There are only 2 books in the Bible with female names. Who can tell me what they are? (Esther & Ruth)
We are now going to do a drama about Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi. They had a very special friendship and we can learn a lot about how mum’s & daughters should treat each other. Listen carefully…. (use simple props like a scarf over your heads)
Naomi They call me Naomi. I was married to a wonderful man named Elimilech. I have had a very sad life lately. We used to live in Bethlehem, which is in Israel. We were reasonably well-off and had a house and some land. But then a famine came. That means there was very little food around, so we decided to travel to a country near-by called Moab. They had plenty of food so we settled there. I had 2 sons called Mahlon and Kilion. They found lovely Moabite girls and married them.
Ruth My name is Ruth. I married Naomi’s son Mahlon. We were very happy together until…
Naomi Until my husband Elimilech died.
Ruth Then my husband Mahlon and his brother Kilion also died. We didn’t know what to do. There were Naomi and me, plus Kilions wife Orpah - 3 widows together and no-one to work to bring in an income. We were very scared and worried about how we would survive.
Naomi I enquired what was happening back in my own land of Israel and found out that God had blessed them with plenty of food again. Seeing that was my home town I decided to go back.. I still had a house and some land there, so I thought I would be better off amongst my old friends and cousins. The girls and I packed up our few belongings and set off. You know I hadn’t been thinking straight before – but then I realised – I was taking Ruth and Orpah away from all THEIR family. They would have to leave their families and friends. That wouldn’t be fair. So I stopped on the side of the road and told them “Go back to your own mothers. You must not leave them to come with me. You have been very kind and good wives to my sons and kind to me. But if you go back and stay in the land where you were born, you will find another husband as you are still young. I pray that God will bless you in this.”
Ruth “No, mother, we will go back with you to your people.”
Naomi “But girls, I cannot give any hope to you for the future. If I had other sons, you could marry them because that is one of our laws – that another son could marry you and give you children – but I don’t have any more.”
Ruth My sister Orpah then decided she would go back. She kissed us good-bye and walked back to her family in Moab. But I love and honour Naomi. She has been a wonderful mother to me. Also I have learnt to love and trust her God – the only true God who made the world and all that is in it. I didn’t want to leave Naomi, so I made her a promise.
Where you will go I will go
Where you will stay I will stay
Your people will be my people
And your God, my God
Where you die I will die
And there I will be buried
Naomi So of course, I realised then that Ruth was committed to staying with me. And so we travelled together back to Bethlehem. My husbands land still belonged to me so we went there to live.
Ruth There was a house to live in, but we had very little money. Luckily the barley harvest was just beginning and I knew that poor folk could go and pick up any barley stalks that the harvesters dropped. Then you grind the barley to make flour to cook and eat. So we could have food. So I said to Naomi “where can I go to get barley so we can have some food.”
Naomi Well Ruth, I said, how about you go to some fields nearby. I saw some just along the road. Follow behind the people cutting the stalks and collect any that they drop, and may God go with you.” I continued to pray to God all during that day that Ruth would get enough food so we wouldn’t go hungry.
Ruth So off I went to Boaz’s fields. Boaz had been away in Bethlehem on business, but he arrived back soon after I had got there. He was a friendly man and obviously treated his servants well because he came around and greeted all those working in the fields. He looked at me.
Naomi Yes, he sure did look at Ruth. I think he was attracted to her as he asked his servants about her. When he heard she was my daughter-in-law, he told the harvesters to deliberately drop a few extra stalks for her. Isn’t God amazing? While I was praying for food to eat, God was already providing.
Ruth It was wonderful working there. Boaz told me to drink from the water jars if I was thirsty, and to join them for bread at lunchtime. I asked him why he would be so kind to me – a stranger. He said he had heard of all I had done for his cousin Naomi and was grateful. When I came home that night I had a large amount of barley grain.
Naomi It was wonderful to have so much barley that we could grind into flour. I asked Ruth where she had been and she told me ‘the fields of Boaz’. You could have knocked me over with a feather – Boaz is my cousin. I realised then that he must have been attracted to Ruth and that was why she had brought so much barley home. Goodness, life was becoming exciting.
Ruth I went back every day to gather barley and then wheat until all the harvesting was finished. One day Naomi said she needed to find a husband for me. – what about Boaz? I liked the idea. So she told me to have a bath, put on clean clothes and perfume, and go along to the party that Boaz was holding to celebrate the end of harvesting.
Naomi We have certain traditions and I explained to Ruth that when Boaz went to sleep, she was to quietly go and lift up a corner of his blanket and lie down at his feet. This was a sign that she was offering herself for marriage.
Ruth I did just as Naomi said. Boaz woke in the middle of the night and found me there. He was really pleased. He told me to creep away early in the morning so others wouldn’t gossip and that he would deal with all the legal things. He also made me fill my shawl with a lot more barley. We weren’t going to be hungry any more.
Naomi I was so thrilled when Ruth told me all that had happened. I knew Boaz would try and organise the wedding. He would have to go to the town gate with other respected men and sit there till another relation came along. Then he offered to buy my land and take Ruth as his wife as well. The other men would be witnesses to this and Boaz then had to take off one shoe and give it to them as a sign that the property had been transferred to him.
Ruth Then Boaz came and told us that it was now all legal and so we arranged out wedding. The whole town came and celebrated with us. Boaz is a wonderful husband, and of course he was very happy for Naomi to come and live with us too.
Naomi Now Ruth has had a baby boy. I am so overjoyed. I just love helping to look after him. His name is Obed.
Ruth Obed grew up and married. He had a son he named Jesse. Then Jesse had 8 boys - the youngest one was called David. You have probably heard of the famous King David in the Bible. Yes, I was King David’s great-grandmother.
Tonight I have 4 things I would like to share.
Show your love to each other. Tell Mum you love her – and hopefully she will tell you how special you are to her. Ruth showed that in the way she wouldn’t leave Naomi.
And Mums have so much they can teach you. Not that you always want to know!!! But there are many ways they can teach you– one is by example! You should listen when Mum is trying to teach you things – it may be VERY helpful later in life. Naomi taught Ruth many things.
Respect and obedience are important. They really go together. Ruth respected Naomi and so when she told her what to do, Ruth obeyed. Obey Mum and give her the respect she should have as your Mum – and she will respect you in return.
Get to know God together. Naomi taught Ruth about God. Ruth saw the way Naomi lived and acted, and knew her God was real. And when their husbands died they mourned together and comforted each other and continued to trust in God. You can learn lots about God from Mum if she loves God. If not, then you can teach her things about God.
One of the most special friendships you can ever have is Mum and you. While you are young she is someone to obey, respect and love. But when you are an adult she can become your best friend. You may not think that now – but it will be true if you obey, respect and love her.