Bible Study Notes (11-30-08)

by

FrieNdShip

 

“A man of many companions may come to ruin,

but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

Proverbs 18:24

NAOMI AND RUTH

Now, ladies, I haven’t forgotten you. God gave us a beautiful example of holding all things in common in the true friendship of the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship between Naomi and Ruth. Naomi was married; her and her husband had two sons. A famine struck Israel so the family moved to Moab. While there, Naomi’s husband died. Naomi, though a widow in a foreign land, took care of her two boys who each got married to a woman of that country Orpah and Ruth. Ten years later, both sons died. Not a happy way to start a story. So, Naomi hears that the famine has lifted. She tells her two daughters-in-law that she’s going back to Israel to try and make do there and urges them to go back to their own mothers and start life over. They resist, “lifted up their voices and wept,” (the text says) wanting to return with her to Israel. Now, the whole mother-in-law vs. daughter-in-law thing obviously does not stem from this text! I’m certain many a daughter-in-law would lift up her voice and weep if mother-in-law stayed! Humorous way to show Naomi’s kindness aside, Naomi laments, “Look at me, I’m old, wrinkly, droopy. No man is going to make me his wife and my biological clocked stopped ticking ages ago. Even if I were to have sons, by the time they were old enough to marry, you would be as old as I am now. Go back, my daughters. Find a nice Moabite gentleman, have some kids, move on.” Again the daughters-in-law have a scene. Orpah kisses Naomi, and returns. Ruth, stays fast. Naomi looks at her,  (Ruth 1:15-17) “And she said, ‘See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.’ But Ruth said, ‘Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.’” Naomi sees nothing, NOTHING that she has to offer Ruth other than some third-rate life in Israel. Ruth, sees not only a mother-in-law, but a friend, who has a God (note Ruth used the covenant name, YHWH in referring to the Lord) and based on Naomi, what’s she knows of Israel. That God… she loves. If she goes back, she has Naomi, the LORD, and that’s enough. A true friendship is that way, even when one has nothing (or thinks it) there’s so much still there. In such a true friendship everything is held in common. A cycle of love starts that never ends. I’ve been sick recently, as you know, and I didn’t have health, other people used their health (and car, in one case) to show that true friendship. I’ve have cash (er… well… plastic) when other’s hadn’t. I used it to help them. True friendship says, “What I have is yours.” It could be time (just hanging out with someone playing a game of Scrabble or bowling or praying), it could be financial (picking up the tab or a gift card to a grocery store), it could be physical (holding a hand), it could be anything! Now, let me briefly explain what happens to Ruth and Naomi. They go back. It is harvest time and Naomi has a distant relative on her belated husband’s side who has a farm. Ruth, knowing Naomi is too old to work on a farm, goes and does so herself and she goes to work. And she works, and works, and works, and works, and works, and works, and works. This catches the eye of the son of that distant in-law. He inquires about her and finds she’s Naomi’s daughter-in-law. He makes some provision for her. Sees to it she has food, etc. Eventually (I’m cutting out A LOT here, so ladies, if you want a good romance story, read Ruth), the two get married. They have kids. The kids have kids. And the kid of one of those kids? His name was David. Generations later, a guy names Jesus. What did Naomi have for Ruth and vice versa? What do you have for your friends?

LESSON: True friendship is symbiotic. All things are held in common.

 

 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

·         What gives you the most joy to give? To receive? (Example: Material goods, time with a friend, physical touch, kind words, etc.)

 

·         Read Acts 2:42-47. Explain the impact the way we treat each other has on the Gospel.

 

·         Should we treat unbelievers differently? Why or why not?

 

·         Read 2 Corinthians 9:5-15.  Paul writes this in the context of the church in Corinth giving to the church in Jerusalem. Explain the principles we can find in here for giving to our friends whom we have not yet met.

 

 

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