Gospel of Ruth Bible Study Week 2

By September 11, 2011Ruth- Gospel of

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.

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

  • 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

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

  1. Have you ever experienced a Job moment where you questioned God? What happened.
  2. How do our beliefs about God influence how we see our struggles?
  3. What defines a woman”s value before God? How is this different from how the world views women?
  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 23 Comments

  • Autumn says:

    A favorite moment from this weeks bible study

    I have been so excited and encouraged by the little that we’ve already read of the book. I was talking to my mom about this study and she and I had amazing conversation. She is someone who has walked a lot of what Ruth has, and has her own Godly wisdom to bring to my inexperienced table.
    We ended up talking for two hours about this study alone and the invaluable emphasis taht God does place in women. It isn’t a new theme that he uses the most unlikely to do monumental kingdom work.This study gave me time with my mother that I cherish, and extra encouragement during a week I was feeling slightly down trodden.

  • Lita says:

    This is the second time this year I have been directed to a study of Ruth. The first time I passively read the small book and set it aside. This time I thought, maybe God was speaking to me. Just this short time I know He is speaking to me. I’ve been a widow for 22 years, raised 2 children (1 was already grown), and survived a world I didn’t think I was prepared to deal with. But He has provided a blessed family, a good job, and a comfortable life-style and a church family to support me in those times when it seems all is hopeless. I’ve lost several friends, my best friend, and husband to cancer. I have questioned God in all these cases. But somehow He continues to provide all I need and fill those losses with more good people. God has been the bright light that I continue to walk to during all this time. I have seen His wisdom in the choices I have made.

  • Michelle says:

    Have you ever had a job moment where you questioned God? YES.. several.. when my dad was diagnosed with cancer and in the hospital we were called and told that he only had one week, I cried out, ‘ No.. I ‘m not ready” God gave me one week to rekindle what years had kept apart.. a relationship with my dad.. time to share laughter, tears, or just comfortable silence that didn’t come from resentment but from joy. I questioned why God would give me a week then take him from me.. I later found out that there was no earthly cure for him and that I would see him again one day for all eternity and then I would have all the time in the world to rekindle that time with my dad… another time came when my mom, a paraplegic, had lots of health issues going on.. i prayed that God would heal her body but then when she passed i questioned why God didn’t answer my prayer.. coming home from church one night while having a tear party I had to pull off the road. God revealed to me then that He had aswered my praye.. yet again.. he had given my mother the ‘ultimate’ healing.. See he knew there was no cure for her body here.
    My belief in God has given me a new insight on finding peace in teh middle of my storms and knowing that He is taking ‘care’ in all arenas of my life!!! I know that All things work together for the good to those who love God. Romans 8:28 He gives perfect purpose to all things!.

  • Cathie says:

    Minutes after delivery of my 2nd child, I had my first Job experience and I learned what it was like to wrestle with God. My newborn baby was in trouble. I was allowed to see her briefly in a closed incubator, as she was prepared for transport to another hospital.
    Alone, that night, aching to hold my new baby, I telephoned to check on her. I was told she was in emergency surgery and was given no hope she would survive. I cried and I prayed, but not for God’s will. What if it was His will to take my baby?

    She survived the surgery, only to stop breathing. Over the next several days it was like a scary roller coaster ride. The scene was repeated over and over. Alarms sounded, and medical staff would work to resuscitate her. I prayed, “Please don’t take my baby. Please let my baby live. Please make my baby well.”
    Day after day, week after week, every medical test seemed to reveal something else wrong with her. I prayed fervently, but still not for God’s will. The medical bills were staggering; quickly, surpassing the cost of our home. Tubes & tape covered her tiny body. Finally, physically and emotionally exhausted, I couldn’t wrestle any longer. Broken, I prayed, “God she is your baby, do what You will with her.” We didn’t even give her the name we had picked out.

    Doctors told us if she lived she may never be normal. But, now I had peace. And God was giving me strength and hope. Now she was God’s baby. He could do with her whatever He willed, I was going to love her and be the best Mom I could for whatever time I was blessed to have her.

    The doctors were right. She turned out to be anything but normal. When she started school they put her on a 504 plan, but God had put her on His list of miracles. Today, she is a wonderful, Christian Mom; not only to her own children, but also to foster children, some with special needs, some straight from the NICU.

    I wish I could say it was the only Job or Naomi experience in my life, but it hasn’t been. It actually pales in comparison to something I went through later. But, it help make my foundation solid ground. There are times I still wrestle with God, but now I have a deeper level of trust and I know who is going to win.

  • Pam, Louisiana says:

    Have you ever experienced a Job moment where you questioned God? What happened. I had just married and was not raised in the church. My dad died not too long before we were married. But while he was in the hospital in intensive care, I went in to see him and I was desperately praying for GOD not to take him. While I was praying over my daddy, I saw a light shining down on him. All I could do was praise GOD and thank HIM. My dad lived a few weeks longer and the week that he died, I remember asking GOD if he was going to take my daddy this time. Because it seemed that he was just getting worse by the day. GOD answered me and told me yes. He wouldn’t give me the day or time but he did tell me that he would take him and that he would be okay. Our GOD is awesome! Just to know that he cared enough about me to answer a question from someone who is of no importance. But with this study, I am slowing learning that we are very valuable to our wonderful Father.

    Share a favorite moment from this week’s study. I just love the fact that Carolyn points out the crossroads for Ruth. Does she leave everything or risk it for something that she knows nothing about? I just felt this over powering sense that GOD was right there with her cheering her on to take the road with Naomi. I am reminded that GOD is there cheering us on to take his straight and narrow path. I LOVE MY GOD!!!!!!!!

    • Christine says:

      One of my favorite verses:
      Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matt 7:13-14 NIV

  • Lisa says:

    1. Have you experience a Job moment… . I couldn’t think of just one to share, and I felt humbled and put in my place (by God) by some of the struggles shared by others here. God is always so good to remind me that my worries are but fleeting moments in time, they always seem bigger than what they really were. I am in awe by the openness of you ladies here; your comments have truly blessed me already and given me food for thought 🙂

    2. How do our beliefs in God influence how we see our struggles? Hmmm, well I have had Job moments in my life. Moments where I screamed at God, questioned Him, and even questioned his goodness for me. The one thing I have learned is that when I marginalize God in the situation then I lose hope and faith in my future. I dwell on the struggle at present to the point to where my life is consumed by it. However, in those moments when I have seen My God as a Miracle, Sun Stopping, God… those were the moments when peace encompassed me, engulfing me like a warm quilt on a cold winter day. It is hard for me to see God as a BIG SUN STOPPING God in struggles! But I am learning to rely on past experiences to remind me of His amazing powers in times of need. Choosing to see my God as faithful to me, gives me hope and endurance during though times.

    • Christine says:

      I remember having a frustrating moment with God and screaming “WHY?” It felt good to let my feelings out and once I became aware of them, Jesus was able to heal them. We can’t heal what we do not acknowledge. After my temper tantum, God helped me correct the situation and it was even better than before. LOL, the person He sent to help me was named “Christian” and I knew I was in good hands for this situation. 🙂

      • Lisa says:

        “We can not heal what we do not acknowledge… amen to that! I have found the first step to healing and peace is to stop and face whatever is chasing me.

    • Michelle says:

      Letting it go and letting God take care of things is the hardest thing I ever have to do, sometimes harder than others. Not long after postingmy intial comment I wanted to let you now I got a phone call that our insurence company considers my daughters ear doctor as in network 100% covered. I was so relieved to hear that, that was definately not expecting that one, i now now that if I try to keep looking for a doctor around here that will listen I will be happy but if not i can travel out of state to have this procedure done as well, this news for me has taken some pressure and worry off my plate.

      • Lisa says:

        Michelle- Yeah! God is sooooo good! What a blessing! I know Dr issues, to long of a story to post here, but I will pray for you to find one that will listen and will work with you to find what you and your daughter need for her ears.

  • Michelle says:

    Have you ever experienced a Job moment where you questioned God? What happened. My Job moment has been with my daughter and our struggle to have her ears fixed. She has had many surgeries on her ears and that has been heartbreaking. We have had our share of bad doctors and bad results and while crying and questioning God and why does he want her to suffer God opened a door and we wee blessed with a wonderful doctor who fixed my daughters problems. Here are we are several years later and we have moved out of state and we are faced with yet another surgery and seeing a doctor who I question and so our journey begins to find a doctor who will listen to us and study her case so that she will not have to under go any uncessary surgeries. The frustration and stress at times is overwhelming. While we can never say we know how Job feels only Job can tell us that. We live in different times now where society dictates how we think and act. My big question though that I always ask myself is, what is Gods plan for my daughter and and how will God use this life experience when she is older, how will it mold her.

  • Penny says:

    1.Have you ever experienced a Job moment where you questioned God? What happened. I am sure I have had many of these Job moments in my life. My granson fell under my care when he was three years old and had a blood clot on his brain. Sixteen years later at the age of 19 he underweint brain surgery for a tumor. Today he is being watched continually for any changes. I have blamed myself for this for a very long time. I should have been his protedtor and I could not catch him. Just as God eventually blessed Job and Naomi God has blessed me and given us miracles for him. I felt my life had been ripped from me during all this.
    4.Share a favorite moment from this week’s study. I could visually see Ruth as she hugged Naomi and told her she was going with her I love the part about there being a cross mark on the road Where Ruth and Naomi stood together.

  • Kathy says:

    1. Have you ever experienced a Job moment where you questioned God? What happened. Oh, I’ve had several. The biggest was probably when my dad was dying of pancreatic cancer. He was obviously suffering and I remember driving home one night, crying and yelling at God because I could see no reason for God not to take him. My dad was a wonderful man and I told God that he didn’t deserve to have to go through the suffering. And, as always, God’s plan is perfect. Dad lived for about one more week and died very early in the morning on his and my mother’s 48th anniversary.
    2. How do our beliefs about God influence how we see our struggles? Like everyone, I don’t like to struggle and I can whine and pout with the best of them. But… I have a bracelet that has Jeremiah 29:11 written on it, and I know that He truly does have a plan for me and that it will NOT harm me. I just have to wait it out while trusting in Him.
    3. What defines a woman”s value before God? How is this different from how the world views women? A woman’s value before God is priceless because we are His image bearers. We are all daughters of the King. The world however, defines and values us in accordance with the views of society. In the US that would tend to be according to our visible success.

  • Vickie says:

    Have you ever experienced a Job moment where you questioned God? What happened.
    A few years ago, both of my parents became ill, and passed away in less than 2 years. We were still grieving my father’s death when we received the diagnosis of my mother’s brain cancer. They were only 69 and 70 when they died. The more I prayed for their healing, the worse the news would be at each doctor appointment. I did think that my prayers were not heard or effective. Many times I have heard pastors say that we must end our prayers with “if it is Your will.” This makes me think sometimes that our prayers don’t matter, because what will happen is what God determines to happen, and we have no say. This is a real struggle for me. Knowing that my parents’ faith was strong helped me through that time. My father yearned for Heaven, and my mother wanted to be reunited with my father. I needed to remember that God did not promise that we would live in our earthly bodies forever. Also remembering that God’s word says we take our character with us to Heaven helps me when I think about how they are still the Mom and Dad I know, just enjoying their reward.

  • Teresa says:

    1. Have you ever experienced a Job moment where you questioned God? What happened?
    I am in the middle of a Job season in my life. My husband is becoming more disabled every day as a rare, neurological disease attacks his body. His condition over the last 3 years since diagnosis has progressively deteriorated. Somehow he is still working, but we are just months away from long-term disability. He actually told a friend who was visiting him this weekend that he only had about 3 more years to live which is true according to the medical info, although we never discuss it. It struck me today as I was reading about Naomi that I would be very much like her in a few years except with 2 teenage boys to care for. I have questioned God a lot in the last 3 years, but I have finally come to a place of knowing that even though I can’t see how, God is going to take care of us. I alternate between being terrified, angry, hopeless, faith-filled, trusting. It has been (and still is) a roller-coaster ride as I fight the enemy’s attempts to make me afraid and doubt my loving God. I fight back with the sword of the Spirit, quoting Bible verses I have memorized and doing Bible studies to understand God’s ways better. He is who He says He is (I cling to that truth) and therefore, I have nothing to fear. His Love endures forever.

  • Laura says:

    1.Have you ever experienced a Job moment where you questioned God? What happened. Yes. For a long time as I pleaded with God, it felt like He was silent. It wasn’t until I had surrendered my pride and yield to God’s will that I finally got to the point where I could see His hand more clearly.
    2.How do our beliefs about God influence how we see our struggles? If our belief about God isn’t based on who He says He is, faulty beliefs can cause us to question God, lose our hope or shake our faith when circumstances get hard. On the other hand, if we believe nothing can come into our lives that doesn’t pass through God’s hands first, and that He will use for good according to His purposes, we can see challenging circumstances through the filter of Mighty Yaweh. He is the all sufficient One no matter what we are facing. The promises of God are all Yes in Christ.
    3.What defines a woman”s value before God? How is this different from how the world views women? We are His image bearer; created in God’s image and likeness so our value is based on how well we reflect the Lord to those in our sphere of influence. We are to be Jesus hands and feet, Jesus with skin on to those around us. The world has a different standard for women’s values. The world today, at least in the USA seems to value a woman as someone who does it all, and does it all well. By the world’s standard, a successful woman is one who works, manages her home and family, has a hot meal on the table for dinner, runs the taxi service for the kids, who of course also are excelling in school and sports/extracurricular activities all while looking like she is 25 years old no matter her actual age.
    4.Share a favorite moment from this week’s study.
    Page 52 Carolyn writes, “Ruth is a pwerful reminder that the most important thing is all of life – the purpose for which we were all created- is to know the God who made us and to walk, through life as His child, no matter what it costs us. Even when we are standing at ground zero0when we are hurting, God is silent, and our suffering makes no sense0 we have no other place to go.” I would add that when we get to that place were we are at the complete end of ourselves and there is absolutely nothing at all we can do in our own strength and power except to pray, we have arrived at the best place we could be.

  • Susan says:

    1.Have you ever experienced a Job moment where you questioned God? What happened. I questioned God during my mother’s illness (ovarian cancer) . I did not understand why she developed the disease or why she had to suffer as she did. I did not understand why she would not be here to watch her only grand daughter grow up. I was angry and hurt but was also thankful that God took her when he did.
    2.How do our beliefs about God influence how we see our struggles? Tragedy can test your faith. If we try to handle losses ourselves we can lose our faith. I’ve heard the argument that if your faith was strong enough you would be able to handle any personal loss or struggle. I somewhat agree with this but also know how some situations can pull our legs out from under us. I’m working towards seeking God at the beginning of the struggle. I often try to analyze, rationalize or even resolve the issue myself before asking for God’s guidance but through his guidance I’m improving in this area.
    3.What defines a woman”s value before God? How is this different from how the world views women? Women are God’s image bearers. I had never heard of this before this study. I knew there were women disciples and knew that Jesus valued women. I just had never thought of women as God’s image bearers. Women are insignificant in many places throughout the world. They lose their importance if they are unable to bear children or give birth to a male and as in Vrindavan, less than a human being after losing their husband.
    4.Share a favorite moment from this week’s study. His eye is on the widow and his ear is acutely tuned in to her cries. She is God’s emissary. Any slight of her is a personal affront to God, an insult to his kingdom.

  • Lynne says:

    I’m struggling with a Job moment now. I want to love my mother-in-law as Ruth did Naomi, but she is not a Christ-follower. She has moved in with my husband & myself & is very draining. I have strong feelings of sadness, tiredness, aloneness, bitterness, frustration – you name it – it’s coming in droves. I’m clinging to my God knowing His will is perfect & that His plan is for my good. I’m trying to learn my lessons. My husband is not a Christ-follower either, so I feel like I’m a stranger sojourning in a pagan world. I know I’m their only example at the present which even heaps more stress on my head. I’m trying to give it all to God, but I’m afraid I keep picking it back up every day! Christ will be the victor at the end of the day no matter what happens. I just want to have a Christ-like spirit & joyful countenance as I’m going through this. Any suggestions?

  • Sue Alice says:

    1. Have you ever experienced a Job moment where you question God? What happen. I questioned God over the lost of my home, job, and my husband’s health. He found us a new home in another city and my health is still about the same. I needed to learn to wait upon the Lord and not question Him so much. I have a trust issue and a letting go problem. God is working on both for me and they seem better.

    2. How do our beliefs about God Influence how we see our struggles? Our feeling rule our hearts most of the time and if everything is going hunky-dory we are are happy with our beliefs and love God, If things are going wrong we blame God for it and forget all of our beliefs and our love for God.

    3. What defines a women’s value before God? Her faith and love for Him, and the way she treats those around her. How is it different from how the world views women? We are just there to do laundry, clean house and wait on people. In some parts of the world we are no better that cattle. I am so happy that God see just in a different light aren’t you?

    4. Share a favorite moment from this week study. That God values me and that He chose me to do His work on this earth.

  • Angie says:

    How do our beliefs about God influence how we see our struggles?

    I can really relate to this question because I am a chronic worrier. I used to be in this constant state of worry, to the point that my muscles were always tense and I was getting sick constantly. Then, I learned two very important characteristics about God: 1) He provides rest (Psalm 23, 1 Peter 5:7, John 14:27) and 2) God is much, much bigger than our problems (Romans 11:33; Isaiah 40:10). When we perceive God as small, we don’t think he can help us through trials; we actually think that our troubles are bigger than him. Yet, when we read scripture and acknowledge that not only is our Lord BIG, he CARES about our troubles, ALL of them! If we store these scriptures in our hearts and believe in his vast knowledge and power, our struggles are smaller.

  • Rhonda says:

    Have you ever experienced a Job moment where you questioned God? What happened.
    When my son was diagnosed with autism several years ago and then again when my first marriage fell apart, I definately had some Job moments, and I have to be honest and say I did not handle either situation as Job did. I asked “Why me?” off and on for many years. I went through some some grief over both situations. If I have to be honest, some little voice inside me still asks this sometimes, but I am able to immediately still it with prayer now. I have come to see both of these situations as unhappy events that were necessary for me to find the path God had in mind for me, but neither were easy and I will never completely recover from the, but have moved on to the “new normal” that is my life today.

    How do our beliefs about God influence how we see our struggles?
    I think I view both of my life altering situations in a far different light today than I did when they were new and fresh. For one thing, my faith is much stronger than it was then. For another, I have lived with both for a period of time and realized that life DOES go on and you have to make whatever changes are necessary to adjust, particularly when you have children as I did.
    What defines a woman”s value before God? How is this different from how the world views women?
    I believe God has used me to blaze the trail for many people with disabled children in my community. My family, particularly my daughter and I have both chosen careers in the helping field and have been lving testament that love is unconditional. We have taken our responsibilities seriously and will continue to fight for better lives for my son with autism and grandson with Downs Syndrome. God WILL use women if they allow themselves to be guided and put their trust in Him and always remeber He knows what He has chosen for us.
    Share a favorite moment from this week’s study.

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