“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.” Ruth 1 :16-18 NIV
It amazes me that while in a moment of deep pain and loss for Ruth that she was able to put aside what was likely one of the hardest moments of her life to do what she knew was the honourable thing. This was not a simple thing. Her decision to leave behind a life that she knew as a widow into a land she did not know brought with it great risk and sacrifice. All of the longings and dreams that she had longed to see fulfilled in her life, she was laying down to leave Moab and go with Naomi. I am sure many questions ran through her mind. What is this unknown land like? Is the famine over that brought them here in the first place? What if I can’t provide for Naomi? If Ruth was like any of us, the questions running through her mind would have possibly left her wrestling with a sense of anxiety as she worked through what might be.
The incredible thing about this though is that, while she may have had questions, while she was leaving behind all she knew and was entering into a season of radical change, while in grief as a woman who just buried her husband, she refused to allow her pain to stop her from doing what was right. Ruth was truly a woman of character. A rare and precious woman who loved outside of the realm of her own need to survive. She did not let her pain stop her but pushed through and because she did, she was positioned for things she never could have imagined.
Ruth reminds me, that I can do right even when the pain is real. I can choose to love and walk into the unknown season of radical change and in doing so position myself for the future God has for me.
As these two women left Moab and headed into their unknown season I see the wonderful character of a broken woman being revealed. Ruth could have come up with all kinds of reasons why it would be better for her to stay in Moab. Actually, she did not need to come up with any, Naomi gave her a way out, but Ruth refused the way out. Her commitment to Naomi led Ruth’s life and not her fear of what might be. Ruth reminds me that my commitment to Christ should be what leads me in every season and not my fear of what might be.
Fear really is a liar and if Ruth had allowed fear to direct her life instead of her commitment, she would not be the woman we see listed in the line of our Saviour Jesus Christ. It truly is amazing what God does with a heart that decides to be committed and does not let fear lead their lives. If she had given into fear, the story would be so different and the blessings that waited for her would not have become hers. What do I miss out on that God has waiting for me when I allow fear to lead my story rather than my commitment to a faithful God?
When they arrived in their new home, Ruth is sent off into the field to begin to work and bring home provision for herself and Naomi. We immediately begin to see the hand of God provide for her. She finds favour in the field and is told to stay in the field she was in and there would be protection for her in that field. I find this part so rich. What if Ruth had not been satisfied with the provision she found in that place? What if she had decided to go outside of the place of promised protection and sought provision elsewhere? Ruth could not expect for Boaz and his men to protect her when she was in another man’s field. The protection was conditional to the field that she was in. That was where she had the favour.
There is so much here. Sometimes, we become dissatisfied with the field God has directed us to, we begin to look for other options and ignore His leading. This positions our heart to walk out from under the promise of protection and makes us a target for the enemy. Ruth refused to leave the field where she found favour. We should too. This field will reveal just how much God has led our lives when we stay where He has positioned us.
As we know, Ruth shares the news of favour with Naomi and once she does God reveals how He has led them to the field of their kinsmen redeemer. What were the chances? Pretty low in the natural. One Hundred percent when God is directing. These poor broken widows who left for the unknown season of radical change were led every step by a God who loved them immensely. He did not lead them to a field where they would die but rather a field that would position them for the incredible plan of God for their lives. What an incredible God.
Ruth follows Naomi’s instructions to go that night and lay herself at the feet of Boaz where she would ask him to spread his wings of protection over her because he was her kinsmen redeemer. Boaz immediately speaks to Ruth’s faithfulness and promises to fulfill what she has asked of him. This is such a reminder that God notices faithfulness too. He responds to and rewards the heart that is faithful. It really does matter and it is something we should desire to be in our relationship with God.
Ruth was not someone many would consider in the books of great people, but she was a hero of the faith. She trusted a God she did not yet know intimately, to go with a woman who was not her own people, into a land she did not know, to sacrifice her own future for someone else. She just had no idea that this God she was about to discover would look upon that kind of faith and would speak over her life that this is the kind of woman I will use to birth kings through her line. She is faithful and has the attention of heaven.
Once a widowed Moabite, to a great grandmother of a king called a man after God’s own heart. Maybe, just maybe our precious Ruth had a profound influence on the man we have come to know as David. We may never truly know this side of eternity just how much her faithfulness changed generations and impacted nations. One woman who followed a big God.
Sue Holmes says:May 16, 2020 at 1:10 am
Wow. What a testimony of leaving your comfort zone so far behind in the dust that you couldn’t find your way back to it f you tried.
Who is Ruth?
A sister of Orpah
A daughter of Eglon, the king of Moab who hated Israel.
A descendent of Balak who hired Balaam to curse the Israelites.
Somebody raised these girls (Ruth & Orpah) right. They were good daughters-in-law to Naomi. Although Orpah did go back to Moab, she set out initially with Naomi & Ruth for Bethlehem. She had good intentions but allowed herself to be dissuaded. This is where Orpah’s story fades into the background.
Going back to Ruth & her comfort zone … if historians are right, she & her sister were royalty. And the kingdom that was tied to their royal lineage had not been a friend to Israel. Ruth chose to leave behind any of the priviledges she might have had in Moab. She chose to walk along side a mother-in-law who had dismissed her to stay in her homeland. Ruth had been set free by her mother-in-law. She could go back to where she came from. She could espouse her old way of life. She could be shrouded in the comfort of ‘her own people’. She could live in the familiar & probably never know what it was like to be in want. Her pain of loss might have been dulled by the faces and things that she had grown accustomed to. But she chose to leave everything behind and follow the one who set her free!
This is where Ruth, in her quiet but fierce demeanor, challenges me!!!
How willing am I to close the door – permanently – on my ‘comfort zone’? To walk away from everything familiar, & not looking back, follow the One who set me free? I am thankful that Christ’s invitation is full of grace & mercy. Too many times I have tried to cling to my (non existent) ‘rights’ … my comforts
Ruth didn’t just leave behind the lifestyle she had grown accustomed to. That was the past & she was willing to say goodbye to her past. By following Naomi, Ruth was trading her past for an unknown future. Ruth was probably used to hearing Israel maligned by the elders in Moab – those of her father & grandfather’s generation. But this was the land that she was willingly going towards, held on her path by the love & respect she had for her mother-in-law.
After arriving in Bethlehem Ruth had yet another challenge – provision. What to eat & where to work. She & Naomi had come back empty handed. No one can dispute God’s timing. They came back at harvest time. The potential princess back in her father’s land of Moab was now positioned to be a scavenger gathering the gleanings that the hired workers left behind. And she embraced her new place in life. It makes me wonder if Ruth’s great grandson David was thinking of the attitude of his great grandmother when he penned Psalm 84:10 … “For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand [anywhere else]; I would rather stand [as a doorkeeper] at the threshold of the house of my God than to live [at ease] in the tents of wickedness.”
My take away from Ruth’s story of unwavering commitment …
After revisiting the story of Ruth & Naomi my commitment (to the God of Israel) has to be , “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.”
A high calling but I believe that Christ wants nothing less from us. And He has set each of us exactly where we need to be in His body to grow into the followers that He desires of you & I. For this season & this reason I am thankful for each of you who have helped me on the path to unwavering commitment.
j.Holmes says:May 16, 2020 at 1:44 am
We can choose to love and walk and put our trust in the same God (and Father) of Naomi’s day…seen in the face of Jesus, the Christ. (John 14:9) We don’t always know where we are going. The scripture says, they that are born of the Spirit are like the wind….you don’t know from which direction it is coming or going. (John 3:8) The Christian life, surrounded with its ups and downs, is a life of adventure on the rock in the midst of a troubled sea. Our Rock is Christ Jesus. In every season He is our Peace. It takes unwavering commitment to stay on that solid Rock.
Are we committed to know Jesus…to be faithful in our pursuit of Him…to run the race to obtain…to lay hold of the treasure in God’s field…God has purchased us to be in His Son …to know Jesus is to know the Treasure that is now in us. (John 13:44)
The heart that finds Him, finds Life. His plan is “Christ in you” the hope of glory. By faith, we are the children of Abraham. Jesus said you are not of this world, even as I am not of this world. Where your heart is, there you will find your treasure. (John 6:21)
Have we left all. The totality of the love that Ruth had…that severed her old life for the new, brought with it such a refreshing picture of God’s love and care for us who would choose her God…Naomi’s God.
P. Sampson says:May 16, 2020 at 9:40 pm
Interesting how God uses people from different parts of the world to help Jews return to their homeland. So Ruth and Naomi helps Israel to keep going… loving God, following His leading…and Christ is born from the line of Ruth.
In our time, when Israel evacuated Jewish people from Sudan and Ethiopia , they took planes like that of a 747 (with all the seats out) and flew under the radar and took Ethiopian Jews back to Israel, some 14,325 Jews (a God miracle ). This was called “operation Solomon” , May 24,25, 1991. So Israel rescued Ethiopian Jews as the rebels were trying to kill them as they left. Operation Moses was also another time that Israel rescued many Jews.
I worked with a couple who were with Friendships, a Disaster Relief Organization, named Stan and Sharon Langaker. Stan was captain and I was engineer at the time. Today Stan works out of Seattle as captain of a research vessel…he is a captain for Stabbert Maritimes. He and his wife were told that they cannot do “this” or “that”, but God always makes a way.
Between the years of 1994 and 2000, Stan and Sharon heard God’s calling upon their lives to bring Jews to Israel. They sold everything they had and bought a boat, a freighter call “the Restoration”, and set sail for Greece. It was from here they centered their operation to move Jews from Russia (via the Black Sea) to Israel. Jews would come with their possessions or just with the clothes on their back. The freighter would house the Jews on the voyage to their homeland. Stan would make some 14 trips. Stan and Sharon saw God’s miraculous hand at work numerous times in service to Him.
“Therefore say, this is what the sovereign Lord says: I will gather you from the nations and bring you back from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you back the land of Israel again.” ( Ezekiel 11:17).