Bible Society of South Africa
Xanthe Hancox

Friendship – Day 4

Ruth and Naomi – Ruth’s sacrificial loyalty

Bible text(s)

16But Ruth answered, “Don't ask me to leave you! Let me go with you. 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. 17Wherever you die, I will die, and that is where I will be buried. May the LORD's worst punishment come upon me if I let anything but death separate me from you!”

18When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she said nothing more.

Ruth 1:16-18GNBOpen in Bible reader

These days, most anecdotes about mothers-in-law are far from positive! There are jokes and stories about putting up with someone because you have to, and certainly not going out of your way because you want to. In this beautiful expression of devotion and loyalty to Naomi, Ruth’s attitude to her mother-in-law is very different. Her loyalty to Naomi goes far beyond what is required of her as a relative by marriage.

Naomi has given Ruth a get-out-of-jail-free card. She could do what Orpah did and go back to her own people, without anyone thinking badly of her. However, Ruth’s love for Naomi and her God refuses to let her turn her back on her mother-in-law.

Perhaps, Ruth imagines how difficult the ten years in Moab have been for Naomi. She realises that her mother-in-law has spent a decade away from home, a stranger in a strange land now grieving the loss of her husband and sons. Ruth knows that if she stays with Naomi, the tables will be turned – she will be a stranger, she will be the one leaving her people. Nevertheless, she does not budge. She is willing to go through the same hardships that Naomi went through, to share in her suffering and grief. It is also clear that Ruth had come to love Naomi’s God and she abandons the Moabite gods for the true God.

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