Arrival – An Advent Series on Waiting and Believing: Not the End Of Your Story (11.28.21)
Processing and responding to the Sunday sermon
After the group welcomes one another, have one person open in prayer and then take 2-3 minutes of silence. As you sit in silence, ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart in love toward God and your group mates.
Ruth and Naomi: Radical Bold Women of Faith.
On Sunday, Ruthie Kim focused on the entire book of Ruth. Starting at the beginning of the book with Ruth 1:1-22 Ruthie reviews the story of Ruth, Naomi and Boaz.
The book of Ruth historically has been framed as a romantic love story between Ruth and Boaz where Ruth is a really loyal “nice girl” who ultimately gets “saved” by a man.
Ruthie shares a unique perspective however, of a story of women, told by women. Two women in the midst of very personal and unexpected loss, extreme dark times, harsh circumstances and a non supportive and even oppressive culture.
These women’s lives did not turn out as they had expected. The book of Ruth is heavy. It’s not fluffy. It challenges the quickness of how fast we want to move on from pain darkness and unanswered prayer.
Naomi’s story is much like Job’s who’s questions remain unanswered in the midst of great challenges, loss and pain. Unlike Job though, Naomi’s complaints are minimized, dismissed and even judged. A widow, who in that day’s culture is overlooked and has no voice.
God takes women seriously. He was behind the scenes guiding Ruth and Naomi. We begin to see both Ruth and Naomi in the light of making some very bold decisions around their disappointments, loss and wrestling with God. They both step together over the wreckage of their lives, their pain, with nothing left to do but go back home. No career or family. No immediate answers to their questions
In Ruth Chapter 2:1-23 we read of a bold and brazen faith that compels Ruth to ask a big ask especially in that day and culture.
In verse 7 “She said, ‘Please let me glean and gather among the sheaves behind the harvesters” Her bold and radical faith said ” I am not here just to pick up the left overs. There is more than that…” It’s a big and brazen faith that says that we can ask and believe for more. It was a type of boldness that in the request became a call for Boaz to come up to a higher level.
They had no idea of the blessing and redemption God had in store for them. They took courageous steps of faith and risk.
“We are missing something when we spend our time longing for the light while missing the treasure in the darkness. Why do so many linger immobilized, counting down to the lighter days? Advent reminds us to value every state in which we find ourselves, especially as we stand waiting in the dark” – Kelle Brown, Starry Black Night
Is there something in the waiting that is precious? God is active in the unseen things. “What new thing might be standing backstage, waiting to make its entrance?” – Pete Scazzero – Emotionally Healthy Leadership
A Generational Bold Faith – Redemption
Ruthie reminds us that culturally in the Book of Ruth, women have been taken so non seriously, they had no voice and even disregarded in their purpose.
God has another thought. God is the hero of the story. God is at work behind the scenes with plans that are crucial to the redemption of thousands of generations.
Ruth couldn’t have known that by following Naomi she would someday be blessed by being a part of the Messiah’s family. In Chapter 4:13 “So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and when he went in to her, the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son. “And they called his name Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David. Ruth is one of five women mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus.
Reflection and Discussion
Read aloud the book of Ruth and then prayerfully and silently reflect on the passage and these questions.
- Ask The Lord to reveal or highlight something in this section of scripture. “Lord would you show me what is on your heart for me as I read this?” As you read through the book of Ruth what do you sense the Lord showing you? What phrases or words stand out to you?
- As you reflect on where you may identify with the story of Ruth and Naomi, take a moment to share these with the Lord. Lift up to Him any areas of loss, pain, waiting, discouragement, or even hopelessness. What do you want to show me about these areas Lord? What do you want me to know?
- Do you have areas of hope that God is working behind the scenes in your life? Where do you have a sense of hope in places where your story has yet to be written? How do you know that that it’s not the end of your story?
- Where do you sense the Lord moving you to take steps of faith in bigger and bolder ways? Where have you potentially settled for leftovers or crumbs, and the Lord says “step out, ask Me great things…”
- Take a moment to remember times that darkness seemed overwhelming and waiting seemed to be forever, but then.. the Lord broke into your circumstances with His redemptive work. Take a moment to reflect and rejoice in God’s faithfulness, the reward of faith..
After silently reflecting, take these thoughts into a time of group discussion.
- What came up for you during the prayer reflection time? What would you like to share with the group?
- Dreaming out loud together, what would it look like to be a community that does not marginalize, diminish or judge the voice of any anyone, and bold faith is celebrated and cherished.
Pray for your group, our church, our city, and our world.
Special Note And Invitation To Reality SF CG Community and Congregants.
Immanuel Prayer is a beautiful way of experiencing a more intimate connection with Jesus. Reality SF has a team of Immanuel Prayer Coaches! To find out more or to sign up for an Immanuel Session – click here. You can also contact our Prayer Minister – David McKinney email@example.com