February 3

Ruth Chooses Naomiís God

Ruth 1:1-8, 16-19a

KEY VERSE: Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.

-- Ruth 1:16

The story of Ruth and Naomi is one of the most beautiful in the Bible. Everytime we examine it our hearts are touched by the love which bound these two women together.

With her husband and two sons, Naomi had moved from Bethlehem in Judah to the land of Moab. Their moved was prompted by the famine in Judah. Life was better for them in Moab. There Naomiís sons married. But everything changed when Naomiís husband, Elimelech, died, and after a time, her two sons as well.

Such sadness came over Naomi that she told her friends to call her not Naomi, but Mara, which means "bitter." By now the famine in Judah had ended so Naomi decided to go back home. There was nothing now to keep her in Moab.

It occurred to Naomi that, though she loved her daughters-in-law, it would be best for them to remain in Moab where they had families. She wished them well, asking the Lord to bless them with his kindness.

Then what she had not counted on happened. Her daughter-in-law Ruth loved Naomi too much to let her go home alone. So it was the devoted Ruth who spoke those tender words which are so well known, "Donít 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."

What a powerful statement of devotion!

Think about this: What caused Ruth to feel such love?

Was it not the life and example of Naomi? Surely Ruth had seen in Naomi the kind of woman she longed to be herself. Surely Naomi had been such a godly woman that Ruth wanted to know her God. Surely Ruth had been so influenced by Naomiís faith that she realized she needed to give up her pagan god and embrace the faith to let Naomiís God become her God.

Now one final thought: Should we not seek to live such Christian lives that, despite the grief and trouble we endure, our family members and friends will be influenced by our faith to choose our God to be their God too? Let it be, Lord, let it be!