The Plan Unfolds
The story of Ruth and Naomi, part 5
by Charmian Roberts
Suitable for Whole School (Pri) - Church Schools
To consider that Christians believe that God has a plan for our lives.
Preparation and materials
You will need a biscuit tin that contains pebbles or sticks; a supply of biscuits (make sure that these comply with your school’s allergy policies); a perfume bottle; a blanket or shawl; and a baby doll.
You will also need some props that are associated with weddings, such as confetti, a veil and wedding rings. Images of these props are also suitable.
You may wish to familiarize yourself with the previous assemblies in this series about Ruth and Naomi:
- ‘Life has ups and downs’, available at: http://www.assemblies.org.uk/pri/2478/life-has-ups-and-downs
- ‘What makes a good friend?’, available at: http://www.assemblies.org.uk/pri/2514/what-makes-a-good-friend
- ‘Taking care of the poor’, available at: http://www.assemblies.org.uk/pri/2527/taking-care-of-the-poor
- ‘Helping others’, available at: http://www.assemblies.org.uk/pri/2620/helping-others
Show the biscuit tin to the children and say that you are going to give a biscuit to the first person who can tell you the names of three people who appear in the Bible story about Ruth. Choose a child to answer and, if they answer correctly, invite them to come to the front to receive the biscuit.
However, when they open the tin, they get a surprise! Instead of biscuits, the tin only contains pebbles or sticks. Ask the child if they feel surprised and whether it is a good or bad surprise. Then, reward them with a biscuit from the separate supply. Ask the children whether they have ever had a good or bad surprise and ask a few children to share these.
Remind the children that there have been lots of surprises in the story of Ruth. Some of the surprises have been good, but some have been bad. Use this as an opportunity to recap the story – see the assemblies listed above under ‘Preparation and materials’. We have heard how God helped Ruth and Naomi by providing them with food to eat, and today, we see how God’s plan for Ruth and Naomi begins to unfold.
Tell the children that, in today’s story, someone gets a big surprise. Can they spot who it is? Show the perfume bottle, the blanket, the veil and the confetti (or any other props that you have decided to use) and ask the children to raise their hand when they spot one of these objects in the story.
Ruth and Naomi (continued)
Naomi was so glad that she had Ruth, her daughter-in-law, to look after her. Ruth had helped her so much on the long journey back to Bethlehem and by gleaning to get enough food for them to eat. Naomi wished there was something she could do for Ruth, to repay her for all the kindness she had shown.
Now in those days in Israel, women could not have a job and earn money of their own. So because the two women had no husbands, they would always depend on the kindness of others to give them food and shelter.
‘If only Ruth could find a husband!’ Naomi thought. ‘Then she would be happy and secure and we would always have enough to eat.’
Naomi began to think . . .
One day, Naomi called Ruth to her and said to her, ‘My daughter, isn’t it time I found a home for you where you will be happy? Well, I have had an idea! Remember Boaz, our relative, who was so kind to you when you went to glean in his field? Well, the harvest is now over, and he and his men will be threshing the barley tonight at the threshing floor. Ruth, you must wash yourself, put on your best dress and some perfume (hold up the bottle) and go down to the threshing floor. But keep in the shadows! Don’t let yourself be seen until Boaz has finished eating and drinking, and has lain down to sleep. Then, creep over to him, uncover his feet and lie down at his feet. He will tell you what to do.’
Ruth thought that this was a strange thing that her mother-in-law had asked her to do, but nevertheless she did as she was told. She dressed in her best clothes, put on perfume (hold up the bottle again) and went down to the threshing floor. There, she saw Boaz with the other men, eating and drinking, and keeping guard over the big pile of grain they had threshed. She kept in the shadows until she saw Boaz lying down to sleep, and when she was sure he was asleep, she crept over, uncovered his feet and lay down.
Some time later, something startled Boaz. He suddenly woke up and was amazed to discover Ruth lying at his feet!
Ruth said to him, ‘Spread the corner of your blanket (hold up the blanket) over me, since you are our helper and relative.’
Ask the children what the surprises were in this story. Boaz had a big surprise! Ruth’s actions might seem a bit strange to us, but there are lots of traditions regarding marriage, such as a man going down on one knee, buying a ring and so on. When Ruth said, ‘Spread the corner of your blanket over me,’ she actually meant ‘Boaz, will you be my helper and protector, my husband?’
Ruth and Naomi (continued)
Boaz was delighted when he realized that Ruth wanted to marry him and he quickly made the arrangements for the wedding. Boaz was a wealthy man and also a man who loved God and obeyed his laws. He knew that marrying Ruth would mean taking her mother-in-law, Naomi, into his home and caring for her, too. The wedding day came. The bride and groom got dressed up in their best clothes (hold up the veil) and made their promises to each other to live together and care for each other forever. There was much celebrating (hold up the confetti) and feasting long into the night. Boaz and Ruth were both very happy.
Some time later, Ruth became pregnant and had a baby - a boy (hold up the doll). How happy Naomi was as she took her grandson in her arms and cared for him. The women around Naomi and Ruth praised God and said, ‘See how God has cared for you, Naomi! You came to Bethlehem with nothing but sadness in your heart, and now look! You have a beautiful grandson! Your daughter-in-law Ruth, who has shown you so much love, has given you the most precious gift of all!’
Time for reflection
Ruth and Naomi both trusted God to be their helper. They had seen how much he had helped them in their lives so far, and they knew that God had a good plan for them. In today’s story, we saw how God’s plan for Ruth continued to unfold, through the simple things that she did, and the love she showed to her mother-in-law. Ruth had come to Bethlehem with nothing – now she had a family of her own!
Christians believe that God has a plan for each of our lives, too. They believe that God wants us to have amazing lives and that our plans will unfold as we love and help other people.
Thank you that your plans for Ruth were good.
Thank you that you have good plans for our lives.
Help us to trust you as we see your plans for us unfold.