Ruth Lesson 3 - When the Going Gets Tough

Fill in the blank!

When the going gets tough, the ____________.

What did you say?  That’s right!  The tough get going!

So, what do “the tough” look like?  Well, according to google, to be tough means that you are able to endure hardship or pain.

My mind immediately goes to those strong man competitions on TV.  NOT ME.  I don’t like pain or being uncomfortable, and this includes long lines at Target.  I’m just not physically tough.  But you and I both know that toughness is less about muscle and more about the soul, and that’s what we’re taking about here. How do we respond to deep heart adversity and pain?

Honestly, I completed the blank this way: When the going gets tough, most just go away.  I know... this is totally cynical.  But perseverance and faithfulness are not common character traits among man... myself included.  This kind of grit doesn’t come naturally to the human race when it comes to suffering.  We want to tuck tail, run for cover, and wait until the storm has passed by or our one-way ticket to comfort arrives!  Ruth, on the other hand, is one tough gal. 

Read Ruth 1:6-18.

1.  What does Naomi decide that she must do, and what does she determine that her two daughters-in-law should do?

2.  How far do they make it before their traveling group unravels?  Who throws in the towel to head home?

3. What does Ruth promise to Naomi?  Try to find 7 things.

4.  Upon their arrival to Bethlehem, what does Naomi change her name to and what does it mean?

5.  What characteristics of Ruth do you observe?  Circle one that you would like to see developed within yourself.

Now, I’m all for family, but moving to a strange place where I know I’ll be hated with nobody but my mother-in-law beside me (who btw, calls herself “bitter”) doesn’t sound like a blast. I honestly believe I’d have been back in Moab with Orpah hanging out at the local oasis looking for a do-over!

CONNECT:  Are you someone who is faithful even when things get hard?  Why or why not?  

People will want to know why you’ve stayed, or they’ll want to know why you didn’t.  It’s important to understand our own issues as we respond to hardship, to stop blaming others for our actions, and to take an honest look at our own sin and character instead of everyone else’s.  Ouch!  I just stepped on my toes!!!!

Our response to the pain and brokenness in this world communicates either grace or condemnation - a message with far-reaching impact for eternity!  Are we Ruth or are we Orpah?  Do we stay or do we run?  And from where do we pull our strength to fulfill our end of covenant love?  

Girl, I can testify this kind of faith and faithfulness doesn’t coming from a “tough” heart.  Mine gave out long ago.  It’s only from a tender and humble heart that depends daily and completely on Jesus.

I’m going to end by sharing a quote with you from the She Reads Truth devotional Bible.  Rebecca Faires writes, “This {Ruth’s} decision to stay with Naomi was so all-compassing because it was a decision to follow the God of Israel.  God used this mother-in-law relationship to woo Ruth to Himself and, quite unexpectedly, plant her in the genealogy of Christ.  It wasn’t Naomi's beauty, riches, or liveliness that drew Ruth to her; it was her wisdom, virtue, and grace - fruit that God had graciously grown and preserved in her despite her enormous loss.”

Ruth and Naomi.  Such grit & grace.  Lord, help us depend on your strength for your glory in all our circumstances.

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