Ecclesiastes 4:10 CSB – If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.

1. A Rough Way to Start a Friendship

Ruth 1:1-2 CSB – During the time of the judges, there was a famine in the land. A man left Bethlehem in Judah with his wife and two sons to stay in the territory of Moab for awhile.  The man’s name was Elimelech, and his wife’s name was Naomi. The names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion.

Ruth 1:4 CSB – Her sons took Moabite women as their wives: one was named Orpah and the second was named Ruth. After they lived in Moab about ten years,

Ruth 1:5 CSB – both Mahlon and Chilion also died, and the woman was left without her two children and without her husband.

Ruth 1:14-15a CSB – Again they wept loudly, and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. Naomi said, “Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods. Follow your sister-in-law.”

Read Ruth 1:16-17 CSB – But Ruth replied:
Don’t plead with me to abandon you
or to return and not follow you.
For wherever you go, I will go,
and wherever you live, I will live;
your people will be my people,
and your God will be my God.
17  Where you die, I will die,
and there I will be buried.
May the Lord punish me,
and do so severely,
if anything but death separates you and me.

2. A Bitter Return Home

Ruth 1:19-21 CSB – When they entered Bethlehem, the whole town was excited about their arrival and the local women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?” 20  “Don’t call me Naomi. Call me Mara,” she answered, “for the Almighty has made me very
bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty

Lesson: Faithful friends love at all times, joyful & bitter

Proverbs 17:17 CSB – A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a difficult time.

Ruth 2:3 CSB – So Ruth left and entered the field to gather grain behind the harvesters. She happened to be in the portion of the field belonging to Boaz, who was from Elimelech’s family.

Romans 8:28 CSB – We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

God’s wonderful works which happen daily are lightly esteemed, not because they are of no import but because they happen so constantly and without interruption. Man is used to the miracle that God rules the world and upholds all creation, and because things daily run their appointed course, it seems insignificant, and no man thinks it worth his while to meditate upon it and to regard it as God’s wonderful work, and yet it is a greater wonder than that Christ fed five thousand men with five loaves and made wine from water. – Martin Luther

Introducing Boaz (aka, “Big Bad”)

Ruth 2:5 CSB – Boaz asked his servant who was in charge of the harvesters, “Whose young woman is this?”

Ruth 2:8-10 CSB – Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Listen, my daughter. Don’t go and gather grain in another field, and don’t leave this one, but stay here close to my female servants.  See which field they are harvesting, and follow them. Haven’t I ordered the young men not to touch you? When you are thirsty, go and drink from the jars the young men have filled.” She fell facedown, bowed to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor with you, so that you notice me, although I am a foreigner?”

11ff – Boaz says, I’ve heard how kind you’ve been to Naomi, my relative. I appreciate your faithfulness.

Ruth 2:14-16 CSB – At mealtime Boaz told her, “Come over here and have some bread and dip it in the vinegar sauce.” So she sat beside the harvesters, and he offered her roasted grain. She ate and was satisfied and had some left over. When she got up to gather grain, Boaz ordered his young men, “Let her even gather grain among the bundles, and don’t humiliate her. Pull out some stalks from the bundles for her and leave them for her to gather. Don’t rebuke her.”

Lesson: True friends want God’s best for their friends– even at a personal cost.

Ruth 2:22 CSB – “My daughter, it is good for you to work with his female servants, so that nothing will happen to you in another field.”

Naomi Plays Cupid

Ruth 3:1 CSB – “Naomi said to her, “My daughter, shouldn’t I find rest for you, so that you will betaken care of? Now isn’t Boaz our relative?

Ruth 3:2c-5 CSB – This evening he will be winnowing barley on the threshing floor.  3  Wash, put on perfumed oil, and wear your best clothes. Go down to the threshing floor, but don’t let the man know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking.  4  When he lies down, notice the place where he’s lying, go in and uncover his feet, and lie down. Then he will explain to you what you should do.”

Ruth 3:11b CSB – …all the people in my town know that you are a woman of noble character.

Ruth 3:5 CSB – So Ruth said to her, “I will do everything you say.”

Lesson: Good friends listen to Godly counsel from Godly friends

Proverbs 15:22 CSB – Plans fail when there is no counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.

Ruth Heeds Naomi’s Wisdom

Ruth 3:7-9 CSB – After Boaz ate, drank, and was in good spirits, he went to lie down at the end of the pile of barley, and she came secretly, uncovered his feet, and lay down.  At midnight, Boaz was startled, turned over, and there lying at his feet was a woman! So he asked, “Who are you?”
“I am Ruth, your servant,” she replied. “Take me under your wing, for you are a family redeemer.”

Ruth 3:10 CSB – [Boaz replies] “May the Lord bless you, my daughter.
You have shown more kindness now than before, because you have not pursued younger
men, whether rich or poor.

Ruth 3:12-13 CSB – Yes, it is true that I am a family redeemer, but there is a redeemer closer than I am.  Stay here tonight, and in the morning, if he wants to redeem you, that’s good. Let him redeem you. But if he doesn’t want to redeem you, as the Lord lives, I will. Now lie down until morning.”

Ruth 3:14 CSB – So she lay down at his feet until morning but got up while it was still dark. Then Boaz said, “Don’t let it be known that a woman came to the threshing floor.”

Ruth 3:16 CSB – She went to her mother-in-law, Naomi, who asked her, “What happened, my daughter?” Then Ruth told her everything the man had done for her.

Ruth 3:18 CSB – Naomi said, “My daughter, wait until you find out how things go, for he won’t rest unless he resolves this today.”

Ruth 4:3-4 CSB – Naomi…. is selling the portion of the field that belonged to our brother Elimelech. I thought I should inform you: Buy it back in the presence of those seated here and in the presence of the elders of my people. If you want to redeem it, do it. But if you do not want to redeem it…

Ruth 4:5 CSB – Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the field from Naomi, you will acquire Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the deceased man, to perpetuate the man’s name on his property.” The redeemer replied, “I can’t redeem it myself, or I will ruin my own inheritance. Take my right of redemption, because I can’t redeem it.”

Ruth 4:7-8 CSB – At an earlier period in Israel, a man removed his sandal and gave it to the other party in order to make any matter legally binding concerning the right of redemption or the exchange of property. This was the method of legally binding a transaction in Israel. So the redeemer removed his sandal and said to Boaz, “Buy back the property yourself.”

Ruth 4:13-15 CSB – Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. He slept with her, and the Lord granted conception to her, and she gave birth to a son. The women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you without a family redeemer today. May his name become well known in Israel. He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. Indeed, your daughter-in-law, who loves you and is better to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.”

Lesson: Faithful friends rejoice when their friends rejoice

Ruth 4:16-17 CSB – Naomi took the child, placed him on her lap, and became a mother to him.
The neighbor women said, “A son has been born to Naomi,” and they named him Obed. He
was the father of Jesse, the father of David.

Ephesians 2:12-13 CSB – At that time you were without Christ, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of promise, without hope and without God in the world.  But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

1 John 3:1 CSB – See what great love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children—and we are!