READ RUTH ONE
Ruth has survived much. Within the first handful of verses in chapter one we learn that she has lost her husband and is living in famine-ridden days in her home country of Moab. What’s more, the father-in-law who bore the cultural responsibility to provide for her has also passed away. She, her mother-in-law, and her similarly widowed sister-in-law are on their own.
Then Naomi, Ruth’s mother-in-law, hears a rumor. What rumor does she hear? (verse six)
Naomi is headed back to Israel, and she insists that her daughters-in-law don’t follow her there. What reason does she give? (verse eight)
Which other character in our study does this conversation remind you of?
Though Orpah turns back, Ruth is resilient. Determined to stay with Naomi, Ruth poetically commits herself to Naomi and to Naomi’s God.
Pull out a sticky note, journal page, or piece of scrap paper and write out Ruth’s words of commitment (found in verses sixteen and seventeen).
Austin and I spoke these words of commitment to one another on our wedding day. We, like many Christians couples, incorporated Ruth’s words into our wedding vows because they beautifully capture the commitment of God-centered friendship, including marriage. What makes Ruth’s words the daring act of faith that they are is that they are not a commitment to something known but to something unknown. Though Ruth is tying herself to Naomi, a woman she knows and loves, she is mostly voicing a commitment to a new life. She is not just committing herself to a person, but to a way.
And isn’t this how you and I came to the Lord? We didn’t know everything about Him (nor will we ever), we didn’t have a robust theology of His character or activity in the world, and we couldn’t name all the ways He was faithful throughout the Scriptures, but we responded to His call in faith. We didn’t know where the journey of faith would take us, but we promised to follow Him. We didn’t know who He would bring into our life, but we promised to trust Him.
Ruth’s confession of faith is still our confession to the Lord today: Where you go, I will go. Where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people.
By His grace, He will be our God to the very end of our days. He will walk with us today, lead us into tomorrow, and in mercy He will close our eyes at the end of our days to wake us in His Kingdom. Just as Ruth looked ahead at the unknown with anticipation and fidelity, we are able, by the power of the Spirit, to do the same.
PRAY & REFLECT
Consider the journey the Lord has brought you on since your conversion. Thank Him for the many ways He has been faithful. Using Ruth’s words, commit to follow Him wherever He might lead you in the future.