The Girl’s Still Got It: Chapter 2

Bible Study Blog "The Girl's Still Got It"

Chapter Two: “Coming or Going?”
Ruth 1:6-14

Your heartfelt comments on this blog and on Facebook have been hugely encouraging, dear sisters. Thanks to your enthusiasm, our weekly Bible Study is working! If you’re just joining us this week, welcome. You’ll find the Introduction and Chapter One of The Girl’s Still Got it covered in Week 1 of my blog. Catch up with us as time permits. We’ll be here for you!

This week we start walking with Naomi, Ruth, and Orpah, though they certainly don’t get very far. If you’ve ever had to tell someone news they didn’t want to hear, you can probably empathize with Naomi, who waited until she saw Moab in her rearview mirror before she finally told her daughters-in-law, “Turn back.”

Meanwhile, it’s time for us to turn to the Study Guide questions and see what we can mine from Chapter Two:

1. a. In the much-loved parable recorded in Luke 15:11–20, find three or four ways in which the prodigal son’s story parallels Naomi’s experience of moving to a distant country.
If you’ve never thought of Naomi as a prodigal daughter of Israel, I hope this exercise helped you get a clearer picture of both her rebellion and her repentance. Here are the parallels I found:

Running Away from Home
Just as Luke 15:13 tells us the younger son “set off for a distant country,” so Ruth 1:1 reveals that Naomi and her family “went to live for a while in the country of Moab.” Both places were not only far away geographically, but also far from God.

Suffering Loss and Despair
Living in those distant lands soon proved disastrous. For the prodigal son, Luke 15:14 states, “there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need.” As for our prodigal daughter in Ruth 1:5, “Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.” Both our OT and NT prodigals were left with nothing. However humbling, going back was their only option.

Turning Toward Home
In Luke 15:18 the prodigal son decides, “I will set out and go back to my father,” even as in Ruth 1:6 we learn, “Naomi and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home.”

Receiving the Father’s Love
Though the moving description of the prodigal son’s homecoming isn’t paralleled in the book of Ruth, the father we see in Luke 15:20—“his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him”—is the same Heavenly Father who wooed Naomi home to Bethlehem: God never lost sight of her in Moab, never stopped loving her, made certain she arrived home safely, had a welcoming party for her at the town gate, and provided for her through Ruth’s loyalty and Boaz’s generosity.

Oh, Father, your love astounds us! Even when we run away, you draw us back into your warm embrace.

1. b. When you read my challenge “You and I need to leave the Moab of our own making,” what situation in your life came to mind?
Groan. I know exactly what my Moab is. Year after year my weight keeps creeping up, one careless bite at a time. I also know the steps I need to take ( is a click away). My head is ready; it’s the rest of me that’s stubbornly refusing to get on board. Yet, as 1 Samuel 2:3 reminds us, “the Lord is a God who knows, and by him deeds are weighed.” Pounds too. Sigh.

My husband stands ready to help me. Dare I take the first step—actually more like the 115th first step—today? Pray for me, beloved. It’s time. And if you choose to confess here the Moab of your own making, you can be sure I’ll pray for you too.

1. c. How would you define God’s grace?
Now this is a question I am happy to answer. Grace is the gift of forgiveness for our sins, provided through the atoning sacrifice of God’s Son. Grace, in a single word, is love.

John 1:16–17 declares that grace and truth walk hand in hand; Romans 3:22–24 makes it clear we’re all sinners, we all need grace, and faith in Christ is how we receive it; 2 Corinthians 9:8 show us how God pours out his grace in abundance; and Ephesians 2:8–9, one of my absolute favorites, reminds us that God’s grace is a gift, not something we earn.

1. d. How does the gift of grace empower us to “follow…revere…obey…serve…and hold fast,” as Deuteronomy 13:4 commands?
We can’t follow unless he leads, we can’t revere without a holy one to worship, we can only obey if he gives us the strength to do so, we serve because his love compels us to, and he holds fast to us, even more than we hold fast to him. In other words, it’s ALL GOD. And it’s ALL GRACE.

2. a. Write down the various ways this Hebrew word shubh is translated (I’m using the NIV 1984):
                                 To Bethlehem or Moab?   To the true God or false gods?
Ruth 1:6  “return”                      To Bethlehem           To the true God
Ruth 1:7  “back”                        To Bethlehem           To the true God
Ruth 1:8  “go back”                   To Moab                    To false gods
Ruth 1:10  “go back”                 To Bethlehem           To the true God
Ruth 1:11  “return home”          To Moab                    To false gods
Ruth 1:12   “return home”         To Moab                    To false gods
Ruth 1:15   “going back”           To Moab                    To false gods
Ruth 1:15   “go back”                To Moab                    To false gods
Ruth 1:16   (don’t) “turn back”   To Moab                   To false gods
Ruth 1:21  “brought back”         To Bethlehem           To the true God
Ruth 1:22  “returned”                To Bethlehem           To the true God
Ruth 1:22  “accompanied” *      To Bethlehem          To the true God
“ The KJV makes this double usage in Ruth 1:22 more apparent: “So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab.”

Turning Back Like Orpah

2. b. What is God saying to you with this repeated call to “return”?
More than once I’ve stood at a crossroads in my life, wondering which way the Lord might be leading me. The above exercise makes it abundantly clear. If I am walking toward the true God, I am going in the right direction. If I’m pursing anything other than him—avarice, applause, approval—I’m definitely heading the wrong way.

3. a. Since the scholars have yet to pinpoint the meaning of Orpah’s name, why do you think she’s traditionally known as “the Stiff-Necked One”?
I understand this one all too well (see 1.b. above!). Orpah chose the familiar, the comfortable, the known. Change does not come easily to stiff-necked people because we are forced to look in a new direction. We have to be flexible and try new ways of doing things. Most of all, we must lower our heads in humility. Hard to do when our necks are stiff!

3. b. What does Deuteronomy 10:16 tell us about being stiff-necked?
“Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer.” Good grief. Could the Lord make this any clearer? It’s our hearts that need changing. Our outward actions will fall in line once our inward selves are made new. I’m listening, Lord.

3. c. What have you gleaned from Orpah’s small but significant role in this narrative?
Until this moment, I didn’t realize how much like stiff-necked Orpah I can be. Not a pretty sight. She went back to Moab, back to her false gods. Lord, that is the very last place I want to go. Help me turn in the right direction and not look back.

Now. I hope you’ll share a point or two that really spoke to you this week from Chapter Two of The Girl’s Still Got It and/or from Ruth 1:6–14.

Your next assignment? Read Chapter Three, “A Wow of a Vow,” answer the three Study Guide questions, then join us here next Wednesday and we’ll compare notes.

Hope you don’t mind that I respond to each comment. I just want you to know how dear you are to me. Please feel free to encourage each other as well. That’s one of the benefits of opening God’s Word together: we can also open our hearts.

Your sister, Liz

83 Responses to The Girl’s Still Got It: Chapter 2

  1. Betsy C. September 12, 2012 at 8:40 am #

    I guess I’m the early riser in this Bible study group! My Moab is probably weight too. Although whenever I step out of the shower in the mornings and see myself in the mirror I STILL think “tada!”. Thank you, Liz for so much encouragement and for helping us all to return to the Lord’s graces.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 12, 2012 at 10:41 am #

      Oh yes, Betsy! Still “Ta-da!” for who God created us to be. Just trying to take better care of my health, so I can say “Ta-da!” for many years to come. ;>) And you KNOW how much I love encouraging my sisters!

  2. Linda C September 12, 2012 at 9:03 am #

    Weight…oh I know that Moab too! But slowly this past year both hubby and I are relearning correct portions. It feels good. And the best part? We taste and appreciate each bite so much more! I still thank God for the gift of cinnamon and apples! Ok, yes, chocolate too! Just hoping Scotland doesn’t undo all my learning!

    My Moab now is time wasters, like iPad games and Internet shopping or browsing. What I learned in this chapter is how important it is to keep returning my eyes to Jesus all day long…ever grateful for all His blessings!

    It IS all God, all grace! Thanks, Liz, for your reminders, your honesty and encouragement!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 12, 2012 at 10:45 am #

      No worries about a trip abroad undoing your efforts. As a general rule U.K. portions are far smaller than we dish out in the U.S. As for time wasters, yes, I get that temptation as well. It’s one reason I make sure my email box each morning is filled with great devotionals from et al to get me focused in the right direction. Press on, dear Linda!

  3. Diane W. Bailey September 12, 2012 at 9:59 am #

    Your comments about Orpah have struck a cord in my heart. In my journal today I have asked the Lord to show me the gods in my life; things that are familiar to me, things that are “just the way my family does it” kind of gods. In a crisis Orpah went back to the familiar and that is where I am feeling the need to evaluate myself with the leading of the Holy Spirit.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 12, 2012 at 10:50 am #

      I’m so with you on this, Diane. It’s easy to hurry past Orpah’s story, but it’s included in God’s Word for a reason. When I responded to this week’s Study Questions, that reason (gulp) became abundantly clear. May the Lord show each of us those “familiar” gods that beckon us to turn back instead of walking forward with God.

  4. Dr. Laurel Shaler September 12, 2012 at 11:23 am #

    Hi Liz! First of all, I did not get a chance to reply to your reply last week…a recorded message at your own funeral? AWESOME!!!

    For this week: the prodigal son and Naomi both had desires and needs…they left because of the former, they returned because of the latter. Grace truly is God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense (G.R.A.C.E.)! We can follow, revere, obey, serve, and hold fast to Jesus because. we. want. to. We are not under any law but HIS awesome modeling of love compels us to love. Orpah was rigid and fearful…she chose what is comfortable. I frequently am the same way, but choose to follow Christ!

    God bless you, Liz!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 12, 2012 at 11:29 am #

      Thanks for your succinct summary of Chapter Two, Laurel, and that wonderful definition of GRACE. May those riches abound in us, such that others see God’s love more clearly.

    • Genie September 20, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

      God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense = GRACE. I love this acronym!!! This will help me not to take God’s Grace for granted. I need to realize every moment of every day what an enormous gift I have been given–in fact, the best gift in the whole universe. I don’t know if this is a Moab, but I have to remind myself not to take this precious gift for granted.

  5. Debbie Kay September 12, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    Hi Liz! I was so very very blessed to see and hear you when you came to Mechanicsville, Virginia, several years ago. Over the years I’ve told soooo many women how you had about 200 women laughing so hard we had tears running down our legs! I still have the “Ta Da” I bought at your meeting and own all your books. Nothing slips by me! I even have one autographed. You were the first person (and I’m old..59) who ever made me search the Bible for certain scriptures when I started your book “Bad Girls of the Bible”. It was so new to me and I loved it – it made me learn new scripture and new stories. My first name is Deborah – I always tell people it’s spelled like the Deborah in the Bible. I just know you are a real gift from God and I adore you! Every single morning I see your “TaDa” and the laminated sheet that came with it and I think of you with great smiles. Many hugs to you, Deborah

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 13, 2012 at 9:56 pm #

      Girl, you’re not old! 59? Younger than springtime, my dear. Love that we connected years ago and again now. Hugs back!

    • Debbie September 17, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

      This message is for Debbie Kay referring to her name
      Deborah in the bible. The Hebrew way for Deborah is
      spelled as “Devorah”.
      A good name!

  6. Kim September 12, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

    Giving our Blessing – I loved your comment on page 34 – “It’s heartening to think our words might matter to the next generation, just as Naomi’s did to her daughters-in-law.”

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 13, 2012 at 10:00 pm #

      I’m very grateful for our d-i-l, who not only loves our son, she loves and honors us as well. (And her parents. And her grandmother.) So glad that story encouraged you, Kim!

  7. Shelly K September 12, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    My Moab has been unkind thoughts and words. I love to be in on a juicy piece of gossip or to complain about my co-workers. I have really been trying to focus on Ephesians 4:29
    “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
    I am hoping with a new perspective on it I will be even less tempted. I don’t want to go back to Moab!

    • Diana September 13, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

      thank you for your comment Shelly. I have memorized that verse and so desire to do what it says, especially with my husband. Why do I talk ugly and am impatient, condesending and irritable with him and not others. I hate it.! PLEASE pray for me.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 13, 2012 at 10:02 pm #

      Shelly, I truly appreciate your honesty. It’s hard to put such things into words, yet I think that’s the first step out of Moab. Walk on, sister!

      • Liz Curtis Higgs September 16, 2012 at 9:16 pm #

        And Diana, I’m glad you chimed in, letting Shelly know she’s not alone. If we can’t be honest with each other, how can we speak truth to a hurting world? Well done, sisters.

  8. Sue September 12, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

    Liz, I enjoy reading your comments to each question, sometimes my answers are different but yours drives home a new point to ponder. I feel this week lesson, I was in limbo, I see myself has Ruth the follower but than I see myself has Orpah. My heart and my faith keeps me on the right path. Blessing until next week.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 13, 2012 at 10:06 pm #

      Just file my answers under “one woman’s opinion,” Sue. I toss ’em out there for what they’re worth, but YOUR responses to these Study Guide questions are what matter. You can trust God to guide you in the right direction!

  9. Dalyn Weller September 12, 2012 at 5:47 pm #

    I love that you answer each question, I just don’t have the time right now with the little ones always needing something, but I do love to read the blog! Mostly I do it on my iPhone from the livingroom floor with the babies around. 🙂
    My Moab is negativity. It’s a state of mind I can get into and believe it or not in tense or anxious moments it’s easier because it’s familiar. How sick is that? But true. Anyway, I am reminded this week to Shubh-return- from that ungodly and unfaithful state and Shubh to the state of mind that is renewed in Christ- Who makes all things new and Who has unlimitted power and Who does not fail or disappoint!
    Thanks Liz

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 13, 2012 at 10:10 pm #

      Those little ones are far more important than answering questions, Dalyn, so good call there. ;>) Bless you for confessing your self-made Moab. You are not alone, and stress definitely makes everything worse. Praying for you, as promised, sis!

  10. Linda H September 12, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

    I will be praying for you on your journey to weight loss. I have been on a three year
    adventure with Weight Watchers that brought me amazing results. It began with giving myself to the Lord and asking for His guidance each day, each meal. This past year
    there have been so many hardships that have clouded the road ahead. I love the comment on page 39, “that suffering grinds away our pride and self-sufficiency. It also prepares our hearts for the blessing to come. I am looking ahead and turning around for the amazing blessing ahead. Thank you for an aswesome study that is challenging me turn to around and run to God.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 13, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

      Thanks so much, Linda. It’s heartening to hear from someone who is farther down the path. “Each day, each meal”–so wise. And I’m grateful God is speaking to your heart as well. The incredible thing to me is that our Heavenly Father runs to us: “he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” Luke 15:20 What a welcome home!

  11. Brandi Luiz September 12, 2012 at 9:07 pm #

    God’s grace… Continually giving me love when I keep trying to do it on my own.
    Man, I need to get it through my thick skull that His ways are better than my ways. The things that I am struggling with… my marriage mostly… is for my character development, my faith building, my personal relationship with Jesus. Laying it all at HIS feet and not grabbing it back.
    Thanks Liz,


    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 13, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

      Brandi, I’m praying for each one of the things you’ve mentioned here. THANK YOU for your trust and honesty. Walking with you, one step at a time.

    • Kelley October 3, 2012 at 11:05 pm #

      Brandi—right there with ya–“I need to get it through my thick skull that His ways are better than my ways.” Kind like a V8 moment. I pray we both “get it” Thanks for your honesty.

  12. Carol September 13, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

    Just now receiving the book on my Kindle. Looking forward to running to catch up with the rest of you ladies!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 13, 2012 at 10:27 pm #

      Don’t laugh, Carol, but I loaded the book on my Kindle too! That way if my Kindle readers have questions, I might be in a better position to answer them. Seems to work fine. ;>) Thanks for joining us!

  13. Leslie Benson September 13, 2012 at 3:29 pm #

    As we get deeper into the story in Ruth I find that instead of relating so much with Ruth as I did as a younger woman, I am now relating so much more to Naomi. Our son married this summer to a wonderful young lady. She has become such a terrific addition to our family but I still find myself weighing my words and actions with her carefully. What a burden Naomi had to carry and what courage it must have taken to ask her daughters-in-law to return to their homes!

    Thank goodness for grace – it allows us to forgive our past and present failings (God did), to pick ourselves up and to keep pressing toward the goal!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 13, 2012 at 10:31 pm #

      I’m with you, Leslie: it’s all-Naomi-all-the-time at my house too! I’m constantly second-guessing things I say and do with our adorable d-i-l. As you wisely say, thank goodness for grace. “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Philippians 3:12

  14. Kathy Welch September 13, 2012 at 8:16 pm #

    Hi Liz,

    I couldn’t stop…..I read it all and closed your book in tears (of joy). I loved it and you’ve opened my eyes and heart to Ruth and Naomi – and God’s love for them and ME. I’ll never read the book of Ruth the same again. Thank you! After I raved about your book so much, my daughter-in-law wanted to read it so I loaned her my copy. Can’t wait to hear what she thinks about it….and also to get my book back. 🙂

    I was raised in a church that had more “laws” than “grace.” There were lots of “Don’t Do” lists. I always just accepted it and never questioned anything…..until I was older. It’s still easy for me to return to my Moab of “the law…a list of do’s and don’ts.” But when the dust settles I’m so thankful for the Ruth’s and Naomi’s in my life who help me keep traveling toward “grace.”

    I would like to think Orpah went back home to her family, but turned to the true and living God. But in all reality, it sounds like that didn’t happen. So sad.

    Thank you for your encouragement. I’m praying for you.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 16, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

      What a blessing that you read the book straight through, Kathy. God must have been whispering in your heart, turning those pages so quickly! No question, the “Law” is a Moab that’s VERY hard to leave behind for the Promised Land, where “Grace” reigns. So glad you’re making that journey, surrounded by sisters in Christ.

  15. Shelley September 14, 2012 at 9:35 am #

    Hi there! As I was reading your words get out of Moab, it is malnutrition, lifelessness, death all I could think of was thank God! he has helped me out of the situation I was in. He has been with me … guiding me and He did not abandon me. He had been with me up these past 7 years giving me his strength and guidance in my workplace, which had become very toxic…. but … it was my comfort zone. I knew this job inside and out, I had worked every position in the building … but I also knew that things were not good at this work place and that the evil one was working there too. Good workers were coming and going. I kept praying that things would change and it would be better ….
    Well things did change for me … I know that the good lord was walking with me and holding me up throughout all of this… we have a magic 80 for retirement, years of service and age, and I was able to retire at the age of 52 …. ooohhh another scary thought, can we do this now, we have house reno`s we are doing, can I really afford to quit … but for my health and sanity I needed to. I feel the anxiety, maybe like Naomi, of moving back into the unknown … I am going forth … and like Naomi I will keep my eyes on the Lord and trust that HE will lead me to where I am to go. I am now looking forward to see what new adventure I am to go on to!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 14, 2012 at 11:27 am #

      An adventure indeed, Shelley! Frightening, yes, and exciting too. Can’t wait to hear what you learn along the way, as you travel not only with Ruth and Naomi, but also with your husband. You are renovating your house, all right! May God bless you as you trust him even more fully and say with all your hearts, “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

    • Brenda Pointer September 16, 2012 at 10:01 pm #

      I thought about the tough work environments and other abusive situations, too. We get stuck in them; wondering if life can be better or different. People will say, “It’s like that everwhere!” and “God never gives you more than you can handle.” But, I turned to God and decided to follow him. My options follow man or God. Tough decision! NOT! When I feel stressed, anxious, worried, etc. I stop and call on God! Isolation isn’t good. But, spiritual healing and support needs to come from those that are spiritual. If I need help with my cell phone I call Sprint.

  16. Krista M September 14, 2012 at 9:55 am #

    My Moab is definately anxiety and worry. I can relate to Dalyn Weller’s comments. It is easier for me to have a state of mind that’s worried because it’s familiar. And if I’m not worried about something, I’ll find something to worry about! God has been helping me to daily give all my anxieties to Him, and He promises to give me peace “which transcends all understanding” (Philippians 4:4-7). When Naomi decided to return home, she had no idea what would be waiting for her when she got there. I’m sure she was worried, or at least tempeted to worry, about what would happen when she arrived. Would her family recieve her? Would her friends welcome her? After all, she had been living in Moab for 10 or more years. Despite any fears she may have had, she obeyed God, and God blessed her and Ruth far more than she probably ever dreamed! That is what God has been speaking to me this week. If I am following God’s leading in my life I do not need to worry about where I will go or what will happen. God is faithful to His children. He loves us, and wants to give us His very best. I will never be disappointed when I trust in my Heavenly Father.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 14, 2012 at 11:29 am #

      WOW, Krista, God is clearly teaching you through his Word…THRILLING! Thanks for sharing your discoveries this week. I can’t wait to hear what lessons you’ll glean from Chapter 3!

  17. Liz September 14, 2012 at 10:31 pm #

    My size has been my Moab all my life. Tall and not willowy. Large hands and flat feet. I have had such a dissatisfaction with my body. I am trying to accept myself and be grateful to be alive. It is a gravelly road with many potholes. My prayer is to find something to celebrate each day that is NOT about me.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 16, 2012 at 9:22 pm #

      I completely understand about celebrating something that ISN’T about you, Liz. God offers us many things to shout for joy about: his love, his grace, his provision, his protection, and most of all his Son. Whatever size or shape we are today, and however committed we are to leaving our Moabs behind and walking fully into God’s embrace, I still believe with all my heart that we gotta start each day with “Ta-da!” Self-loathing is the enemy’s voice murmuring in our ears, not the Lord’s loving voice. Watch the potholes, dear sister, and keep walking!

  18. Janet Prox September 15, 2012 at 5:49 pm #

    You make me think too much. I am not really sure I could be a Ruth. There are a lot of times I am more like Orpah. I like my comforts. Unfortunately, that includes all the chocolate I can eat whenever I want to. So my Moab would be more my attitude within and forget self-discipline. I also speaks of over-weight but I think it goes a lot deeper than just snacking all the time. Guess I will add my own prayer about attitude along with all other requests. Love you and your study. Thanks.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 16, 2012 at 9:25 pm #

      Oh, Janet, making you think is my goal! ;>)) We ALL like our comforts, no question. We ALL have our Moabs that promise us joy and deliver nothing but sorrow. That’s why I love this promise from Jesus: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

  19. Andrea September 15, 2012 at 7:55 pm #

    I’m right there with you on the weight thing. I always have good intentions until faced with reality! finances is another are we are working to improve on. The weaknesses I see in myself in these two areas are very similar. I keep thinking if I can figure out how to let God be in control of one then the other should come easily. I tend to want to be in control and not let go even though I know better. Some days are better than others.

    Orpah is interesting. I can understand her decision to stay. It would be terribly hard to leave all you know to go to the unlnown. Ruth definitely had to have a sense of adventure among all her other admirable qualities. I guess the biggest difference was following the voice or inner whispers of our Father. I try to follow that voice. Letting it not be drowned out by the world can be a challenge.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 16, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

      I hear you, Andrea. Here’s the thing about “letting God be in control.” He already IS in control! ;>) “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.” Romans 8:9 When my “self” demands control (which it does A LOT), I remember those words and remind myself that I belong to God and he knows what’s best for me. Clearly, I don’t! Praise God for his PATIENCE.

  20. Phronsie September 16, 2012 at 1:22 am #

    My Moab is being lazy and/or procrastination. I have good intentions but bad follow-through. My house cleaning skills are lacking so I always make a plan for how to tackle the house work that ends up going well for a while but falls to the wayside because I’d rather play with the kids. Totally understand that there’s nothing wrong with wanting to play with your kids while they’re still young but I need to find a balance between the two.

    I kind of thing Orpah was called “stiff necked” because instead of turning her head to look back and decide “I don’t need that”, she turned her whole body. I can’t explain my train of thought really but it made sense to me this morning.

    This bunch of reading has reminded me that no matter where we end up in life, God has what we need. He always has, but it’s our choice to go get it or not.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 16, 2012 at 9:32 pm #

      I’m so glad you decided playing with your kids matters more than cleaning your house. ABSOLUTELY, sister!

      With Orpah turning back, I always think about her ancestress, Lot’s Wife, who also turned back…and died. We’re listening, Lord!

    • Amy September 28, 2012 at 9:54 am #

      I am so with you right now! The clutter is overwhelming and the constant toynadoes from my 16mo and now attitude and back-talk from the 10yo! It’s easier to be lazy and procrastinate when I should be getting my work done but am so tired! May we be encouraged today to tackle one project at a time!

  21. Laura September 16, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

    This week’s lesson really had me thinking…My Moab totally is my weight…Its what I’ve gone to and still go to for comfort if I am totally honest..The LORD and I have overcome alot in the last few years..Ok, he’s done it all 100% but my weight is still like my thorn in the flesh however I know that its not GOD’s plan for me to be this much over-weight.
    I’ve thought alot about Orpah and why she went back…Cause it may have been easier to what she knew. I often think that I go back to what I know to feel that void even though it should be GOD who fills that place…I so want to leave this and press on but frankley its so hard…

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 16, 2012 at 9:35 pm #

      It IS hard, Laura. Confess it, accept it, yet let’s help each other not get stuck in it. We’ll keep reading, keep walking, keep listening, keep learning, knowing that NONE of our struggles are a surprise or disappointment to God. He is using ALL of them to recreate us in the image of his Son.

      • laura September 17, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

        You are so right…sometimes we get stuck in that its hard and don’t know where to go from there! You just keep on pressing on and I know that GOD is going to use these struggles as he molds us into what he wants us to be.

  22. Brenda Pointer September 16, 2012 at 9:51 pm #

    I so appreciate your God given gift of being able to combine biblical truths, history, and story telling; in a way that produces application to the reader. I feel I have been transported to that time and yet I feel a kindred spirit to the women. Even today with the vast methods of keeping connected to others, we still find that those not physically in our area can become isolated from family and friends. I have seen many cases where God has brought his children home to family and friends; for healing and loving. Isolation is never good. So, I look at both young women, Ruth and Orpah, and wonder did God have somethng planned for Orpah. Her path was back to home and I wonder what else she carried back home with her besides the bag on her back. A seed had been planted. Did it take root! Did it produce! We’ll never know. We know that Naomi blessed each young woman. I like a good ending. I’m hoping Orpah made a difference in someone else’s life! I know God has made a difference in mind! Chapter 3, here I come!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 17, 2012 at 8:34 am #

      Oh yes, those happy endings! I love them too, Brenda. I’m afraid I don’t hold as much hope for Orpah as you do, since she went back to her false gods rather than seeking after the true God. Such stories in God’s Word are meant to show us the wisdom of turning in the right direction and the folly of turning in the wrong one. Still, it would be wonderful if we found Orpah among the heavenly saints with a story of her own to tell. That’s why I never tire of sharing the Good News. We never know who might be an Orpah, still stuck in Moab!

      • Brenda Pointer September 17, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

        You are so right! We all have options but in making a decision we have to look at the outcome of each choice available. I work with young adults with disablities and teach them how to determine the best choice given the outcome of each. Yet, I am afraid to say that as public educators we are success oriented. Orpah had two options with differing outcomes. Thanks for helping me to see the bigger picture.
        Loving the study and the opportunity for one on one tutoring:-)

  23. Marcia September 17, 2012 at 11:02 pm #

    I have several moabs that I’m trying to work on. The last few months of my life have involved a lot of soul searching and decision making, and I believe with the Lord’s help, I will work through this period in my life. I have traveled many roads in my adult life, some that have brought me close to God and others that have pulled me too far away. But through it all, I’ve always felt God’s presence and His patience as He waits for me to turn back to Him. This is my first Bible study, and I believe I was led to this for a reason. I can’t wait to find out that reason!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 18, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

      We, too, can’t wait to find out the reason you’ve joined us, Marcia! Yes, the Lord is extraordinarily patient with us, one of the many definitions of grace. May he shower you with it abundantly this day!

    • Bonnie Roof September 19, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

      I’ve found that one of the many wonderful benefits of a bible study group is Gods’ speaking through other people to clarify his word for me.

  24. Bonnie Roof September 18, 2012 at 10:48 am #

    You struck a nerve with many of us re: weight issues, myself included. Although I have previously weighed even more than I now do – this is an issue in which I daily seek God’s guidance & pray for the discipline to maintain the food plan needed to maintain weight loss on a regular basis. I continually study nutrition, weight loss, exercise etc., etc. – I certainly know what needs to be done to lose weight, why don’t I do it regularly? I also know what the bible says re: my body being a temple (why do I continually defile it?) & that the perfect food plan is given in scripture – if I will just follow it.

    I continually return to my unhealthy eating habits as Orpah returned to Moab & I continually return to God for help in defeating those habits. God continues to show me his grace (love) even though I continue to stumble.

    Like Oprah, there have been times when I have been stiff-necked & needed a change of heart. Even though I have been courageous enough to make some difficult changes in my past, there have also been times when I was resistant to change & the possibility that through those changes – God had something better in store for me. Orpah’s story helps us to realize the seriousness of our daily options & the importance of making the right choices.

    Thank you for your comments to each blog entry. The options help us reason, even further, about the mentioned subject.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 18, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

      Thanks for your honesty, Bonnie. So right there with you. God’s plan for us is always for our good. What he doesn’t promise us is that it will be easy! It’s his loving-kindness that keeps us going, for which this girl is grateful.

  25. Debbie September 18, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

    Orpah like me had a “flesh” problem and may I share this scripture dear to my
    heart with you as a reminder not to return back to Moab.
    Haggai 1:5-7 Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to
    your ways. 6 You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but
    never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are
    not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it”.
    7 This is what the LORD Almighty says” “Give careful thought to your ways.
    Orpah chose Moab and may we remember that Moab in our lives, whether it is food,
    anger, jealousy. May this verse in Haggai be of help to you as it is for me….

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 18, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

      POWERFUL passage of Scripture, Debbie, in an often overlooked book of the Bible. (I definitely own that purse with the holes in it!) “Give careful thought…” Wise counsel, and from the Lord’s mouth. Father God, help us not only be hearers, but also doers.

  26. Tera September 20, 2012 at 9:28 am #

    My Moab of myown makings, I was unfaithful to God, to my husband, to my son, ultimately to myself… I let my flesh get in the way of my contentment, I became Orpah -stiff necked and unmovable. 🙁
    Sadly as the flesh is always competing for control, even though the Father forgave and forgot as scripture tells us. It was not until about 3weeks ago,almost 8 1/2 years after God untangled me from the mess that I made. I was then i was able to 100% realize,Oh duh!! Why do I live like a condemned person when I am not!
    My husband and I have worked in ministry for about 4 years now and we had to leave our home church for a short mission God had, to a church where no one knew us and I felt I was able to minister and teach in an environment where no one knew my past. How liberating it was…
    Then after some things beyond our control we had to leave our place as Associate Pastors and go ‘home’. Back to a church where my sin started, my insecurities ran high, where my self doubt lingered, where most everyone knew my past…
    The Third week we were back the spirit of God moved in a might way and that is where my revelation happened.. I felt God saying you are more then worthy, you have been refined by My fire and strengthened through Me alone. If you will keep your eyes on Me all will be well…
    The journey has not been easy over these years but I cling to a knowledge that He will always see me thru.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 21, 2012 at 7:22 am #

      Rejoicing in God’s revelation of his GRACE, Tera! God has indeed forgiven you completely. Sometimes it takes God’s people a little longer (okay, maybe a LOT longer) to follow his example. Serve them anyway, love them anyway, minister to them anyway, assured of your heavenly Father’s calling. This is one of my life verses; bet it’s yours too: “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.” 1 Timothy 1:15-16

  27. Genie September 20, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

    Two of my Moabs are busy-ness and my tongue.
    I am working on slowing down. I decided, about a month ago, that Sunday would be a day of rest. To honor God. So far, so good. I believe that God is “redeeming the time” of the rest of the week, so that everything (well, almost everything–but it was that way before, even with not resting on Sunday) gets done. It is so wonderful to sit in the chaise on my back porch and enjoy the scenery (we live on acreage), to be able to have uninterrupted time with the Lord and to take a long nap, not a catnap.
    As for my tongue, I have to trust the Holy Spirit to work on that, ’cause just when I think I have a rein on my tongue–it runs away from me. Thank God for Grace. I know I can run to Him and He will help me “get back on that horse and ride.” I do see improvement in what comes out of my mouth, but there’s still a long way to go. And, it is humbling to realize what comes out of the mouth originates in the heart.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 21, 2012 at 7:36 am #

      Yes, yes, yes, Genie. I so get these two struggles, and so do many of our sisters, I’m sure. Although there are far more mentions of observing the Sabbath in the Old Testament than in the New, the final word is this: “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his.” Hebrews 4:9-10 We’re listening, Lord. And resting.

  28. Deanna September 25, 2012 at 7:52 am #

    My group of ladies finished chapter 2 last night. After reading all of the comments on here this morning, I have sent them an email including the link to this blog so they can share the great thoughts on here too! All of us agreed that we never knew we could learn so much from someone like Orpah who was only mentioned in the Bible in the first 14 verses of Ruth and then never heard from again! This only proves that with God nothing or NO ONE is insignificant and that every choice we make holds eternal consequences. We are LOVING this study!!
    Blessings to ALL!
    The Gals in Malta, OH

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 27, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

      Hugs to all our Malta sisters! I’ll welcome their comments in the weeks to come. And I love your summary of Orpah’s story…SO true!

  29. Steffennie September 27, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

    My Moab is my past. I have some very deep scars and hurts cause by a family member. A lot of the time these things make me feel broken or like used goods that no one could ever truly and fully love. I have to remember that in these things I was the victim, but I don’t have to stay the victim. I’m trying hard to fight the fear and all the other feelings that come with these scars. I know God will use what I’ve been through for His good, but I need to feel that completely in my heart and soul. I have a great support system and they’re helping me go through the steps toward healing no matter how painful they may be. It’s still something that I need a lot of God’s help with because otherwise I’ll never be able to make it. I have to take it one step at a time, but I no longer feel lost in the dark or completely alone.
    The biggest thing that I took away from this chapter was that our choices have consequences, whether good or bad. Sometimes doing the right thing/choosing the right path, doesn’t mean choosing the easy one.
    I can’t wait to get started on the next chapter.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs September 29, 2012 at 6:03 am #

      Dear Steffennie, I stand in complete awe of how you are healing and growing after such a difficult and painful experience. I am grateful the Lord has surrounded you with friends and family to assure you that you’re not alone. And your closing statement shows a wisdom far beyond your years. May God continue to fill you with his peace!

  30. Amy September 28, 2012 at 10:02 am #

    I got behind but I’m still here! I have so many Moabs right now. My Bestie is encouraging me to change but it’s so hard to change everything at once! I need to get back to church (especially for my kids), to conquer clutter in the home AND in the body, to spend less and save more, to give more, to stay positive, to not harbor jealousy, to be less selfish. So many things! Sometimes I want to chuck it all and just start over! Which makes me a twinge jealous of Naomi, doesn’t it! Except my family isn’t one of the things I want to chuck!! 🙂

    • Liz Curtis Higgs November 10, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

      So glad to hear you want to hang on to your family, Amy! ;>)) I sure get that desire to just start over. Here’s the wonderful thing about God: his mercies are new every morning! So we DO start each day fresh spiritually. As for your long list, I think most of us feel the same way (different lists, maybe, but some frustration). Pray about which one God would have you work on first, and focus on that for awhile. When you have a family, it’s so easy for clutter to take over. Pick one room and get it just the way you like it. Show it to your family and enlist their help in getting the other rooms to look like that. ;>)) I know it sounds simplistic, but it really does work. Sometimes they need to see what you mean by clean! God’s blessings on you, my sister, as you seek to leave your Moab behind.

  31. Terri September 29, 2012 at 11:03 pm #

    Thanks Liz for this blog.It’s so wonderful to read your thoughts to each question. In answering Question 3C above, like you, prior to this study I hadn’t though much of Orpah. But thinking about this and her choice to return home, it made me wonder what her home was like when her husband was alive. Did her husband turn from God and follow her gods? Is that why if was so easy to return to the familiar? Then it makes me think of Ruth and her husband. Could he have worshiped God in their home and thus introduced Ruth to the one true God? Maybe she had made a decision many years prior to Naomi asking her to turn around and return to Moab.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs October 8, 2012 at 12:41 am #

      I, too, have lots of questions about what their lives were like “between the lines,” as it were. We can’t know for certain. This we do know: in Ruth’s spoken vow to Naomi, she is clearly stating her belief in the one true God. She doesn’t credit either Naomi or her husband for teaching her about God, but she can see for herself how powerful God is, as Naomi continually points out. Thanks for your good questions and insights!

  32. Kelli October 3, 2012 at 9:11 am #

    I am facilitating this study as a Sunday school class in our church. I wanted to share with you that your book Embrace Grace has come in very handy while doing this study. I have referenced it a few times so far. I think for many of us former Bad Girls, myself included, accepting the free gift of grace can feel overwhelming. But God is bigger than our Moab and much more free than our “tightly woven mantle of guilt.” Thank you for your transparency in your writing!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs October 8, 2012 at 12:47 am #

      Delighted you are finding Embrace Grace helpful, Kelli. A real book of my heart, written for exactly the kind of reader you describe: a woman who needs to know how to embrace the freedom of The Forgiven Life. Woo hoo!

  33. Kelley October 3, 2012 at 10:56 pm #

    My Moab is a combination of self imposed, maybe medical-premenapausal/depression, and being “beaten down” by the enemies lies. It’s hard not to listen. The lies slowly creep in, Already, I am gleaning God’s timing for this study! The thought I take away this week is
    “Our outward actions will fall in line when our inward selves are made new.” (he) needs to get out out my head so that there’s more room for His change.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs October 8, 2012 at 12:52 am #

      Each week we’re hearing that the timing is “perfect’ for one of our sisters to be involved in this study. Faithful God, to supply what we need when we need it! No question our hormones can work against us, chemical imbalances can derail us, and the enemy loves to confuse and discourage us. For the first two, a physician and a pharmacist can provide what’s needed. For the third challenge, tell that Bad Boy to take a hike. He has no claim on a heart that belongs to Jesus!

  34. Sara Hurst October 9, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

    I write a weekly column called Side Salad for the Morgan County Herald at McConnelsville, OH where I work. Thought you might enjoy reading last week’s offering:
    I have a love for books, and have all of my life. I still have my first book, The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew. I received it from “Santa Claus” for Christmas 1942. I printed my named inside the front cover with a backwards “S.”
    I can remember my Mother reading the book to me. I think she liked reading the story as much as I enjoyed hearing it read. Books have always been important to our family. Son number one learned to read before he started kindergarten, and he has been reading ever since. He is what we all call “well read.” You can mention any topic, and he can discuss it with you.
    I always have books in various stages of being read at home – generally at least two. Currently, however, I am devoting my attention to our Bible Study at church on a book by Liz Curtis Higgs called The Girl’s Still Got It. It is centered on the Book of Ruth and is being taught by our pastor’s wife, Deanna. She is a good teacher and I am enjoying the study.
    I need to stay away from Liz Curtis Higgs’s website, as I saw one of her books which I thought I needed. It arrived in the mail yesterday, so I am looking forward to reading her book Bad Girls of the Bible. She has also written Really Bad Girls of the Bible and Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible.
    I can’t help but think of the Best-Sellers list I read in the Columbus Dispatch on Sunday. The top three best-sellers are Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, and Fifty Shades Freed, all by E L James.
    I heard on the news the other night that a paper mill in Maine – Great Northern Paper, LLC in East Millinocket, Maine to be specific – resumed operations last fall, after being shut down for a time. The best-selling Fifty Shades trilogy contains 3,000 tons of Baxter Brite paper produced at Great Northern Paper, LLC in East Millinocket, and was responsible for the paper mill resuming operations, according to the report.
    From what I have heard, I am better off to keep my nose in Liz Curtis Higgs’s books. When I was still in high school, my Dad forbid me from reading the Grapes of Wrath, and I have a feeling he is still watching what I am reading.
    Have a good week!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs October 10, 2012 at 7:35 am #

      Bless you for sharing this, Sara. We can be sure our heavenly Father watches what we read and longs for us to feed our minds and hearts with spiritually nutritious food. Please give Deanna a big thank you for teaching my book!

      • Sara Hurst October 17, 2012 at 10:43 am #

        Through my column, Side Salad, I heard from another of your loyal fans, and she suggested several of your books for my reading pleasure. I am enjoying the study of Ruth immensely, and I thank you for The Girl’s Still Got It. God bless you!
        Sara Hurst
        McConnelsville, OH

        • Liz Curtis Higgs November 10, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

          Love those loyal readers! Thanks for letting me know, Sara.

  35. Michele Lemiere November 9, 2012 at 3:40 am #

    I subscibed to your blogg without having the book. In my country the christian books are quiet expensive and I read so much, it’s impossible to buy them all. Nevertheless, I just started to read and ‘study’ your Bible study on Ruth. I just fitts what I need at the moment. The Lord is teaching me through your study. Thank you, Liz.
    Here is what I wrote under the second week:
    Stiffnecked: as long as it stays in my head (and not in my heart) it is too heavy for my neck and it becomes stiff (difficult to bent) and painful.
    The work that happens only from the head is heavy duty and thus gives no joy.
    Lord, give me your joy in my heart.
    Just wanted to share this with you.
    Antwerp, Belgium

    • Liz Curtis Higgs November 10, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

      Delighted to have you join us, Michele. If you have the book of Ruth in hand, that’s truly what matters most. Love your description of what it means to be stiff necked. Blessings to you in Belgium!

  36. Majel February 6, 2013 at 9:43 am #

    Dear Liz, I have just been introduced to your website and I see that I have found a true kindred spirit. Thank you for sharing your insights and treasures so freely.
    Food was my moab for years, but I found grace, forgiveness and healing via a wonderful online Bible Study called “The Lord’s Table.” You can find it at
    May God continue to pour out His revelation to you!