Ruth 1:16 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.”
This is another of my favorite verses in the Bible. It speaks of such devotion, commitment and love. Ruth had lost her husband, but her mother-in-law Naomi had lost her own husband and both her sons. Naomi and her family had moved to Moab from Bethlehem ten years earlier due to the famine in the land. Both sons had married there in Moab.
Into this situation of grief and difficulty came word that the LORD had come to the aid of His people in Judah and there was food there. Naomi and the two daughter-in-laws (the other being Orpah) prepared to return to her home in Bethlehem. Once on the road, Naomi lovingly instructed the two women to return to the homes of their mothers. She believed this was best for them because her misperception was that the LORD’s hand had been against her.
After weeping and protestations from the young women, Orpah returned. But Ruth clung to Naomi and spoke the wonderful message of today’s verse. Why did Ruth do it? Was her mother’s home not desirable? Was she motivated by her love for Naomi, and therefore wanting to support her in this time of grief and change? Whatever it was, her commitment was complete because she declared, “Your people will be my people and your God my God”.
Ruth wasn’t aware that God was guiding her – that He was in the midst of her strong commitment to stay with Naomi. She was simply responding to the conviction in her heart that she belonged with Naomi and would not leave her no matter what it brought. In the midst of all of this, her direction was clear and she was committed to it.
Little did Ruth know that her destiny required that she come to Bethlehem– and that she be there as a young woman eligible to be married. It’s difficult not to conclude that the whole move to Moab by Naomi and her family was ultimately designed by God to get Ruth and bring her back to Bethlehem.
Bethlehem is where the prophet declared that the Christ would be born (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1-6). Ruth’s commitment to return to Judah with Naomi enabled God’s destiny for her to unfold. It required her to be there, in Bethlehem, because only there would her life became part of the genealogy of Christ, our Messiah – the son of David, the son of Abraham.
To be continued…