Courageous Choices

KEY VERSE: “In treat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.” —Ruth 1:16


THE beautiful story of Ruth and Naomi is recorded in the Scriptures to corroborate an important link in the genealogical chain leading to Jesus, that link being Obed, the son whom Ruth bore to Boaz. Ruth is a symbol of family loyalty, and the lesson of the importance of our loyalty to God’s family—our brethren in Christ. Regardless of who these may be, and what their imperfections, they are our people, because they are the people of our God—those whom he has called to joint-heirship with Christ.

Ruth’s refusal to leave Naomi and return to her people in the land of Moab indicates the strong attachment which she had for her mother-in-law. Her declaration that Naomi’s people would thenceforth be her people, and Naomi’s God her God, indicates that Naomi witnessed to her daughter-in-law concerning her God, and that this witness, and the testimony of her life, had made a wonderful impression on Ruth.

This is the way it should be with all the Lord’s people. What we say concerning our God will be effective only if our lives are consistently in harmony with our testimony, as was evidently the case with Naomi. If those with whom we come in contact feel drawn to the Lord because of the influence of his Spirit in our lives, we can be happy—happy that despite our imperfections, others would like to worship our God and become one with his people because they have seen his influence of righteousness exemplified in us.

Ruth had a difficult decision to go to Israel with Naomi. Apparently Naomi was penniless, and in returning, virtually had to throw herself upon the mercy of her people. Ruth knew this, yet had enough faith in Naomi’s God to believe that they would be taken care of. From a material standpoint she might have been better off to have stayed in Moab, but her friendship and love for Naomi, and the worship of Naomi’s God meant more to her than material good things.

This is a special lesson for spiritual Israelites, who have covenanted to sacrifice earthly good things that they might lay up treasures in heaven. Perhaps at times, as with Ruth, we would be better off materially by disassociating ourselves from the Lord’s people. But if our hearts are truly loyal to the Lord, and therefore to his people, we cannot consider such a move.

Orpha, Ruth’s sister, had a strong natural desire for a home, and she saw there was not much hope of either a husband or a home in Israel. She counted the cost and felt it was too great. She was like many who delight in the Gospel message and love righteousness, but count the cost of becoming one of God’s people now by consecration too much.

But Ruth’s love was deeper. Naomi’s character, her loving, sunny, self-sacrificing disposition had won a similar love and gratitude in Ruth. Naomi had made Israel and Israel’s God lovely in the eyes of Ruth, so she wished to go to a people whose representatives were as amiable as Naomi and her family. A God who had such worshipers must be a lovely God also. So Ruth was willing to give up the prospects of a home and family among her own people.

Her answer to Naomi, is a most beautiful expression of self-sacrificing love: “Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: Jehovah do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.” Ruth had made her decision; she was no longer a Moabite at heart, and Naomi protested no longer.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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