The Story of Ruth
Use this Ruth children’s Sunday School lesson to teach kids the importance of believing in the real God.
Needed: an index card that’s blank on one side with a clue on the back and cards with 1-5 raindrops on them with clues on the back, paper bags or string for a three-legged race, lots of loose strips of paper and bags full of paper strips
Note: Before class, you’ll write out clues on the index cards as to where the next one will be and hide all but the first around your area.
Lesson: Use the following script based on Ruth 1-4 to tell and act out the story of Ruth Dress up in a Biblical-era costume if you can.
Script: Hi! I’m Ruth. I lived a long time ago when the judges ruled Israel – people like Ehud and Deborah and Gideon and Samson. I didn’t always live in Israel, though. You see, I’m from the country of Moab, where most people didn’t believe in the real God. Most people in Moab worshipped the fake god, Chemosh. So did I. That is until I met Naomi and her family.
Naomi was from Israel, the town of Bethlehem. She came to Moab with her family because they were having a hard time finding food in Israel. It wasn’t raining very much in that country, and so, all the farms weren’t growing enough food.
Everyone, pretend there’s no food growing and that you’re very hungry.
Naomi and her family had to move here to Moab because we were getting enough rain and our crops were doing well.
Before I go on, I want to a play with you about Naomi and her family moving to Moab.
Game: Where’s the Rain? – Tell students that they’re going to pretend to be Naomi and her family looking for somewhere to live where there’s enough rain. Give them a blank index card with a clue on the back. The clue will be a hint to where the index card with one raindrop on it will be. It could say something like, “I heard there was more rain in…” Or, “I heard it was raining by…”
When they find the index card with one raindrop, the clue on the back of that card has a hint to the card with two raindrops on it, etc. until they find the card with raindrops on it. On the back of that card, it says, “Congratulations! You made it to Moab!”
Story continues: Soon after Naomi and her family arrived here, though, Naomi’s husband, Elimelek, died.
It was about that time that my friend Orpah and I met Naomi. She had two handsome sons named Mahlon and Kilion. I married one of them, and Orpah married the other. But then, 10 years later, Mahlon and Kilion both died too. So it was the three of us ladies – Naomi, Orpah, and Ruth (that’s me) – all alone, without any husbands or children.
Naomi heard then that the farms were doing better in Israel again and that there was enough food for everyone. So, she figured she had been in Moab long enough and wanted to go home to Israel. She told Orpah and me that we could go back home and live with our parents if we wanted to. But we didn’t want to. We wanted to stay with her. She was our family now.
Finally, Orpah did go home to her own her parents’ house. But I wouldn’t do it. I told Naomi, “Naomi, don’t try to tell me to leave you. I love you like you were own mother. So, wherever you go, that’s where I’m going to go. Wherever you live, that’s where I’m going to live. Even though I’m from Moab, I’m going to change and become an Israelite. And even though I used to believe in the fake god Chemosh, I’m going to believe in the real God now.”
Before I tell you what happened when we arrived back in Israel, let’s play another game. This one will be about me not wanting to leave Naomi.
Game: I Won’t Leave You! –Tell students that they’re going to pretend to be Ruth and Naomi in this game. Ask them to find a partner and then, have them lock arms and each place one foot in a paper bag for a three-legged race. You can tie their legs together instead if you want.
When you say “Go!” they’ll have to work together to get from one side of the play area to the other. If they fall down or rip their bag, they go back to the starting line. The first pair to get the other side of your play area wins.
Play a second or third round if time permits.
Story continues: So, I told Naomi that I wouldn’t leave her, and it was the best thing I ever did – choosing to move to Israel and believing in the real God.
But when we got to Naomi’s hometown of Bethlehem, we had one little problem to work out. Neither one of us had jobs, nor did we have very much money to buy food. I knew I had to do something or else we would go hungry.
Luckily, God had made it a law in Israel that the farmers were supposed to help people who didn’t have any food. They were supposed to let us go to their farm and pick up as much we needed. So, that’s what I did. I went out to one farm and started picking some wheat so that I could make bread with it for Naomi and me.
I was a little scared to go pick the wheat because I thought the man who owned the farm might not like me since I was from Moab and not from Israel. But I shouldn’t have worried. The farmer was really nice. He was a good man who loved God. His name was Boaz, and he told me I could pick as much as I wanted. He said I could even come to get a drink from his water pitchers if I got thirsty.
I asked him why he was being so nice to me, and he said it was because he heard I had moved to Israel with Naomi and was helping to take care of her. He said he was being nice to me because I was being nice to Naomi and he liked that.
Then, at lunchtime, Boaz invited me to eat lunch with him and his workers. Then he even told his workers to help me pick the wheat that I was going to take home with me. I’ll tell you more, but first, I want to play a game with you to show you what that first day on the farm was like.
Game: Wheat Harvest – Scatter strips of paper on the floor for wheat. Give students a 10-second time limit and tell them to collect as many pieces as they can.
After 5 seconds, yell, “Stop!” Explain that you are Boaz and that you own this wheat. But tell the students that since you know they are collecting the wheat because they are hungry and are trying to help their mother-in-law Naomi, they can keep going.
At the end, yell, “Stop!” again. It’s the end of the workday. The student with the most strips wins. Then, give each student a sack of paper strips to take home as well as what they collected already. Explain that this is what Naomi did for Ruth.
Story continues: When I got home, Naomi was so amazed at how much I had, that she made me tell her about Boaz and the farm. Then, she said, “Ruth, Boaz is one of my relatives. Do you know what that means? That means that he’s supposed to marry you since you’re in my family and your husband died. Now, listen, go put on your nicest clothes and spray some perfume on. Make yourself look as pretty as you can and then, go visit Boaz tonight.”
I was nervous about doing what Naomi told me. I thought, what if Boaz doesn’t like me like that and doesn’t want to marry me? And I wondered if I was ready to get married again. But I knew Boaz was a good man from the way he helped me and was so nice to me on his farm. And I did kind of like him.
Now, I won’t make you dress up and put on perfume as I did, but I will make you play a game about me wanting to marry Boaz.
Game: Boy/Girl Tag – Split students up into two teams with boys on team and girls on the other. The boys’ team is Team Boaz, and the girls’ team is Team Ruth. For the first round, the girls chase the boys. For the second round, the boys chase the girls. Time each round and declare the winner to be the team that tags all their opponents the fastest. Play a few times to give each team a couple chances to speed up their time.
Story continues: So, I did exactly what Naomi told me. I got on my best clothes and did my hair and put perfume on and went to see Boaz. He was having a party for all his workers, and so, I waited until they all went to sleep. They were sleeping right there in their farm field.
Then, I went up to where Boaz was sleeping and lied down by his feet. I hoped that would tell him that I liked him. In the middle of the night, he woke up and saw me lying down at his feet. He said he did like me and wanted to marry me.
We got married and had a son and had a wonderful life together. And our great-grandson even became the best king Israel ever had – King David. And it all happened because I moved to Israel and started worshiping the real God.
Closing Prayer: Lord, thank You for the example of Ruth, who was willing to stop serving the fake god Chemosh to believe in You. Help us to always believe in You and to help others to believe in You too. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
Superbook: Ruth – an animated video from the updated Superbook series, includes time-traveling children who learn lessons from the story
Ruth Word Find – including the names of the people in the story of Ruth
Clothed in Kindness - a complete lesson plan for Ruth that looks at the story through the perspective of Ruth’s kindness, Boaz’s kindness, and God’s kindness