The book of Ruth is such a great example of friendship and loyalty. Over the next several weeks, we will dive further into the Book of Ruth, studying one chapter each week. This week, we will cover the Ruth Chapter 1 summary and Bible Study questions. We will discuss loyalty vs. obedience and how they are the same and different. This week, discover how loss can change our hearts and mature us in ways we never thought we needed to grow. While very painful, a loss can provide opportunities for growth and a new perspective filled with love and loyalty.
Ruth Chapter 1 Summary
Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.– Ruth 1:3-5
I think we have all experienced loss at some point in our life. Loss is an event that matures our hearts in areas we didn’t know needed growing. When we experience loss in our lives, we face our mortality, and we begin to ask ourselves what matters in this life.
The thing with loss is that it often pushes us toward creating unrealistic expectations within our hearts and minds. We want to value and treasure every moment, and maybe there is a bit of anxiety surrounding the thought that one day, this life, or this person we love so much, will no longer be in our lives. When I look at the loss Naomi experienced, it is beyond what most of us could ever understand. We could at least understand the bitterness that would rise in her heart towards returning home without everyone who was so important to her.
Or the pain and bitterness of losing the dream of having grandchildren one day and the loss of her dreams with her husband as they journeyed to a new land to protect their family from the famine happening back home. Even though Naomi lost so much during her time in a foreign land, she gained a faithful and loyal friend in Ruth.
How Naomi and Ruth Deal with Loss
But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons— would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!”– Ruth 1:11-13
Loss is often permanent. This permanence makes me think about what a great woman Ruth was for being so loyal to Naomi. Naomi had been through so much in this life. However, she had a beautiful daughter-in-law who stayed loyal to her. A friendship full of loyalty and trust is a real treasure. While Naomi did not escape the pain of losing her husband and two sons, God provided for her long before she knew she needed His provision for the future. Naomi had no idea what would happen, but God planted Ruth in Noami’s family for a reason.
But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.– Ruth 1:16-18
Ruth is a beautiful example of what true friendship is. Sometimes, walking with our loved ones or friends through loss will be a winding road that is difficult to maneuver. However, loyalty is vital in every relationship. We can learn what loyalty, friendship, and obedience to God look like through Ruth’s actions toward Naomi.
So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.– Ruth 1:22
Ruth Chapter One Life Application Questions
- Have you experienced a loss in friendship? If so, what is one lesson you’ve learned through that experience that has allowed you to improve your relationships?
- How do you respond in rocky relationships? Do you fight through it or often remove yourself from the situation or relationship?
- Why do you think Ruth stayed with Naomi?
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