God’s passion and plan for justice should be shared by us. As Christians we need to respond – not just to human laws, but above all to God’s laws and commands to us. God is moved by compassion towards all those who suffer and we are called to respond in the same way.
We have an obligation to care for our families, both our immediate family and our wider family. Again this is based on biblical teaching (such as Ruth and Esther). This is also a strong cultural commitment in many societies.
Our approach must be to seek justice and human rights for others, rather than for ourselves. We may be called to accept injustice against ourselves while at the same time actively seeking justice and upholding other people’s rights.
- Read Ruth 1:22 to 2:23. Naomi was an example of a caring mother who wanted the best for her family. When her husband and sons died while the family was living in a foreign country, she tried to persuade her daughters-in-law to return to their families and re-marry. However, Ruth refused to leave her. Boaz was related to the family of Naomi’s dead husband. What did he do in response to Ruth’s needs?
- Boaz was a wealthy relative who was responsible for the good of his immediate and wider family. Naomi knew that his first response was a limited response to their needs. How is our response often very limited when faced with examples of need or injustice?
- Read Ruth 3:1-18. Why do you think Naomi told Ruth to lie at the feet of Boaz, rather than to approach Boaz herself during the day for help? He could have told Ruth to leave or taken advantage of her. What was his response instead?
- Read Ruth 4:1-22. This chapter describes the ‘Go’el’, the traditional practice of caring for the family and property of close relatives who die. Ruth apparently has a closer relative so Boaz meets him. What was his response in verses 2-4? Why did he say yes? Why does he change his mind in verses 5-8?
- What were the consequences of Naomi’s persistence in seeking to restore her family inheritance? How does this story encourage us?
- Does the traditional practice of the ‘Go’el’ continue in our society today in some form? If it does, what are the benefits? Are there any disadvantages?
Articles 29, 30 UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights