15 “Look,” said Naomi. “Your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.” 16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t try to make me leave you and go back. Where you go I’ll go. Where you stay I’ll stay. Your people will be my people. Your God will be my God. 17 Where you die I’ll die. And there my body will be buried. I won’t let anything except death separate you from me. If I do, may the Lord punish me greatly.” 18 Naomi realized that Ruth had made up her mind to go with her. So she stopped trying to make her go back.
Ruth had every reason to return to her family when her husband died. After some encouragement
her sister-in law made this decision and returned to her family. Ruth, however was adamant that she would remain with her mother-in law, Naomi. Despite Ruth’s husband’s death she was still committed to his family ie Naomi. The family she had married into for better or worse and this was certainly the worse. Ruth made it clear to Naomi that they now shared the same God and people. It would only be death that would separate them. Amazing loyalty!
I can’t imagine the conversation between the two widow women as they headed to Bethlehem.
Can’t have been too positive though. How would they get along without a male in the family? What kind of a livelihood were they facing?
The story of Naomi and Ruth makes me question my own commitment to God and his people, the church. Is there a deal breaker for me? ie. if something really awful was to happen to me would I return to my former ways? To the comfort of old friends and habits. All bets are off God! I’ll take over from here thanks very much. Or would I continue to believe and remain faithful to the point of death like Ruth? At this time Ruth did not know that she would marry the wealthy Boaz – far from it. Nor did she realize that Jesus Christ, the Messiah, would be her descendant even though she was a foreigner or non Jew. I can’t help but think that her loyalty and commitment to God and his people had something to do with this.
Dear God, please help me to remain committed to you no matter what upheavals and circumstances I face in life. Like Ruth may you remain my God and your people my people. Amen.
Written by Ainslie Woods