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Come, Follow Me (Ruth, 1 Samuel 1-3)

This is one in a series of reviews of the weekly lessons found in the Come, Follow Me for Individuals and Families published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To link to all of the 2022 teachings, click here. Bold face type in this article comes from the Church’s curriculum. (Note: Not every sentence written in the curriculum is being reviewed.)

June 6-12

Ruth, 1 Samuel 1-3

Sometimes we imagine that our lives should follow a clear path from beginning to end. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, after all. And yet life is often full of delays and detours that take us in unexpected directions. We may find that our lives are quite different from what we thought they should be.

Ruth and Hannah surely understood this. Ruth was not an Israelite, but she married one, and when her husband died, she had a choice to make. Would she return to her family and her old, familiar life, or would she embrace the Israelite faith and a new home with her mother-in-law? (see Ruth 1:4–18). Hannah’s plan for her life was to bear children, and her inability to do so left her “in bitterness of soul” (see 1 Samuel 1:1–10). As you read about Ruth and Hannah, consider the faith they must have had to put their lives in the Lord’s hands and travel their unexpected paths. Then you might think about your own journey. It will look different from Ruth’s and Hannah’s—and anyone else’s. But throughout the trials and surprises between here and your eternal destination, you can learn to say with Hannah, “My heart rejoiceth in the Lord” (1 Samuel 2:1).

This is one of the best introductions of the entire series. There are no theological problems here.

Ruth

Christ can turn tragedy into triumph.

When Ruth’s husband died, the tragedy had consequences for her that were even more severe than a widow today might face. In Israelite culture at that time, a woman without a husband or sons had no right to property and practically no way to earn a living. As you read Ruth’s story, notice how the Lord turned tragedy into great blessings. What do you notice about Ruth that might have helped her? What was Boaz’s role in redeeming Ruth from her desperate situation? (see Ruth 4:4–7). What Christlike characteristics do you see in both Ruth and Boaz?

As the “kinsman redeemer,” Boaz allegorically is Jesus (the groom) and Ruth represents the church (the bride, or Christians). It is a beautiful portrayal of how the love of Boaz dictated his decisions in choosing Ruth and “redeeming” her.

What is even more amazing–apparently not mentioned in this lesson–is that Boaz and Ruth are the great-grandparents of David! Matthew 1:5-6 says,

Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,

Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,

Obed the father of Jesse,

and Jesse the father of King David.

This is the same line of Jesus! So Boaz and Ruth are directly related to the Messiah. It is amazing how these things work.

Ruth; 1 Samuel 1

I can trust that God will guide and help me regardless of my situation.

Can you see yourself in the stories of Ruth, Naomi, and Hannah? Perhaps you have suffered a great loss, as Ruth and Naomi did (see Ruth 1:1–5). Or maybe, like Hannah, you long for blessings you have not yet received (see 1 Samuel 1:1–10). Ponder what messages you can learn from the examples of these faithful women. How did Ruth and Hannah show faith in God? What blessings did they receive? How can you follow their examples? Consider how you have “come to trust” the Lord (Ruth 2:12) even when life feels difficult.

Again, no problems.

1 Samuel 2:1–10

My heart can rejoice in the Lord.

After Hannah took young Samuel to the temple, she spoke beautiful words of praise to the Lord, recorded in 1 Samuel 2:1–10. These words are even more moving when you consider that a short time earlier, “she was in bitterness of soul, … and wept sore” (1 Samuel 1:10). As you study these verses, what messages do you find that increase your feelings of praise and gratitude to the Lord? Perhaps Hannah’s song will inspire you to find a creative way to express your gratitude to the Lord—a song, a painting, an act of service, or anything that communicates your feelings toward Him.

Agreed. This would be a great lesson because, so often, we humans find it easier to complain rather than positively edify God, ourselves, and others. Studying a passage such as this could be very helpful.

Of course, not all fervent prayers are answered the way that Hannah’s was. What do you find in President Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s message “Grateful in Any Circumstances” that can help you when your prayers aren’t answered in the way you hope? (Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 70–77).

Perhaps instead of citing Uchtdorf, could this have been an occasion to look at another biblical passage? For one, the book of Job could have been a good reminder of how to live and act when going through a difficult time.

1 Samuel 3

I can hear and obey the voice of the Lord.

Like all of us, Samuel had to learn how to recognize the voice of the Lord. As you study 1 Samuel 3, what do you learn from this young boy about hearing and obeying the Lord’s voice? What experiences have you had with hearing His voice? What opportunities do you have, like Eli, to help others recognize when the Lord is speaking to them? (see 1 Samuel 3:7).

When it comes to “hearing” the Lord’s voice, Latter-day Saints are taught that they have the ability to gain “personal revelation.” According to President Russell M. Nelson, “Every Latter-day Saint may merit personal revelation” (“Ask, Seek, Knock,” Ensign (Conference Edition), November 2009, 83). Personal revelation could be good or bad, depending on the perspective. As Robert Millet put it,

Our blessing is that we believe in personal revelation. Our curse is that we believe in personal revelation. That’s the honest fact for me. There is a risk associated with the position we take toward God’s ability to speak to you and me (“From faith to fanatic delusion,” Deseret News, March 16, 2003).

Gerald Lund further explained,

We do not need to seek new revelation where the Lord or His servants have already spoken on the matter. However, we may seek confirmation of its truthfulness, as we do in other aspects of a testimony (Hearing the Voice of the Lord: Principles and Patterns of Personal Revelation, 190).

In other words, if the prophet speaks and says it’s true, then it should be accepted as true, regardless of one’s personal revelation. As a church manual puts it,

When the prophet speaks to us in the name of the Lord, he speaks what the Lord would say if He were here” (The Latter-day Saint Woman: Basic Manual for Women, Part B, 2000, 99)

But as Millet insinuates, a great curse for the church is “personal revelation” because many members like to come up with their own opinions based on their feelings. This is why there is much controversy over issues concerning feminism, homosexuality, abortion, and other social controversies. It will be interesting to see how the church handles these issues in the upcoming months and years.

Ideas for Family Scripture Study and Home Evening

Ruth 1:16–18; 2:5–8, 11–12.

Your family could look for examples of kindness and loyalty in these verses. How do we show kindness to our family and others and loyalty to Jesus Christ? The chapter “Ruth and Naomi” (in Old Testament Stories) could help your family learn from Ruth’s example.

Agreed.

Maybe you could pour something out of a container to help family members visualize what Hannah meant when she said, “I … have poured out my soul before the Lord.” Why is this a good way to describe what our prayers should be like? How can we improve our personal and family prayers?

1 Samuel 2:1–10.

Hannah’s poem of praise to the Lord may lead you to think of songs that you use to praise the Lord. You could sing some together. Your family members might also think of other ways to express their feelings for Jesus Christ. For example, they could draw pictures that show why they love the Savior.

These are great questions and activities.

Conclusion

This is the least offensive lesson of this entire series. Not once was unique LDS scripture utilized. It is a good reason why the lesson did not deviate into heresy. I wish the rest of the series had stuck to the biblical message and this study on the “Old Testament” would have been so more worthwhile.

This is the shortest review of any done on this series because there was so little to talk about!

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