It is often unusual for woman to choose her mother in law instead of her own parents. But this is what happened to Ruth and Naomi. When both of them lost their husbands, Naomi decided to leave the land of Moab and go back to Israel. Naomi asked Ruth and Orpha (her other daughter in law) to go back to their parent’s house. Orpha returned but Ruth refused. So, Naomi said, to Ruth, “Look . . . your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her” (Ruth 1:15).
But Ruth answered her, “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” (ch. 1:16–17).
These beautiful words of commitment show the deep love and loyalty between Ruth and Naomi. Ruth made a vow to remain with Naomi, calling judgment upon herself if she ever left her (ch. 1:17). “When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her” (ch. 1:18).
Ruth loved the kind selfless Naomi and the God she served. Ruth’s only knowledge of the true God was what she had seen of Him in Naomi’s character. And that is how God reveals Himself to men—by a demonstration of the power of His love operating in the lives of His children. The transforming power of divine love is the best argument for the truth. Without it our profession is no better than “sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal” (1 Cor. 13:1).
A change started to happen during Ruth’s association with Naomi, and she knew she would feel more happy and fulfilled in the strange land of Israel than she would in the familiar land of Moab, and among her family. It is a fact that God’s love binds people hearts more closely together than do the ties of race or family.
And because Ruth “left [her] father and mother and [her] homeland and came to live with a people [she] did not know before” (Ruth 2:11), God honored her love for Him. So, when Naomi and Ruth returned to the land of Israel, God providentially led her to work in the fields of Boaz who was impressed by her kindness and loyalty to her mother in law. And Boaz asked her to marry him.
Boaz and Ruth were happily married and had a son named Obed and Naomi became a grandmother. Ruth’s supreme desire to be among God’s people was honored by God greatly. Obed her son became the grandfather of King David whom the Messiah came of his lineage “Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David” (Matthew 1:5–6).
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