I’m just going to come out and say it. My mother-in-law is the best. She is the kindest woman I know, and she has made me feel part of the family right from the start. She can cook too, just taste one of her cinnamon rolls, or her chicken and noodles. You would wonder why she isn’t on the Food Network.
We take a look at Ruth this week and her relationship with her mother-in-law Naomi. Ruth, Naomi, and Orpah find themselves in a dire situation in biblical times, widowhood. Not a great place to be for women back then. The only solution was to marry another relative in the husband’s family.
The Journey Home
We pick up the story when Naomi gets word that the famine is over in her homeland. Living in Moab for the last ten years, she decides to go home. “Then Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had blessed his people in Judah by giving them good crops again. So Naomi and her daughters-in-law got ready to leave Moab to return to her homeland.” Ruth 1:6 (NLT)
On their way, Naomi has second thoughts about her daughters-in-law going with her. Perhaps she felt sorry that they too, faced the same hopeless future. She urges them to go back to their homeland of Moab. They both tell her no, but after more convincing, Orpah decides to go. However, Ruth won’t leave her. Verse 14 says,” but Ruth clung tightly to Naomi”. The word used for clung tightly is the same word for cleave describing a man being joined to his wife in marriage. It also means to remain with. Ruth isn’t going anywhere without Naomi. 16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. 17 Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!” Ruth 1:16–17 (NLT) Naomi lets her stay with her.
Ruth’s Brave Decision
We have to admire Ruth. She is making a big decision here. Would it have been easier if she went back to her homeland with Orpah? Possibly. She would be among her people, her family, but Ruth chose Naomi’s people, Naomi’s family. She loved Naomi.
Most importantly, Ruth chooses faith. The faith Naomi models for her, the belief that points to the one true God. Ruth has no idea how everything will work out. She is a foreigner, an outsider, and not used to the customs of the people she will be part of. It wouldn’t be easy. Fortunately, as you read on into the following chapters, God blesses her tremendously.
What Would you Do?
Deciding life’s circumstances without knowing the outcome can be challenging for anyone. Do you play it safe, or do you have faith to move forward without confirmation that everything will work out? The answer to this question relies solely on who you trust more…God or yourself.
Shining the Light Brighter
- Think of a time when you faced a big decision. Did you trust God with it, or did you trust in yourself? How did the decision go?
- Why may it be hard for people to trust God? What holds you back from trusting God?