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Ruth’s Faith

The Bible in Art: Ruth’s Faith    

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Verses for Consideration: Ruth 1:1-18

1 In the days when the judges ruled,there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. 2 The man’s name was Elimelek, his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.

3 Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. 4 They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, 5 both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.

 

6 When Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there. 7 With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.

8 Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. 9 May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.”

Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud 10 and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.”

11 But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? 12 Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me-even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons- 13 would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!”

14 At this they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her.

15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”

16 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. 17 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.” 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.

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Life was not easy for Naomi and Ruth in Moab. They were both widows, and they were poor. Naomi decided to return home to Bethlehem. She released her daughters-in-law from any obligation they might have felt toward her and told them to go back to their parents.

But Ruth would not leave. She had found in her mother-in-law a treasure not even her own home contained. In Naomi she had found someone who knew the true God of grace. Through Naomi she had found how much God loved her.

“Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you,” Ruth pleaded. “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 anything but death separates you and me.”

Like the merchant in Jesus’ story who sold everything to purchase the pearl of great price, Ruth gave up everything-her family, her family’s land, her family’s gods -to stay with Naomi, in Naomi’s land, with Naomi’s God. She had found the pearl of great price- the true God. 

Her words have the sound of confirmation day promises to Jesus: Savior, I will never leave you; though my family leaves you, I never will; though my friends leave you, I never will; I will die rather than give you up.

In Jesus we see that God has made an even greater commitment to us: “In my Father’s house are many rooms. . . . I am going there to prepare a place for you. . . . I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:2,3). His unbreakable promise to us inspires our promise to stand by him.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, my faith often falters. Give me strength through your Word so that I will always remain faithful to you, no matter what the cost. Amen.

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Title: Ruth in Boaz’s Field (1828)

Artist: Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld