Help children realize: God loves me so much…He has a plan for me.
Topics for discussion: Being faithful to Jesus, obedience
A note for parents: The book of Ruth has very familiar stories, but as I was reading the verses, I noticed that there were so many details that I had forgotten or never thought of before! There are many cultural details that I had to look up to understand better- like barley! We use barley today mostly as food for animals, but during the days of Ruth and Boaz, this was considered a poor man’s food. A simple detail, that I never really focused on. This story is a great way to wrap up our theme on God’s love. This perfect love is shown through God’s plan for Ruth and Naomi, and through the genealogy of our Savior. It is important that your children see that God’s will is always done- even when it seems impossible! Ruth was a good friend and servant to Naomi. She served God by being faithful to Naomi. Boaz loved Ruth- a poor widow from another country. Boaz wanted to care for her and Naomi and was faithful to both of them, and their son Obed. God was faithful to his people and brought them a Savior through the line of Ruth and Boaz. Your children will learn that God has a plan for His people. We might not understand it now, but we trust that He is working for the good for us.
Bible Reference: Ruth 1-4
Long, long ago, in a place called Moab, there lived a family of four. Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and their two sons moved there because there was more food there than where they used to live. After a while, Elimelech died, and ten years after, the sons died too. Her sons were married to two women from Moab. Their names were Orpah and Ruth.
Naomi called her son’s wives and told them, "I am going to go back to where I used to live and I would like you to go back to your family where you used to live. May God show you kindness as you have shown me." All the women cried and hugged each other because they were such good friends.
Orpah didn't want to leave Naomi but Naomi told her not to worry, she would be fine. So Orpah left to go back to her family. But no matter what Naomi said to Ruth, Ruth would not leave. "Don't ask me to leave. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your friends will be my friends and your God will be my God."
So Ruth and Naomi returned to Bethlehem together. It was a good thing Ruth went with Naomi because Bethlehem was very far away and Naomi couldn't have traveled all that way by herself. Notice that Ruth never complains but is a good friend to Naomi. She wasn't expecting anything in return, she just wanted to help. When they got there Ruth decided that she should do some kind of work. It was harvest time, so she worked in the fields following behind the harvesters and picked up any barley that they had dropped. Barley is a crop that looks like long grass. It is used today to feed animals. In Bible times, poor people would eat this because it was much cheaper than wheat.
The owner of the field came by to greet the harvesters and noticed Ruth in the field. He asked one of the harvesters who she was. "She came back from Moab with Naomi, that's all I know." Lucky for Ruth the owner of the field was Boaz, he was a kind man who believed in God. He had also been related to Elimelech (Naomi's husband that died).
Boaz went to go talk to Ruth, he said to her, "Don't go work in any other field but stay here with the other servant girls. I will make sure you are safe and whenever you are thirsty go and get a drink from the water jars." When Ruth heard this she bowed down to Boaz and asked, "Why are you being so nice to me, I'm not even from here."
Boaz replied, "I know what you've done for Naomi, you left your family and moved to a place you've never been. May the Lord reward you for your kindness."
Ruth thanked Boaz and continued with her work in the hot sun. Boaz even ordered his workers to drop extra barley so Ruth could have more for herself.
Ruth took all the barley home and shared what she had with Naomi. Naomi was very pleased because Boaz was a close family relative. He was a family redeemer, which is a person who takes care of family members when someone dies. She gave her instructions to go see Boaz on the threshing floor. She would hide until he had eaten and drank, then go uncover his legs and lie on his legs. Ruth said to Naomi “All this I will do!” She trusted Naomi and God to provide for her.
So it happened just like Naomi said, and when Boaz was startled awake, he found a strange woman laying on his legs!
“Who are you?” Boaz asked?
“I am Ruth, your servant. Spread your covering on your servant for you are a family redeemer.”
Boaz really cared for Ruth, so he wanted to marry her and take care of her and Naomi. He knew that there was another man in line before him, so he made plans to ask him the next day. He and Ruth fell asleep again, and Ruth left before it was light enough for anyone to notice her.
Boaz met with the other family redeemer and several of the village elders. The two men agreed that Boaz should redeem the land and marry Ruth. God had provided protection for his servants Ruth and Naomi and had given Boaz a companion in Ruth. Later, they had a baby boy named Obed. This baby would become the grandfather of David, who was in the line of Jesus.
Weekly Challenge: Barley Basket
Challenge your children to create a place to hold their “barley.” Whether you weave paper, use paper plates, or decorate a box, your basket should be able to hold barley prayers. This week, you should remind your children to pray for God’s plan for their lives. They’ll have fun praying for strength, courage, and the ability to faithfully serve their Lord!
This weeks activities are outside the box to say the least. We didn’t want to say “make barley out of this, now make more barley… barley, barley, BARLEY!” So we found fun object lessons and games to
Fizz Prayer Activity- For this activity you will need:
-water, (for extra fizz you can use sparkling water!)
-Alka Seltzer tablets, (generic is fine)
- and clear glasses, (to watch the magic!)
This is similar to the Coca Cola/Mentos experiments that we've all tried. Have you ever noticed how this mini explosion makes people really excited? They know what will happen, but the fizz always brings giggles and shouts of happiness and surprise. This activity helps you make the connection of how excited God is to hear your prayers. Say this to your child:
"I see that the fizz made you excited! When we pray to Jesus, He gets so excited to hear from you- because you are His dear child."
Hidden Cross- Have you ever started something and not known what the result would be? YES! I think of mind puzzles, paint by numbers, new jobs, and trying something new! Your child will benefit from hearing this message, and the story of Ruth and Christ's genealogy make it very timely. For this activity you will need:
-and paper (preferably cardstock, so that the tape doesn't rip your masterpiece!)
Remind your child that sometimes we don't know or understand God's plan, just like Ruth. Remind them that there was one man who started with the end in mind- Jesus! First, have your child use the masking tape to make a shape or a picture on their paper. Then let them have fun painting! Carefully remove the tape later and you'll have a unique picture. Now have your child look at a picture you've prepared with a hidden cross made out of masking tape lines, or have them paint over a masking tape cross you made for them. The result is the same- they will be reminded that Jesus knew the "end goal"- to save us by dying on the cross! Ruth and Boaz couldn't even fathom that they were ancestors to the Messiah, but they knew God had a plan. This week your family will get to talk about God's plan in quarantine.
Puzzled- I love this activity, and if your family loves puzzles, you'll get a kick out of it! This is great for memorizing Bible passages. You will need:
-A puzzle, (depending on your children's age, I'd start with a basic square puzzle with a small piece count. If you want, you can use a piece of paper and cut it up to make a homemade puzzle!)
-a writing utensil,
-and a Bible passage. (This week our suggestions for study of God's plans in the Bible are: John 3:16, Jeremiah 29:11, and Isaiah 41:10.)
First, write your passage on the back of your puzzle. The words should flow together and make it easy to read the passage when it is all put together. Next, scramble it, and try to decode God's messages to you!
For little ones who need shorter passages try Psalm 46:10a, Psalm 23:1, Philippians 4:13, etc.