Ruth: Woman of Loyalty

Optional Start-Off Game: “Do You Love Your Neighbor?” Everyone get in a circle and sit down. The object of the game is to have someone in the middle who walks up to a person seated in the circle. They ask the question, “Do you love your neighbor?” That person then has two choices. They can say “no” in which case the person sitting at their right and left have to get up and exchange seats before the person in the middle steals one of their spots. Or, the person asked can say, “yes, but I donʼt love people who ___________________.  Filling in the blank should be some characteristic like, “wear tennis shoes,” “have brown hair,” or “are boys.” If the seated person says something like that, then everyone in the circle who meets those criteria has to get up and switch seats. Meanwhile, the person in the middle has to steal a spot, leaving someone else standing. Whoever is left then has to go and ask someone the same question, “Do you love your neighbor,” starting the game all over again. We all have our likes and dislikes when it comes to people. Hopefully you donʼt pick your friends based on shallow things like shoes or hair color. But letʼs talk about that for a minute. 1. What really makes a good friend a good friend? 2. How many really good friends would you say you had? 3. What separates an acquaintance from someone who you really consider a friend? 4. How good of a friend do you think you are to others? One of the things we all mentioned about friendship is loyalty. We want to be close to people who are loyal, trustworthy, and dependable.  Today, weʼre going to look at a woman who was very loyal to her family, even when she didnʼt have to be, and consider how the Bible calls us to demonstrate that same attitude today in our friendships. In The woman weʼre going to be studying is Ruth. Turn to Ruth in your Bible. Ruth 1 - Naomi, Ruth, and Orpah are faced with the tough decision of what to do when each of their spouses die. Returning home, Naomi begs her two daughters-in-law to leave her. Orpah eventually does. Ruth clings to Naomi, refusing to leave her side. They return to Naomiʼs home, Bethlehem, just in time for harvest. Ruth 2 - Ruth picks up scraps in Boazʼs field. Boaz begins to notice Ruth and watch out for her. Naomi learns that Boaz is watching after Ruth. Boaz is a relative of Naomiʼs and so Naomi instructs Ruth to stay close to him as he can redeem them and help them. Ruth 3 - Ruth approaches Boaz (in an awkward way by todayʼs standards, but it was customary back then) and he blesses her. He gives her food for she and Naomi and promises to redeem her if the closer relative will not. Ruth 4 - Boaz talks to the closer relative who cannot redeem Ruth. Boaz redeems Ruth and the land of Elimelech. Boaz and Ruth are married. We learn that Ruth is the great-grandmother of King David, and an ancestor of Christ. This can be a confusing book when you get into the customs of the time. But in short, you have a loyal woman who refuses to leave her mother-in-law and, as a result, great good comes of it. I want to look again at the loyalty that Ruth displays. Ruth 1:16-17 1. How many of you have ever had to move from a place you knew to a place you had never been? What was it like? How did you feel? 2. Thatʼs what Ruth is going through! How hard do you think this was for her? 3. Why do you think Ruth says what she says? Whatever the reason, Ruth demonstrates great loyalty to Naomi in coming with her to Bethlehem, even though she is from Moab. (A Bible map could help students here to understand how far and in what direction the women are traveling.)

Ruth: Woman of Loyalty
It is unusual to see that kind of loyalty today, isnʼt it? What weʼre going to do with the rest of our time is focus in on that idea of loyalty. There are a ton of applications that could be made with the rich meaning within Ruth, but weʼll have to wait and study the whole book in depth another time. We started today with talking about friendship. All of you mentioned loyalty, in one way or another, as a trait that you really valued. The question for today is, “How loyal are you?” Not just to your friends: how loyal are you to your family, people you donʼt know, to God? Loyalty is a highly valued characteristic, and yet we seldom consider how loyal we are. How Loyal Are You? 1.  When a friend asks me to keep a secret, I…  a.  keep my mouth shut, I promised!  b.  might let it slip a little, but no harm done.  c.  become a blabbermouth to everyone I see. 2.  When I tell my parents Iʼm going to have dinner at home, I…  a.  ditch them to hang out with my friends  b.  stay at home and have family dinner  c.  eat with them but pout the whole time 3.  When a friend has a problem they know  a.  they can talk to me about anything  b.  can talk all they want but Iʼm not the best at listening  c.  are better off going to someone else 4.  When someone passes along some juicy gossip about someone I know I...  a.  pass it on—such knowledge should be shared!  b.  go to that person and ask them if itʼs true  c.  keep it to myself and stop the chain of gossip 5.  When I commit to someone I  a.  bail if something better comes along  b.  keep my commitment no matter what  c.  consider whatʼs best for me before I follow through 6.  If my friend betrayed me I would  a.  be really sad and hurt at their disloyalty  b.  not care  c.  get them back whatever it took 7.  I gossip  a.  sometimes  b.  all the time  c.  never   Disloyalty, more than loyalty, is practiced by a lot of us.  We can do this a variety of ways, but often itʼs through betraying people—with actions or words.  Consider what these passages of scriptures say about gossip in particular: Read • Proverbs 11:13 • Proverbs 20:19 • 2 Corinthians 12:20

1. What do you think causes us to want to hurt people with words? 2. How much is gossip a part of your life? 3. How is gossip the opposite of loyalty?

Ruth: Woman of Loyalty
Unfortunately, gossip is a big part of a lot of our lives. We might not gossip about our friends, but remember that we shouldnʼt only be loyal to people we are close to.  God calls us to love and be loyal to strangers, too. Remember the story of the Good Samaritan? We should be committed to people because they have value to God, not only if they have value to us.

1. Do you think you have the loyalty of Ruth? In what ways? 2. In what ways do you not? 3. How can you become a more loyal person in the words you choose? 4. How can you become a more loyal person in your actions? This Weeks Verse "A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret." Proverbs 11:13 Some of you may have some real guilt hanging over you right now about mean things youʼve said or did. To be Godly and loyal, like Ruth, maybe the first step is to ask people who weʼve wronged for forgiveness. We also need to ask God.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful