Day 1 - Ruth 1:3-4, 8-18
Ruth’s incredible story starts with a famine that drove a woman, Naomi, and her family out of Israel to the foreign land of Moab.
1:3 Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. 4 They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, 5 both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.
Unfortunately, their problems followed them to Moab, and 10 years is a long time to wait out a famine. What happened in that time? They started to get comfortable there. They blended in. The boys married foreign women. But Moab wasn’t their home, and they stayed too long. In our lives, we have times when we’ve drifted from God. Times when we stayed too long in a foreign land.
Have you ever drifted from God? In what ways did that time feel like staying too long in a foreign land?
1:8 Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. 9 May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.”
Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud 10 and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.”
11 But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? 12 Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me - even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons - 13 would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!”
14 At this they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her.
15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”
16 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. 17 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.” 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.
The wise thing for the wives to do would be to go back home. They could easily re-marry. But Naomi was in a desperate place. There wasn’t a position lower than a childless widow. Orpah loved Naomi, but she chose to go home. Ruth…Ruth was loyal. Her loyalty drove her to do things that don’t make any sense. Ruth was willing to live in a foreign land and find a way to survive with a childless widow. And let’s not forget, she became a convert: “You’re God will be my God.” Ruth showed an incredible commitment to loving and caring for Naomi, one that we should learn from and be challenged by.
Who is your most loyal friend? Has this friend ever done something that doesn’t make sense in the name of loyalty?
Naomi believed the Lord had turned against her, but she didn’t run away. She said, “Enough is enough. I’ve stayed too long in a foreign land.” And then, she ran back home.
When you feel like God is distant, do you run away or run toward Him?
There’s a reason Ruth is a hero of our faith. Imagine if we chose to emulate her. We’d be loyal. We’d be brave. We’d be willing to follow God into places that may disturb our comfort. Keep tuning in this week. God has something to teach you through this small but significant book.
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