We finished Ruth in our international women's study this morning. I had 45 minutes to finish chapters 2-4. And most of the women are still learning English and some had never read Ruth before. Preparing for the lesson was a challenge. I had to pick a focus.
I decided to focus on God's "Big Picture". That there was more to Ruth than a nice story. It was not all about her. We looked at how her son Obed produced Jesse, from whom a prophecy was fulfilled about Jesus, that his bloodline was a kingly one. That God used an ordinary woman who wasn't even Jewish and from another country to fulfill His great plan for salvation.
First, we introduced ourselves and shared a story from our families--some shared about how their grandparents met, some about duels, farming, wars, revolutions, and travels around the world. I felt like we got to know each other better and everyone had a chance to speak, and the question fit with looking at Jesus' family line.
We talked about barley, which was new to many of the women. So I brought some stalks of wheat (I always keep some around to remind me of home in eastern Washington state) and described the process of threshing and winnowing, to produce kernals that make flour to make bread--some women from some parts of Asia found it fascinating since they eat predominantly rice in their homelands. We talked about what it meant for a widow to be redeemed, and how Ruth followed her mother in laws instructions in how to say the right thing at the right time to the right man, in the culturally correct way. We did a little play acting, we laughed, we cried and I think God reached hearts.
And we all came away with a bigger sense of God's sovereignty even in our own lives to acheive His purpose. As one young woman said, it gave her hope to know that He has a reason for all the hard things she goes through, one that transcends her earthly existence. A bigger picture. As another woman said, it isn't about me.
An amazing 45 minutes today.