Summary: The story of Ruth teaches us about surrender, sovereignty and salvation. Jesus Christ is actually the main theme.
Benjamin Franklin, who I don’t think ever professed a faith in Jesus, did have an appreciation for the Bible from a literary perspective. When he was the newly formed US government’s representative to France he indulged in a group of literary intellectuals. This group held no respect for the Bible and they would consistently make fun of it. One day, Ben, decided to read a book from the Bible but he changed the name of God and other names in the book to disguise the origin. After the reading of this short story to this group of literary scholars they sat shocked that they were unaware of such an interesting, well written, classic piece of literature. They asked Ben of his source for this story and Ben was pleased to say, “it comes from the book you so despise, the Bible.” The story Ben had read was the book of Ruth.
Dramatic Reading: in the Old Testament it was common practice for the Torah or law to be read in the assembly. Paul’s letters to the churches in the NT were designed to be read in their entirety to the church. So today we follow an ancient custom but with a modern twist.
(NOTE) pre-arrange readers for the dramatic reading, the script is included. Have fun with it...have the characters act out the parts, like Ruth sleeping at the feet of Boaz and the sandal swap are two parts that always bring laughs...have fun!
Narrator: In the days when the judges ruled in Israel, a severe famine came upon the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah left his home and went to live in the country of Moab, taking his wife and two sons with him. The man’s name was Elimelech, and his wife was Naomi. Their two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. When they reached Moab, they settled there. Then Elimelech died, and Naomi was left with her two sons. The two sons married Moabite women. One married a woman named Orpah, and the other a woman named Ruth. But about ten years later, both Mahlon and Kilion died. This left Naomi alone, with only her daughters-in-law. Then Naomi heard that the LORD had blessed his people in Judah by giving them good crops again. So Naomi and her daughters-in-law got ready to leave Moab to return to her homeland. With her two daughters-in-law she set out from the place where she had been living, and they took the road that would lead them back to Judah. But on the way, Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law,
Naomi: “Go back to your mothers’ homes. And may the LORD reward you for your kindness to your husbands and to me. May the LORD bless you with the security of another marriage.” Then she kissed them good-bye, and they all broke down and wept.
Ruth & Orpah: “No, We want to go with you to your people.”
Naomi: “Why should you go on with me? You must return to your parents’ homes, for I am too old to marry again. I will not be able to provide for you. You must find husbands of your own, and you have a much better chance to be married in your own homeland.
Narrator: And again they wept together, and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye. But Ruth clung tightly to Naomi.
Naomi: “Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods. You should do the same.”
Ruth: “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!”
Narrator: 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.
A bunch of ladies: “Is it really Naomi?”
Naomi: “Don’t call me Naomi, 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?”
Narrator: Now there was a wealthy and influential man in Bethlehem named Boaz, who was a relative of Naomi’s husband. One day Ruth said to Naomi,
Ruth: “Let me go out into the harvest fields to pick up grain left behind by anyone who is kind enough to let me do it.”
Naomi: “All right, my daughter, go ahead.”
Narrator: So Ruth went out to gather grain and as it happened, she found herself working in a field that belonged to Boaz. While she was there, Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters.