, particularly where God is concerned?
Read: Chapter 4:11-22
7. The response of the elders to Boaz was one of recognition of what Boaz had done (verses 11-12). What did they say to Boaz?
8. As a consequence of their marriage, Ruth bore a son (Obed) (verses 13-15). This resulted, therefore, in the family of Elimelech, not ceasing, but continuing on through Obed. In the light of the tragic beginning to the story, and all the things that Naomi and Ruth had faced, how do you think that they both felt at the birth of the baby? And what do you think that they would have learnt from constantly being obedient to God’s laws, no matter how they felt?
9. Obed was now the heir to Elimelech’s family property on the death of Boaz. As a consequence, Naomi, not Ruth had the responsibility in bringing up Obed (verses 16-17). On top of all the other things she had done, how difficult would it have been to give the baby into Naomi’s charge?
10. As a result of Naomi, Ruth and Boaz’s deep faith and obedience to God’s laws, Obed became one more link in the family line between Perez and David (verses 18-20) (and ultimately in the line between Abraham and Jesus) (Matthew 1:1-16). What does that say about God’s blessings? And what does that teach us about the things that God asks us to do?
11. In the light of Naomi losing her husband and sons (chapter 1), constantly giving Ruth advice and encouraging her (chapters 2 and 3), and ending up bringing up Obed (chapter 4), why isn’t this book called “Naomi” and not “Ruth”? Is there a point to the title of the book, particularly bearing in mind the attitude to gentiles in Old Testament times?
Posted: 2nd February 2016
© 2016, Brian A Curtis