Read Ruth 1:1-18
1 In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and 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 Elimelech, his wife's name 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 Elimelech, 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 she heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, Naomi 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 kindness to you, as you have shown to your dead 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 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 gone out against me!"
14 At this they wept again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-by, 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 anything but death separates you and me." 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her. (NIV)
The book of Ruth is played out in 5 scenes. In the book, we will see the goodness of both Naomi and how she seeks to help those around her. Her story is a tragic tale. She and her family are forced to leave their land and the people they know. The move to a foreign land where over time there, she loses her husband and her two sons. One can only imagine the heartache. She finally receives news that God is blessing the land she left and so she decides to return home. And here we see the first of her goodness. Her two daughter-in-laws state they will go with her. They are fulfilling their obligation to the matriarch of the household. But Naomi releases them from their obligations. She is trying to do what is best for these two women and not herself. She also knows what it is like to live and a foreign land among foreign people.
And it is here that the author sets up the problem for all of us. We can only see a certain level of outcome. Notice what she says, "who could become your husbands." Naomi can see no outcome that would give these women security. And in this time, security for a woman was to be married. She trusted God, but could not see how God could help her. O how often do we sell God short.
How many times in my life have i resigned myself to now knowing how to resolve an issue only for God to later show me the way. The only thing I can remember is that I help the course of faith. Have you encountered problems that you do not know what to do? Have there times when you simply said, I will continue to serve God, even not knowing where it will lead me.
This is what we see that Naomi must have taught Ruth. She cannot see the outcome, but she knows the faith of Naomi and wants to walk where she walks. So she says those powerful words of faith, "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."
When have you simply had to stay the course in faith? Are there people that you simply know that you want to be around them because you know that the best will come from walking alongside them? All of us need a friend we can walk with, especially during times of trial and uncertainty.
Blessings and Peace