Read the full story in Ruth 1-4.
We've talked about Ruth's story before on this blog, but we looked at it from the perspective of her mother in law, Naomi. We dove into how incredibly faithful God was and how God hadn't abandoned Naomi, even though she believed He had. Today, let's zoom in on a particular passage to examine Ruth and her fierce loyalty to Naomi.
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Let's examine 5 vows that Ruth made to Naomi.
She vowed to go with Naomi and follow her lead. Naomi was a very broken woman at this point in the story. Naomi had lost her husband and then ten years later she lost her two sons. One of those sons was married to Ruth. Naomi felt as if she had no hope, no future, no stability, and no reason to keep her daughters in law with her. Despite all of this, Ruth vows to go with Naomi wherever Naomi's heart desires. Doesn't that seem a bit risky? She's vowing to follow a woman who is in her darkest place. She's vowing to follow a woman who is drowning in her grief. She's vowing to follow a woman who believes that God has abandoned her. Ruth doesn't choose someone who exudes joy and light with their attitude. Instead, Ruth chooses to be that joy and light to someone who only feels depression, despair, and darkness. Ruth, a recent widow who is dealing with her own grief, is choosing to be joy and light to Naomi. What an incredible example of commitment and strength!
She vowed to make her home wherever Naomi would make her home. They'd brave the world together. They'd seek refuge in a home of their own, together. Together they would continue to be a family. Together they would build a place of healing and hope. Together they would navigate their grief and come to discover God and Truth in their midst. Together.
She vowed to leave behind her own people and adopt Naomi's people as her own. This is a part that I tend to gloss over, but when you really stop and think about it, it's a very big deal. There's a difference in language. Even if they all spoke the same language, there are sayings, slang, and different dialects within a language that she'd have to get used to. There are different customs and different norms. Have you ever noticed when you move to a new place (even in the same country) that some things can be offensive in the new place but accepted and normal in the old place? Have you noticed that some things in the old place are commonly understood but in the new place the same thing is confusing? Ruth vowed to leave behind her customs, leave behind her norms, leave behind every person she'd ever known and loved to adopt Naomi's people.
She vowed to leave behind her own god/s and be faithful to Naomi's God. This also strikes me as very difficult. The only god I've ever sought out to serve is God, the same God that Naomi serves. I couldn't imagine giving up my God for someone else's! I go to God for strength, peace, love, and forgiveness (amongst other things). If I didn't have Him to take on a journey like Ruth and Naomi's, I wouldn't even know what to do with myself! I'd feel cut off, like a part of me had died without Him. Did Ruth feel the same about her god/s? What impresses me so much is how Ruth readily and willingly sacrifices her own god/s to follow Naomi and her God.
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She vowed to stay with Naomi until death parted them. She'd not only sacrifice her home, god/s, people, and the freedom to choose where she'd live, but she would do it for the remainder of her life. No matter what would come up, Ruth would be fiercely loyal to Naomi and would prove her loyalty by remaining true to her word.
Ruth made a very strong commitment to loyalty. There is no mention of any regrets, in fact, the opposite is true. She lived up to her promises! She chose loyalty to Naomi and in return, God richly blessed her with a husband, a future, and a legacy. Even in her own lineage, God would bring forth the Savior, the Messiah, Jesus Christ!