Ruth: Becoming a Girl of Loyalty – True Girl Bible Studies
February 2021 • Paperback • 978-0-8024-2222-4
When her friend was in need, Ruth remained loyal.
Ruth was a young woman who lived at a time when people seemed to only care about themselves—not God. And certainly not each other. So imagine how remarkable it was when Ruth gave up everything—her comfort, home, and even hope for a future—to travel to a foreign land to help her friend in need. Though Ruth would have nothing, she went anyway! And as you’ll see, the story turns out pretty amazing. In Ruth: Becoming a Girl of Loyalty, a six-week study, you’ll enter Ruth’s story and learn how you can also become loyal, loving, and godly.
True Girl Bible Studies feature important women from the Bible so that from their examples, we can learn what it looks like to be a True Girl. Each study is designed to help moms lead their daughters deeply into the Word of God so that they can develop a steady love for Scripture. Together, moms and daughters can discover what it means to be a True Girl after God’s own heart.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dannah Gresh is the bestselling author, speaker, and founder of True Girl (formerly Secret Keeper Girl), America’s most popular Christian tween event. She has authored over twenty books that have been translated into twelve languages, including And the Bride Wore White and Lies Girls Believe. Considered one of the leading experts on the subject of sexual theology and parenting tweens and teens, her resources have equipped over one million moms and leaders as they seek to raise their girls in confidence and Truth. Over 400,000 have attended her live events. Dannah is a frequent co-host for Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth’s Revive Our Hearts as well as a popular guest on programs like Focus on the Family and Family Life. She has appeared on CNN, Fox News, and the TEDx stage. She lives on a hobby farm in State College, Pennsylvania, with her husband, Bob, and over twenty animals.
In Ruth’s time, some traditions were very strict. There were two in particular that help us to understand the story of Ruth better.
One tradition was that people were not welcome in places that were not their homelands. If you’re thinking what I’m thinking, it’s this: That’s not very nice!
Everyone was supposed to stay in the place where they came from, and everyone was supposed to marry people from their same hometown. Otherwise, you were a “foreigner.” Guess what happened if you didn’t stick to this tradition? People were not nice to you.
Another tradition was that women were not as important as men. (This is also not very nice, huh?!) In fact, society had rules that women couldn’t do certain things without a man – like own property or make money! For this reason, as a woman, the family you were a part of was very important. A father would provide for his daughter until she was old enough to get married, and then the daughter would get married to make sure her family was taken care of when her father got too old to work. Then the husband would provide for her, and in return, she would have babies and continue the family line!
Naomi knew it was going to be hard for her daughters-in-law in Bethlehem. Not only would some people be unkind to them, but it would be hard to find men willing to marry them. And remember, they couldn’t make money or own land since they were girls!
You know what I think? Naomi knew what it was like to be treated like a foreigner…and it wasn’t good. She was leaving for Moab, which was not her land. And I bet sometimes people were unkind to her there. Naomi loved her daughters-in-law enough to know she didn’t want people to be mean to them or for life to be hard for them. She told Orpah and Ruth to go back to their homeland, where they would be much more likely to find a man to marry and provide for their family in those tough times.
So Naomi told Orpah and Ruth to go back to their homeland while she planned to go back to hers. After all, the younger women could still get married and live a good life.
I think I know how Naomi felt when she told her daughters-in-law to leave her. When we face really hard times, sometimes we don’t want to put other people through those hard times with us. Instead of wanting to talk about it or let other people see us cry, it’s easy for us to say, “Please leave me alone in my room where I can hide under the covers forever!” Maybe we think no one will really understand. Maybe we think it’s just not worth bothering someone else with how we’re feeling. But when we do this, we choose to go solo and avoid letting others into our hard times.
Have you ever felt that way?
Well, let’s see how Orpah and Ruth responded. Read these verses and then we’ll talk about the three women who are in them.
“And again they wept together, and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye. But Ruth clung tightly to Naomi. ‘Look,’ Naomi said to her, ‘your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods. You should do the same.’ But Ruth replied, ‘Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us! When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she said nothing more. So the two of them continued on their journey. When they came to Bethlehem, the entire town was excited by their arrival. ‘Is it really Naomi?’ the women asked. ‘Don’t call me Naomi,’ she responded. ‘Instead, call me Mara, for the Almighty has made life very bitter for me. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me home empty. Why call me Naomi when the LORD has caused me to suffer and the Almighty has sent such tragedy upon me?’ So Naomi returned from Moab, accompanied by her daughter-in-law Ruth, the young Moabite woman. They arrived in Bethlehem in late spring, at the beginning of the barley harvest.” (Ruth 1:14-22)
First, let’s talk about Naomi. She’s one of the key characters in this story, and she’s not leaving anytime soon.
Naomi was super sad! She even said, “Just rename me ‘Bitter’ because that’s what I am!” She was maybe being a little dramatic. (Aren’t we all sometimes?) But she was going through something really hard! Her husband and her two sons had died!
Orpah was being totally reasonable when she chose to say goodbye and go home! And it was kind of Naomi to give her the option. This is the last we’ll hear about this woman. Bye-bye, Orpah!
Ruth knew that no matter what, she wanted to be there for Naomi. Even if it meant giving up some really big things! Ruth wanted to stay by her mother-in-law’s side while she was sad.
Ruth didn’t want Naomi to go through her sadness alone…no matter what it cost her. She knew that going to Bethlehem – a new land to her – meant she would lose her reputation and just be known as “the foreigner.” She knew she probably would never find someone to marry, so she would have to live a very poor, hard life.
But Ruth saw that this was a time when Naomi needed support. When hard times show up, a loyal girl doesn’t run away. Ruth certainly didn’t! Instead, she chose to step in and show amazing loyalty by giving up what her life could have been. She chose loyalty.