When Naomi heard in Moab that the LORD had come to the aid of His people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home . . . back to the land of Judah.
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 . . .” Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.” But Naomi said . . . “Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. . . . It is more bitter for me than for you, because the LORD’s hand has turned against me!”
At this they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her. “Look,” Naomi said, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.” 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.” . . . So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. Ruth 1:6-19.
Ruth’s husband and father-in-law had both passed away. Her mother-in-law had become old and bitter at how life had turned out for her. She said, “It is more bitter for me than you because the LORD’s hand has turned against me!” She decided to go back home to Judah with a bitter spirit and an empty hand. She had “failed” in life. A dead husband, two dead sons and no grandchildren. Her daughters-in-law wanted to go with her but she strongly urged them not to. What sense did it make to follow a “bitter failure” to a land you did not know? What guarantees of success could there be for such a move? So, Orpah said goodbye but Ruth clung to her mother-in-law and went with her.
People normally cling to us because we have something to offer them. They would hardly cling to us because they want to help us. Ruth’s commitment and loyalty were astonishing: “Where you go I will go . . . your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die, I will die . . . ” Ruth made this commitment not knowing what the future would bring. Her kindness and loyalty are beyond words. The commitment of Ruth can only be likened to the commitment of God never to leave or forsake us. As the story unfolds, we see her richly rewarded by God.
Question: What would you have done in a similar situation? Are you loyal and committed to people even when they are at their lowest point in life? I pray that you will be moved by the Spirit of God to cling loyally to someone who is in need and help the person. I also pray that when you find yourself at a low point in life, God will send you a Ruth who will cling to you loyally and help you.
Prayer: Lord, I pray that you will help me to develop a strong spirit of commitment and loyalty. Amen.