Bible Study: Being Light

Modesty comes naturally when we know Christ’s beauty in us is far greater than our own.

Ruth is a shining example of how to spread God’s light simply by “being” in righteousness wherever you are. This Moabite foreigner didn’t have much. Widowed at a young age, she was eventually reduced to picking up scraps in the fields. But clinging to her mother-in-law, she chose to trust in the Hebrew woman’s God. And Jehovah blessed Ruth, in ways as small as barley grains—and as great as the lineage of Christ.

 

READ

Ruth 2:1-18

 

BACKGROUND

Though from Moab—a pagan nation—Ruth married into a Hebrew family. Her descendants included both King David and the promised Messiah.

 

REFLECT

When humility, love, and trust in God come together, blessing will result—often in surprising ways.

  • After the death of her Israelite husband, Ruth could have remained in Moab among her own clan. But people surrounded by an ungodly culture are sometimes longing for truth and goodness. Perhaps that’s a reason she chose to stay with Naomi and go with her to Judah (Ruth 1:14-18). Read how Ruth expresses her loving devotion in verses 16-17. What in her speech would you say qualifies as admirable or righteous? Which of her commitments do you relate to most strongly?

  • When Boaz asks about Ruth, his servant’s words reveal more of her virtues: courtesy, honesty, hard work (Ruth 2:5; Ruth 2:7). What do Ruth’s activities that morning tell you about the connection between humility and glorifying God? How was your own morning like or unlike Ruth’s?

  • Jesus said that instead of honoring self, we should let praise and privileges come from others (Luke 14:10). What in Ruth’s behavior indicates humility? How does Boaz’s response illustrate what the Lord taught?

  • While at times people will honor someone who is modest, ultimately it’s God’s commendation that matters (2 Corinthians 10:18). And His honor is often accompanied by blessing. What are some of the blessings Ruth receives? (See Ruth 2:8-9; Ruth 2:14-18.)

 

REFLECT

Glorifying God through righteousness is natural when we’re focused on Him instead of ourselves.

When humility, love, and trust in God come together, blessing will result—often in surprising ways.

  • While Old Testament stories like Ruth’s give insight into what it looks like to be righteous, consider the advantages of the New Covenant. Believers get to start over as brand-new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17) and are also indwelt by God’s own Spirit—a companion within to guide us toward the “righteousness and holiness” we’re made for (Eph. 4:24). In what ways has that helped you to act honorably, as Ruth did? Where do you still see room for growth?

  • Calling His disciples “the light of the world,” Jesus said a light shouldn’t be hidden; it should be placed visibly on a stand so it illuminates the house (Matt. 5:14-15). How did Ruth’s life give light to others? What would such visibility look like for the church today?

  • As a poor, childless, foreign widow with no earthly power, Ruth perhaps had reason to wish her situation were different. After all, the prominent or wealthy can use their position in life to glorify God. But Ruth’s story proves those things aren’t required. Where has God placed you? Are you reluctant to shine there, or do you enjoy doing so? Why?

 

REFLECT

Where does your light come from?

  • Jesus called His disciples “light” but also said, “I am the Light of the world” (John 8:12). His words resolve any conflict we may feel between acting as a lamp and being humble. When it’s not our light but His that shines from us, we too can sit back and enjoy the glow.

 

GOING FURTHER

Glorifying God through righteousness is natural when we’re focused on Him instead of ourselves.

Consider how this study applies to your life.

The story of Ruth and Boaz is often viewed as a tale of loyalty and a beautiful love story. It’s also a metaphor for our redemption under the New Covenant. As Jesus does for sinners, Boaz takes Ruth to be his own, rescuing her through his generosity and kindness. Because of this, he’s referred to as her kinsman redeemer. Though this story portrays social roles in biblical times, the gift of love and selflessness is timeless—and has special meaning for God’s people. We receive it when we enter into relationship with Jesus, in a bond characterized by tender devotion on both sides. And that gift is continually replenished by the Lord, so we can share it with others in a never-ending flow that can touch the world around us, too.

  • Boaz, as a “type” or symbol of Jesus, is a picture of Christlikeness. Identify some of his “good works,” and consider how to imitate them or treasure them in others.

  • Ruth was accepted and loved by Boaz even though, as she told him, “I am not like one of your maidservants” (Ruth 2:13). None of us, when we were first drawn toward Jesus, were like His other servants—yet. We carried the burden of unforgiven sin and did not have His light shining in our hearts. How might it change your interactions with the world to remember that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8)?

  • Being the light of the world is useless if we don’t point people to the Lord. “Sing the glory of His name” (Psalm 66:2), and your good works will draw others to God.

 

Illustration by Adam Cruft

Related Topics:  Reading Bible

Related Stories

1 Now Naomi had a kinsman of her husband, a man of great wealth, of the family of Elimelech, whose name was Boaz.

2 And Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, Please let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after one in whose sight I may find favor." And she said to her, Go, my daughter."

3 So she departed and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers; and she happened to come to the portion of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech.

4 Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem and said to the reapers, May the LORD be with you." And they said to him, May the LORD bless you."

5 Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, Whose young woman is this?"

6 The servant in charge of the reapers replied, She is the young Moabite woman who returned with Naomi from the land of Moab.

7 And she said, `Please let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves.' Thus she came and has remained from the morning until now; she has been sitting in the house for a little while."

8 Then Boaz said to Ruth, Listen carefully, my daughter. Do not go to glean in another field; furthermore, do not go on from this one, but stay here with my maids.

9 Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them. Indeed, I have commanded the servants not to touch you. When you are thirsty, go to the water jars and drink from what the servants draw."

10 Then she fell on her face, bowing to the ground and said to him, Why have I found favor in your sight that you should take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?"

11 Boaz replied to her, All that you have done for your mother-in-law after the death of your husband has been fully reported to me, and how you left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and came to a people that you did not previously know.

12 May the LORD reward your work, and your wages be full from the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge."

13 Then she said, I have found favor in your sight, my lord, for you have comforted me and indeed have spoken kindly to your maidservant, though I am not like one of your maidservants."

14 At mealtime Boaz said to her, Come here, that you may eat of the bread and dip your piece of bread in the vinegar." So she sat beside the reapers; and he served her roasted grain, and she ate and was satisfied and had some left.

15 When she rose to glean, Boaz commanded his servants, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not insult her.

16 Also you shall purposely pull out for her some grain from the bundles and leave it that she may glean, and do not rebuke her."

17 So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley.

18 She took it up and went into the city, and her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. She also took it out and gave Naomi what she had left after she was satisfied.

14 And they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

15 Then she said, Behold, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her gods; return after your sister-in-law."

16 But Ruth said, Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.

17 Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the LORD do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me."

18 When she saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more to her.

5 Then Boaz said to his servant who was in charge of the reapers, Whose young woman is this?"

7 And she said, `Please let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves.' Thus she came and has remained from the morning until now; she has been sitting in the house for a little while."

10 But when you are invited, go and recline at the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you, `Friend, move up higher'; then you will have honor in the sight of all who are at the table with you.

18 For it is not he who commends himself that is approved, but he whom the Lord commends.

8 Then Boaz said to Ruth, Listen carefully, my daughter. Do not go to glean in another field; furthermore, do not go on from this one, but stay here with my maids.

9 Let your eyes be on the field which they reap, and go after them. Indeed, I have commanded the servants not to touch you. When you are thirsty, go to the water jars and drink from what the servants draw."

14 At mealtime Boaz said to her, Come here, that you may eat of the bread and dip your piece of bread in the vinegar." So she sat beside the reapers; and he served her roasted grain, and she ate and was satisfied and had some left.

15 When she rose to glean, Boaz commanded his servants, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not insult her.

16 Also you shall purposely pull out for her some grain from the bundles and leave it that she may glean, and do not rebuke her."

17 So she gleaned in the field until evening. Then she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley.

18 She took it up and went into the city, and her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned. She also took it out and gave Naomi what she had left after she was satisfied.

17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;

15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.

12 Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life."

13 Then she said, I have found favor in your sight, my lord, for you have comforted me and indeed have spoken kindly to your maidservant, though I am not like one of your maidservants."

8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

2 Sing the glory of His name; Make His praise glorious.

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