S21P15 – Portraits of faith: Ruth

Ruth 1:16-17
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. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”

The Moabites were often in conflict with the Israelites. Ruth was a Moabitess; her mother-in-law Naomi was an Israelite. When Naomi was left with no husband, and her daughters-in-law were also left with no husbands, Naomi sent them back to their people to seek and remarry. Ruth, however, refused to go. Her pledge was clear; she would remain by Naomi’s side no matter the circumstance. But this pledge was founded on an uncommon ground that somehow became common as a result of their relationship.

The bible does not tell us the spiritual mechanics of the relationships of Naomi’s Israelite sons with the two Moabite women they married. We can only assume that Ruth and her sister-in-law were not raised serving the God of Israel. Somewhere along the way, Ruth realized Naomi’s God was the one true God. Whether by the showing of Naomi’s faith, or by the revelation of God’s faithfulness to his people over time, Ruth came to know the Lord as her Lord. Her allegiance to Naomi was predicated on this faith.

It was Ruth’s faith in God that produced the desire to remain by Naomi’s side and care for her when she was given the opportunity to leave and focus instead on caring for herself. Honoring God in faith often requires honoring others. Ruth learned this, and her loyalty to Naomi led to her remarrying and carrying on the lineage that would produce King David. Father, teach us the self-sacrifice that is required as we exercise faith in You, and give us the humility to honor others when required to honor You.