Gospel of Ruth Bible Study Week 4

By September 25, 2011Ruth- Gospel of

Welcome back to the fourth week of reading  The Gospel of Ruth by Carolyn Custis James. This week we completed chapters five and six. We had an interesting group discussion last week and you are really opening your hearts and minds to this study. The more you share, the more we learn so let the Spirit lead you and join the conversation.

In chapter five we saw Naomi open her heart and express concern that God no longer loves her. She fell into a cloud of depression, convinced she is unlovable and no longer has God’s favor, or hesed. Naomi knew loving-kindness when she lived richly in her hometown, but when she left Bethlehem her favor disappeared. Naomi assumed she lost hesed and so she returns to the place where she once knew it. Her faith brings her back, though her heart is still weeping. Captivated by this faith, Ruth follows and looks for an opportunity to demonstrate her own version of loving-kindness towards Naomi. Little did either woman know- God had a plan and it included a man named Boaz. At the end of the chapter we see the hope of Naomi’s heart and God’s plan for a redeemer. She went home seeking hesed and God blessed her with loving-kindness. God never stops loving His children and leads our hearts home to Him. “We were created to live in God’s hesed- to dwell in his love and to thrive in his care,” writes Carolyn. God’s hesed did not run out for Naomi. She just needed to return home to find it. When her heart was focused on her misery and suffering she was unable to focus on God’s goodness. The story shifts when she takes her eyes off herself and puts them back on God. Carolyn concludes “Living by faith means hanging on to God’s hesed and trusting Him, even when we’re looking at him from ground zero.”

Carolyn reminds us in chapter eight that we are looking at the world and at God from an earthbound perspective in the story of Ruth. We examine the fingerprints hidden in scripture and “assume God’s hand is in everything,” says Carolyn. With scripture-based vision, we have better clarity and focus on the world. We discover it was no accident Ruth is gleaning in her kinsmen-redeemer’s field. God opens doors and closes others, and this was no exception. We see how He forms a Blessed Alliance between His children: a wounded soldier, a fresh recruit and a man of valor are all brought together, explains Carolyn. Naomi’s message moves from despair into hope, just as the sinner’s heart moves from shame into grace. A Redeemer has entered the story of your life.

Prayer Requests

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

  • Hesed is the gospel lived out.
  • Hesed is something you do more than something you think or feel.
  • Prosperity tends to dull our senses to the presence of God’s hesed in our lives.
  • God’s hesed is non-negotiable.
  • God never stops loving His child.
  • We aren’t spectators to what God is doing in this world, but participants.

For Next Week

Group Discussion- Answer one question or as many as you like

  1. Why is it sometimes difficult for you to believe God is overflowing in hesed? (page 123 )
  2. How does Jesus assure you of God’s love, even when your life is full of trouble? (page 123 )
  3. Describe a situation in your life that you would say is a “God thing.” (page 137 )
  4. Share a favorite moment from this week’s study.

Author Christine Abraham

Founder and Ministry Director of the Womens Bible Cafe™ since 2009, Christine has led 60+ online Bible Studies for women. She completed a Graduate of Biblical Studies from Liberty University. She’s an inspired writer, Amazon Top Reviewer and Blogger Follow on Facebook

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Join the discussion 12 Comments

  • Susan says:

    1.Why is it sometimes difficult for you to believe God is overflowing in hesed? (page 123 ) I sometimes get wrapped up and focus on troubles instead of focusing on God’s goodness.
    2.How does Jesus assure you of God’s love, even when your life is full of trouble? (page 123 ) Jesus is always with me in good times and bad. I’m reassured of God’s love in many ways – by slowing down and seeing his workmanship in a rose or a sunset and know that he wanted me to notice and thank him for these gifts he has given us, through devotionals, bible studies and music.
    3.Describe a situation in your life that you would say is a “God thing.” (page 137 ) Finding this site. When I first found it I thought I had stumbled upon it. Silly girl.
    4.Share a favorite moment from this week’s study. “God is building a history with his daughter that will fortify her confidence in him and make her wise for the task ahead.” This really spoke to me

  • Laura says:

    1.Why is it sometimes difficult for you to believe God is overflowing in hesed? (page 123 ) When we endured times of severe trial, or experience a deep emptiness, prayer long unanswered, it can be difficult to reconcile God’s hesed love and heartache together.
    2.How does Jesus assure you of God’s love, even when your life is full of trouble? (page 123 ) Having His word as my Abba Father’s love letter to me from Genesis to Revelation filled with His promises, I see God is faithful to all his promises. I have also found Him to be absolutely faithful through my times of trial and knowing His promises, experiencing His faithfulness steadies me. Even when I am still in the midst of the storm, I know He is with me, guiding me and strengthening me.
    3.Describe a situation in your life that you would say is a “God thing.” (page 137 ) Oh my goodness – to answer the biggest God thing in my life is to explain how I got my kidney and it is a long story. The short version is that I was supposed to be leaving to celebrate the 50th birthday of a dear friend from Bible study who was donating her kidney to me. The night before we were leaving, one of the ladies called me and told me she felt God telling her I shouldn’t go. I was at first horrified by the thought of not going away on the girls weekend to celebrate my friend’s birthday when she was giving me a kidney, but I agreed to pray about it. Twice from two different sources I got the verse, “Be still and know that I am God” and called me friend tearfully telling her I couldn’t go. The next day at 12:30 PM, I got a call that there was a deceased donor kidney from a 15 year old that was a match for me. Had I ignored the promptings of God to be still and stayed home, I would have been too far away and missed the window to get this kidney. My dear friend was also spared surgery to donate her kidney to me. It was nothing short of a “God thing” that I stayed home and got this wonderful gift of life.
    4.Share a favorite moment from this week’s study.
    Pages 132-133 really touched me as Carolyn writes, “in suffering we enter the depths; we are at the heart of things; we are near to where Christ was on the cross….Without knowing suffering and confusion firsthand, we’re stuck in the superficial and we cannot know, much less express, the heart of Christ for others.” I know in my life that has proven to be true. I have learned much more about God and His love and mercy in the dark places that I ever would have if life were all a bed of roses. I know my spiritual roots have grown deepest through the most difficult periods in life. If God came to me and offered the chance to turn back the hands of time and have kidney disease removed from my life and lost the blessings that have come out of it, or keep it knowing I would end up in kidney failure and need a transplant, without hesitation I would ask God to keep it and with it the blessings God has sown into my life through the valley experiences. God is SO good ALL the time! Praise Him!

    • Christine says:

      Now that’s a “God thing!” Thank you for being a witness to His miracle in your life.

      • Laura says:

        The greater miracle and God thing through this is that I got to meet and witness to my donor’s mother, grandmother and met a multitude of other relatives of his. To God be the glory. Being able to bring others into His kingdom through my kidney disease makes it all much more than worthwhile. One precious sister in Christ I met in the hospital, led her to the Lord and not too long after that she went to be with the Lord. If only for her soul, I would take this kidney disease on again without hesitation.

  • Sue Alice says:

    1. Why is it sometimes diffcult for you to believe God is overflowing in hessed? When i am going through tought times and cannot find a way out of them. God is so far away from at these times, and I might have sometime to do with I don’t Let go and Let God do his thing.

    2. How does Jesus assure you of God’s love, even when youe life is full of trouble? That He will not give us any more than we can bear.

    3. Describe a situation in your life that you would say is a “God thing”. When God keeps telling me to call someone and talk to her…….He just will not let me off the hook or bugging me until I do as He asks. Turns out she needed to talk to me and lost my number. Praise God. It alsoo turnned out I needed to talk with her. We serve one awsome God.

    4. Hessed and the Milkman.

  • Teresa says:

    1. Why is it sometimes difficult for you to believe God is overflowing in hesed? (page 123 )
    Because when circumstances are very bad, and you ask God repeatedly for help, and no help comes, you start wondering WHERE is this overflowing lovingkindness of God’s. He’s got it, I’m asking, but I’m not getting! Faith in God’s hesed towards me has to be based on His Word and His revealed character through His Word. The thing is that sometimes we have to wait (in the midst of trouble) on God’s timing and sometimes we have to trust that He is working all things together for our good even when we don’t see it ourselves.

    2. How does Jesus assure you of God’s love, even when your life is full of trouble? (page 123 )
    He speaks comfort to me, sometimes through His Word, sometimes through other people, sometimes in dreams, or through books. And there is always some good, even when life is full of all kinds of trouble, that I can focus on.

    3. Describe a situation in your life that you would say is a “God thing.” (page 137 )
    The way all my various studies of the Scripture are starting to converge right now. All the different pieces are beginning to come together in a way that is amazing to me. Sometimes I feel like God is standing in a corner of the room laughing and delighting in my amazement.

    4. Share a favorite moment from this week’s study.
    “Without knowing suffering and confusion firsthand, we’re stuck in the superficial and we cannot know, much less express, the heart of Christ for others.” “your most effective ministry will come out of your deepest hurts.”

    • Christine says:

      We also need to remember that Naomi was angry at God, and he did not punish her for her anger. He made her wait as he put his plan into action.

      God delights in us. 🙂

  • Rhonda says:

    Why is it sometimes difficult for you to believe God is overflowing in hesed? (page 123 )
    I think when we look around and see those who are not trying to follow God and live their lives as with only regards to themselves prospering and doing well while we constantly struggle and seem to take two step backwards with every step forward can lose sight of the fact God is with us always. We fail to feel His presence in these troubles and often only recognize it after times are better and we realize how much things could have been. It is so easy to just give up and go the way of the world to make life less hard and so difficult at times to keep the next life in mind rather than this one.

    How does Jesus assure you of God’s love, even when your life is full of trouble? (page 123 )
    He tells us he will never forsake us and we have to learn to live on faith not on what we see. This is not easy but so worthwhile if we can maintain.

    Describe a situation in your life that you would say is a “God thing.” (page 137 )
    When I become discouraged and feel like throwing in the towel, He makes sure to make HIs presence known. Sometimes I have often seemed to dare Him to show me He is in control. Not so much as a power thing, but as “Yes, Rhonda I am still here. Everything will be ok” thing.

    Share a favorite moment from this week’s study.
    I like the way that Naomi is compared to Job. I had never realy though tof her this way, but can see the similarities now, and feel like this is a great way to share her experience of keeping on when you can not see the light at the end of the tunnel.

  • Joni says:

    1.Why is it sometimes difficult for you to believe God is overflowing in hesed? (page 123 )
    When I try to take control of things and not put my trust in Him.

    2.How does Jesus assure you of God’s love, even when your life is full of trouble? (page 123 )
    He died for me, and has gone to the trouble before me and has already taken care of it.

    3.Describe a situation in your life that you would say is a “God thing.” (page 137 )
    Sending my book to a publisher because that little voice (I call God) kept telling me to do so. I did to prove to myself that the little voice was in me and not God speaking to me. My book was published, and the publisher I picked happened to be a Christian one.

    4.Share a favorite moment from this week’s study.
    I liked Hesed and the Milkman. I could hear the clinking and it reminded me of my family–the milkmen all gone now, but little miracles like mentioning that in a book, made me remember them and smile.

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