Ruth 1:1-5

Talks for Growing Christians

The Events That Set the Stage for the Book of Ruth

Ruth 1:1-5

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Lesson Number 1

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Believers should not make decisions based only on immediate circumstances.
  2. Believers should not make decisions based only on human reasoning.

Practical Application

  1. Remember, the decisions you make will make you.


  1. Describe the conditions of the nation Israel during this time (political, economic, spiritual).
  2. What is the deeper meaning of famine in the Old Testament?
  3. Why is the Book of Ruth considered an oasis in a desert?
  4. Why shouldn’t believers make decisions based only on immediate circumstances? Relate this to Elimelech.
  5. If believers shouldn’t make decisions based only on human reasoning, then how should they make decisions? Relate this to Elimelech.


  1. The nation was ruled by judges, before the time of kings in Israel. There was famine in the land. The nation was in a moral decline because of its idolatry and immorality.
  2. Famine was a sign of God’s discipline because of Israel’s idolatry and rebellion. See Deuteronomy 11:16-17 and chapter 28.
  3. During the dark days of the judges, the people of Israel were continually departing from the Lord. Spiritual decline and moral decay characterized the nation. Ruth is a refreshing story in this scene, showing God’s sovereign grace at work, in spite of man’s idolatry and immorality.
  4. Because there are apt to be long range negative consequences. God’s covenant said the people were to stay in the land regardless of circumstances. When the Lord’s will is sought, usually there is a waiting period. Elimelech acted in haste by going to Moab.
  5. Believers should look to the Lord, asking for His will to be known in their lives. Human reasoning is not enough. Human reasoning cannot see the future. Elimelech did not foresee his death, nor the death of his sons, nor the three widows left bereft.


  1. In times of “famine” in your life, have you made quick decisions without due consideration of biblical principles?
  2. Have you been lured into making quick decisions based on reasoning alone? What were the results? Remember, you cannot see into the future, but God can.


  1. The decisions you make will make you. This works in both a positive and a negative way. If you make decisions based only on circumstances and human reasoning, you will live with the sad consequences of a life lived out of the perfect will of God. Conversely, if you pray, seek God’s will and use biblical guidelines, your life will be molded by the results of these decisions.

Key Verses

  • “There was a famine in the land. A certain man of Bethlehem, Judah, went to dwell in the country of Moab, he and his wife, Naomi and his two sons. Then Elimelech died. The sons took wives of the women of Moab, Orpah and Ruth. They dwelt there about ten years. Then the sons also died.” Ruth 1:1-5

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