Welcome back to our second group discussion of The Gospel of Ruth by Carolyn Custis James. This week we opened our books and found ourselves reading about Ground Zero at the same time America remembers the 10 year anniversary of the September 11 attacks. In God’s perfect timing, He connected the events of our fallen world with the events of Naomi’s life. There are many modern Naomi’s suffering the loss of family members through terrorist attacks. Carolyn writes “I never connected emotionally with Naomi’s losses until I heard her compared to the legendary sufferer Job.” Many of us have read the story of Naomi as a background to Ruth’s love story, and missed Naomi’s suffering in the first few lines of the story. We now realize she would face ruling judges- without a husband, sons, land or assets- in a male-dominated society. From a female perspective, she was walking into the lions den. Naomi was not going back to her husband’s family, to her children, to her friends; she was retuning to seek God. With her diminished social status, she was humbled. She is being sifted like sand. “It is a Job moment when she can no longer stifle what her sufferings imply about God,” writes Carolyn.
Ruth wants to know Naomi’s God. Stop for a moment and ask yourself “Is God visible enough in me, so others would want to know Him too?”
In the next chapter of our study, we learn about Naomi’s widowhood status. Remember what Carolyn says “God’s view of women clashes at every point with how the world views us, and even with how we see ourselves.” What God sees in us is different that what our spouses, children, friends, coworkers and family members see. When we look in a mirror and see age, hardship, weight, or past sins- God sees the beauty of his image bearer. The mirror distorts when Satan gets involved. In the story of Ruth, “God doesn’t exile the widow to the margins of our bible. He features her in the central story of redemption,” writes Carolyn. He values us.
Please visit our Prayer Wall and post a prayer request or praise report. Take time this week to lift others up with your prayers.
Carolyn Custis James Quotes
- We meet God in our desperation.
- Even when there’s nothing less but rubble, God is mysteriously at work in the mess.
- When you are living in darkness, even a little light can make a powerful difference.
- God calls us to trust Him even when we’re missing the big pieces to the puzzle and He isn’t giving the answers.
- In God’s eyes, she was still on active duty and the treasure of His heart.
For Next Week
- Read Chapters Three and Four in the book
- Join our Womens Bible Cafe Chat on Facebook
Group Discussion- Answer one question or as many as you like
- Have you ever experienced a Job moment where you questioned God? What happened.
- How do our beliefs about God influence how we see our struggles?
- What defines a woman”s value before God? How is this different from how the world views women?
- Share a favorite moment from this week’s study.