I just started reading Ruth. This short little book is wonderful! If you have never read it, take a few minutes and read it. It is only four chapters, and it paints a beautiful picture of a goel, Hebrew for “kinsman-redeemer”. Jesus is our goel. More on that later!
“Now it came about in the days when the judges governed, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the land of Moab with his wife and his two sons. And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife, Naomi; and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehem in Judah. Now they entered the land of Moab and remained there. Then Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died; and she was left with her two sons. And they took for themselves Moabite women as wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. And they lived there about ten years. Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died; and the woman was bereft of her two children and her husband.” ~ Ruth 1:1-5 (NASB)
Naomi’s husband and sons were dead, and she was living in a foreign land. So when she got word “that the LORD had visited His people in giving them food” (Ruth 1:6b), she decided it was time for her to return to her homeland and bid her daughters-in-law goodbye. The girls were reluctant to leave their mother-in-law (I want to be that kind of mother-in-law!), but Naomi urged each of them to return to their family’s home and find new husbands.
“And they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. Then she said, ‘Behold, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her gods; return after your sister-in-law.'” ~ Ruth 1:14-15 (NASB)
Ruth’s answer is one of the most quoted and beloved passages of the Old Testament.
“But Ruth said, ‘Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the LORD do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.'” ~ Ruth 1:16-17 (NASB)
This young woman loved her mother-in-law so very much that she was willing to leave her family, homeland, and everything familiar to her. Ruth also recognized that Naomi’s God was worth following.
Once you have experienced the love and fellowship of the one True God, there is nothing else that could ever compare or take His place! 🙂
“O taste and see that the LORD [is] good: blessed [is] the man [that] trusteth in him.” ~ Psalm 34:8 (KJV)