As I finish up my Esther bible study, I am introducing a different take on it: I m combining Ruth and Esther together to form a comparison study! This is a lens to look at the stories through, with activities and journalling opportunities throughout. It’s super simple and doesn’t take more than 5 days to complete, and I think it’s pretty cool. 🙂 So, without further ado, I present: Ruth & Esther: Two Stories in One!
Read through the story of Esther and Ruth completely. As you go along, note any similarities you find. It helps to read them back to back, but you can definitely space them out through the day. Keep your notebook handy to record any thoughts you have. Journal everything you want under a heading titled “Day One”.
How does Esther’s simple, kind-hearted nature reflect Ruth’s? Do the two share the same humble traits? Write down their character traits in two columns, and why or why not you think they act similarly.
Draw Esther and Ruth together, in any appropriate pose or design you would like Below are a few images I found that you may like to base yours off of. Esther is in the first three, and Ruth in the last three.
Put these activities and journals into your notebook under the heading “Day Two”.
In your notebook, journal about how Esther and Ruth both come from small places. Not literal locations, but rather, families, nations, groups. Esther was a Jewish orphan being raised in Persia, while Ruth was a widow living with her mother-in-law. Esther and Ruth both leave where they live to go to an unknown place, and become a part of God’s plan. Neither would seem like likely candidates for God’s providence if you didn’t know His love and kindness. So why did He choose them? Why are they a part of His word, why are their stories told?
Esther lived in Persia, and within it, traveled to Susa. Here’s a map with that location on it:
Ruth lived in Moab, and travelled to Bethlehem, Judah. Here’s that map:
Print off these maps if possible, and tape or glue them into your journal, under the heading “Day Two”. If not, draw them, or write where Esther and Ruth traveled to and from. Esther’s birthplace is not specified, so just write that she was from Persia, but traveled to Susa.
Esther became a literal Queen to her husband, but Ruth did, in a way, as well. Ruth became as a treasure to Boaz, in whom she had found favour.
Write about what it means to treat a spouse like a King or Queen, in means of respect, love, and charity. How can we do this today, whether we are single or espoused? How does Jesus’ love for us mimic that of a spouse who treats their significant other like royalty? Use examples from the bible, especially Esther and Ruth if possible.
Think about Esther and Ruth, and how their character traits mimic that of a good leader. Make word art like this using those character traits. Include their names if you want. Put this in your journal if possible.
God guides us, sometimes through family, friends, and inspiration. We have to trust in the Lord to experience His plans in their fullness, both in forms of timing and listening. Esther and Ruth both listened to God through their family’s advice, and in their own minds. Esther told her attendants, family, and friends to fast for her; and this was an act of trust in God’s plans. He readily provided the guidance she needed to save her people. Ruth listened to her mother-in-law and went to Boaz, and in the directions she was offered, gained the husband she was meant to be with.
Write about times when you have listened to God, and succeeded. How has His word reflected your own need to be guided? Do the books of Esther and Ruth teach you anything you needed to hear or learn? Put this under the heading “Day Four”.
As you learn to listen to God, make a playlist of songs you feel will help you listen to God when you feel you are going astray. They can be contemporary Christian songs, hymns, or even good secular tunes. Make it using your heart, not your mind, and record the songs in a line in your notebook.
Esther and Ruth faced loss, fear, and many trials before God’s plans were fully revealed. Their suffering was a means to get them where they needed to be. Ruth lost her first husband, and had to travel to a place she had never been before. Esther lost both her parents, had to hide her faith, and even faced potential death to save her people.
Have you ever gone through a ‘storm’ and ended up much happier, holier, and spiritually fed on the other end of it? How has God revealed His great plan for your life through tribulation? Write about your experiences under the heading “Day Five” and remember to look back on it when you are having a tough time.
Make a palm of gratitude by tracing your hand in your notebook and filling it up with all the blessings you have. Use different colours, doodles, and as many words as you’d like. These things can be both spiritual gifts and physical ones.
How have Esther and Ruth’s stories changed your life? Have they shown you an aspect or face of God you have never seen? What can everyone, not just Christians, take away from them?