Ruth is one of the most incredible characters in all of Scripture. She finds herself in challenging circumstances and takes ownership of her choices. She makes a host of seemingly small decisions that turn out to have big effects, including becoming a mother in the lineage of King David, and ultimately of Jesus Christ. Her first choice is to decide to trust her mother-in-law Naomi and serve Naomi’s God and people.
Ruth is from the neighboring country of Moab. She marries a sojourning Hebrew man, the son of Naomi, who then dies. Her bereavement response is to commit to follow her mother-in-law, Naomi, to return to Israel after Naomi has lost both her husband as well as both of her sons. This doesn’t make a lot of sense from an outside perspective. Why go to a foreign land with a woman in need of help? Why not go back home and marry a local Moabite who will provide her with security?
Ruth’s choice is about trust and commitment. She knows it is on her to decide who to trust. She commits to trust Naomi, Naomi’s people, and Naomi’s God. Ruth has apparently seen something that is true and right in the character of Naomi. As the story unfolds, we find Ruth fully backing with actions these words of commitment. The people of Israel will say of her that she is better to Naomi than seven sons. And we shall see that it is out of her loyalty and service to Naomi that will flow her greatest blessing.
Commitment to character and values is not easy. It is a tough choice. Ruth chooses to commit to Naomi, her people, and her God, even though there is little visible hope for circumstances to improve.
Ruth looked beyond comfort and committed to character. She went all-in and never looked back. Eventually, she was honored like few others. When we look beyond our circumstances, make wise choices about who to trust, then follow our commitment with our whole heart, we are setting ourselves up for God’s greatest blessings in His perfect timing.
This is the first of a series of four devotionals centered on the life of Ruth. One of the most incredible characters in all of Scripture, Ruth’s example of self-governance and stewardship shows us the way of love, the key to living well, and the impact our choices can make. For more on this topic check out thebiblesays.com commentary on Ruth, which was a source for this series.
“Then [Naomi] said, ‘Behold, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her gods; return after your sister-in-law.’ But Ruth said, ‘Do not plead with me to leave you or to turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you sleep, I will sleep. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord do so to me, and worse, if anything but death separates me from you.’ When she saw that she was determined to go with her, she stopped speaking to her about it.”
– Ruth 1:15-18