Choices That Determine Destiny - Lesson 5

By Dudley Chancey

Choosing To Be Last

Text: Ruth 1-10

Background Information for the Teacher


  1. The student will choose to put Christ and others ahead of themselves.
  2. The student will recognize that in Christ there is no difference between races.

Preparation: (Some items are for extra work if time allows)

  1. Bible for every student (NIV is used for quotes and handouts in this series)
  2. Copies of student handout
  3. Bible concordances or Bible computer program
  4. Chalk or markers for board work


If you have been to many weddings, chances are you have heard these words: "Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried." While they make weddings sound romantic,these words have a much deeper meaning in their biblical context. Through the providence of God and a woman named Ruth, the history of the whole world is changed. If Ruth were alive today, would she make the same choices? In our culture today, so many people are looking out for "number one." Ruth's example is very powerful for those that are following Christ and serving others today.

Lesson Plan for Conducting the Class

Introduction: (5 minutes)

  1. Prayer time (ask for requests, ask for answered prayers)
  2. Check calendar of events coming up
  3. Connect any students visiting, to individual students and the youth group

Review from Lesson #4: (5 minutes)

  1. Go over the answers to the handouts. Take these up if you are using them for some type of reward (mission trip credit).
  2. Give a one-minute summary of Peter's choices in last week's lesson.

Learning Experiences: (20 minutes)

  1. Remember the two general points that provide a background for our story (see Lesson #1 for a more detailed description).
    1. First, we will be studying a method of making godly choices in our everyday living
      1. The 4 C's. Consider the choice. Compare our attitudes and actions to God. Commit to God's ways. Count on God's protections and provision.
      2. We are studying principles rather than rules.
    2. Second, we will see how much the people we hangout with influence our lives.
  2. Our Bible case for study today comes from the book of Ruth. The lesson today will focus on the providence of God working in the life of a woman that is seeking good advice and making good choices.
    1. Choice-to stay or go?
      1. Ruth's husband has died. Her father-in-law has died. Her brother-in-law has died. Her mother in-law, Naomi, tells her to return to her people,because she is going back home to Judah. However after a moving speech (Ruth 1:16-17), Ruth chooses to go to Judah with Naomi. Little did she know what all was in store for her. What would you have done? Why do you think Ruth chose to stay with Naomi? Her choice may have been driven by her love forNaomi. She had known and been with her for over ten years.
      2. In chapter one, verse 15, Naomi tells Ruth togo back to her people and to her "gods." What might be some other reasons to choose to stay with Naomi-that even Naomi might not see? Maybe Ruth had learned enough about the one, true God from Naomi's family to make her not want to go back to other "gods."
    2. Choice-to work or not work?
      1. Ruth doesn't know anyone except Naomi in her new surroundings. It would have been easy for her to sit at home. She chooses to go out and find work. Somehow (some would say) she finds herself working in the field of a man named Boaz. Would you say this was luck, or would it be the providence of God? How do you explain things that "just happen" to you? Is itGod looking out for you? What about the bad things that happen to you? Is that God? Keep in mind that God is in ultimate control of the world. Also keep in mind that Satan is alive and well in the world. On top of all that, people have free choice. God doesn't choose for bad things to happen-people do. God doesn't look down and cause a natural disaster to happen.The laws of nature are always in effect. But,God is not sitting by uninvolved. He has told us to pray and ask for anything we need. Perhaps,we are not asking enough (James 4:2)
      2. According to the Bible, work is one way we bring honor to God. Colossians 3:17 says, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men." Ruth chose to work so that she could provide for Naomi. This choice brought widespread recognition to her that she may not have even known about (Ruth 2:11). Are you willing to jump in and help work without being asked several times? Do you take the initiative to get jobs going and finish them? Can you see God getting the glory for things that you have worked hard to do?
    3. Choice-to take or not take the advice of an older person?
      1. Ruth had the opportunity several times to hear advice from her older mother-in-law,Naomi. Each time, she followed the advice and was blessed and rewarded for doing so. Naomi suggested where she needed to work and with whom. Ruth followed that advice. She gave her advice on how to approach Boaz. Ruth followed that advice. Naomi suggested that she wait until Boaz found out if he could marry her. Ruth followed that advice. See chapter three.
      2. God gives each of us older people in our lives for several reasons, one of which is for wisdom and good advice. While you might have a tough time right now relating to your parents and other adults, they are there for a reason. In fact, God has commanded them to raise young people up in his ways. We all need advice growing up. Even older adults seek advice of people older than them. You always need to learn things. When you can get good advice from someone you trust,then you can save yourself time, work, and many times, heartache. God in his providence uses Ruth as she makes good choices about who to be around, who to work with,and even who to marry. She had a very hard life in her earlier days, loosing her husband, leaving her familiar land, starting over, being the "bread winner" in the home of Naomi. She could have quit. She didn't. There could not be a better example of a woman that made good choices in her life-choices that would affect you and me forever.

Applications: (10 minutes)

The point here is that you not only want them to know about the Bible text, but you want them to take action on it. Is there a woman in your church that has the same spirit as Ruth seemed to have? In other words, what woman is very serving, caring and loving in your church? Are you trying to be that same kind of person that allows others to see Christ and God in you?

1. When we talk about rules and regulations, we probably don't think about Ruth. If you had to choose some standards that you think she lived her life by, what would you choose? She was honest, hard-working, obedient, caring, resilient, and loving. She definitely honored her mother-in-law. She definitely gave up any other "gods" that may have been before her.

2. Using the concordances, look up several Bible verses on some of today's discussion. For example, students could lookup the following: kinsman-redeemer, threshing floor, barley,Moab, elders, Obed, Jesse, David, etc. Ask students to discuss the definitions and descriptions of these different words and names and give some of the Bible contexts inwhich they are used.

3. Find some home videos of weddings, or rent some videos with wedding scenes in them. Get to the parts where the couples are exchanging vows and see if you can find anyone repeating the verses from Ruth 1:16-17. Take this time to discuss the importance of marital commitment. Talk about vows and promises. Talk about the second greatest choice students will ever make in their lives-choosing a marriage partner.

4. Restate the objectives for this week, tying them to the story of Ruth. How does putting yourself last feel? Have you ever been rewarded for putting yourself last? How did Ruth's"race" or nationality play into the story? Did it work for her,or against her? Was it even a factor in this story?

Assignment: (2 minutes)

  1. Pass out the handouts to take home. Encourage the students to fill in the answers to the questions about Ruth sometime during the next week and bring these back to class with them. The "fill in the blanks" section is straight out of the text for today's lesson. This assignment will give students time to "be in the Word." The following may help you next week as you go over the thought questions:
    1. Faith and Obedience: This might be a good time for confession (a commandment) individually, or as a group. You might want to lead off with a time in your life where you totally trusted God and obeyed. Describe the uncertainties of depending on God as a human being-and then the satisfaction and affirmation when you come through and God comes through. Make sure they know that there will be times that it seems likeGod isn't coming through. Keep the faith!
    2. 4C's. This is not a perfect process, but it is better than nothing, and that is what most students are using to make choices. Take advantage of this and share with students how they can walkthrough this process for every important decision in their lives.
    3. Advice: This is a great story to capitalize on the critical decision about whom to marry. While the options are presented as endless in our current culture, there is a limit for those professing to beChrist-like. In America, we tend to marry the people we hang out with and date. If students are making poor choices about friends, then they will certainly make a poor choice about who they marry. You might even bring in some older couples and let them tell their dating and marriage stories. Students might seem uninterested, but they will listen if you set up the class in a non-threatening way.
  2. Read Judges 13-16. The story of Samson for next week.

Evaluation: (5 minutes)

  1. Ask students to explain the providence of God in Ruth's life.
  2. Ask students to name one principle from the lesson today.
  3. (After class) Have an intern or another adult evaluate your teaching. Occasionally, ask some students to blind review the class. Ask questions like, "What was the main goal of the class tonight?" "What really made an impression on you tonight about the lesson?". More Background - Look up Ruth in any Bible dictionary for more background. See Deuteronomy 25 for marriage rites and background.

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