Ruth 1:16-17 NKJV
But Ruth said: “Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me.”
The book of Ruth introduces us to several characters, even though two become the main focus throughout the book.
We have Elimelech and his wife Naomi plus their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion. Because of a famine in Judah, they leave and go to Moab and they settle there. Mahlon and Chilion take wives from among the Moabites namely Ruth and Orpah. Unfortunately, the man and his sins die and the women are left alone.
When Naomi learns that there is bread in Bethlehem, she seeks to return home, and she encourages her daughters-in-law to go back to their people because she has no more husbands to give them. Orpah bids here farewell, and she leaves, but Ruth refuses to leave her.
In this patriarchal society, Naomi was going back to nothing. She had no husband or sons to speak on her behalf, and that is why she insisted that her daughters-in-law go back to their people because she had nothing to give them. She was so dejected she even changed her name to Mara which means bitter, because of all that was happening in her life. Furthermore, she felt abandoned by God.
We all go through such moments where one bad thing after another happens to us, and it seems like God is silent. We feel abandoned and rejected, and maybe that’s the space you are in currently. I need to remind you that God promised to never leave us nor forsake us. He is with you even when you don’t feel it, he is with you when you go through the valley of the shadow of death.
Ruth refuses to go back, and she makes a profound statement. She makes a commitment saying:
- She is leaving her people and Cleaving to Naomi and her people
- She will go where Naomi goes
- She will dwell where Naomi dwells
- She will worship the God of Naomi
- Her commitment is until death.
She had no idea that because of her commitment to Naomi and the God of Israel her life was about to change, and her story would be told for generations.
- What is the worst calamity that you have had to live through, what kept you hopeful?
- Naomi changed her name to Mara meaning bitter, what negative names have you given yourself because of circumstances in your life?
- Do you have the same level of commitment that Ruth displayed in her season of pain and uncertainty?