But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.
This passage is often quoted/read during wedding ceremonies. It is a vow. I often wonder how many people who include this “vow” this in their wedding truly honor the words stated without complaint when it comes time to “pay up” on those words.
Ruth, when she said these words to her mother-in-law, Naomi, was vowing to go to Bethlehem and see to Naomi’s well-being no matter what it took. This Moabite chose to leave her land, her family and her gods for the worship and honoring of God the Father.
That is no small task. In doing so, Ruth also opened herself up to be seen as an outcast and interloper in the Jewish society.
On the surface, we have two widows: Naomi, who has lost her husband and both of her sons, and Ruth, who lost her husband–Naomi’s son. (Orpah the other daughter-in-law decided to stay in Moab after Naomi persuaded her not to leave, so she’d have a future.) Ruth, despite Naomi’s pleas, stayed with Naomi.
This is true loyalty and faithfulness. This is also a blessing on so many levels.
Ruth is a blessing to Naomi, because she is willing to give up everything to be with her mother-in-law and to follow God.
Naomi is a blessing to Ruth, because she has provided Ruth with the example of someone who follows God and accepts His presence in her life.
Even though Naomi’s family went to a land where they should not have, because of the culture of Moab and because of the historical importance of the strife between Moab and the Jews, Naomi still kept her ties with God.
In Chapter 1 of the book of Ruth, we have the beginning of God showing us how He blesses us in spite of our wandering. We have the beginning of God showing us how He redeems us. These points will developed throughout the book of Ruth, as will the importance of a legacy of faith.
For a very small book in the Bible, so much is said.
Yes, there is a love story (eventually), but it so much more than that…although, love stories are nice, too.
I hope this encourages you to break out a study Bible to read Ruth. If you do, remember to read the notes.