Why did Ruth choose her mother-in-law instead of her own parents?

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Ruth’s Love to her Mother-in-Law

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 the young woman, “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). The beauty of the daughter-in-law’s dedication to Naomi and her meek sweetness are unsurpassed in the records of history. 

These beautiful words of commitment show the deep love and loyalty between the young woman and Naomi. The daughter-in-law made a vow to remain with Naomi, calling judgment upon herself if she ever left her (ch. 1:17). When Naomi realized that her daughter-in-law was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her (ch. 1:18).

Naomi’s Life Reflected God’s Love

The Moabite woman loved the kind selfless Naomi and the God she served. Her 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 Corinthians 13:1).

A change started to happen during her 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.

God Honors those that Choose Him

And because Ruth “left [her] father and mother and [her] homeland and came to live with a people [she] did not know before” (ch. 2:11), God honored her love for Him. For He promised, “Those who honor Me I will honor” (1 Samuel 2:30 also Psalm 91:14).

When Naomi and her daughter-in-law returned to the land of Israel, God providentially led the young woman to work in the fields of Boaz, who was impressed by her devotion, kindness and loyalty to her mother-in-law. The fact the moabite woman left her own parents and followed Naomi spoke a lot for her character. Boaz saw how the young woman tenderly cared for her aged mother-in-law. So, he asked her to marry him.

Boaz and his new bride were happily married and the Lord gave them a son named Obed. And Naomi became his grandmother. Ruth’s supreme desire to be among God’s people was blessed by God greatly. Obed her son became the grandfather of King David whom the Messiah came of his lineage. The gospel of Matthew records: “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).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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