Bible Society of South Africa
Louise Gevers

Walking with God – Day 16

Walking with God in faithfulness: Ruth and Naomi

Bible text(s)

5Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never leave you; I will never abandon you.”

Hebrews 13:5GNBOpen in Bible reader

The book of Ruth is rich and heart-warming and, like the book of Esther, deserves to be read in its entirety. It is not only an inspirational, happily-ending love story between Ruth and Boaz, but it is also the story of the beautiful relationship between the young widow and her mother-in-law. Ruth and Naomi share a strong, selfless bond as they cling to each other in their struggle for survival; but even greater is God’s faithfulness in the widows’ lives, shown through his amazing guidance leading them to a new life, love and restoration.

Naomi must have been exceptional in her love and care of Ruth and Orpah, her other daughter-in-law, who shared her life and a steadfast witness to the reality of Israel’s wise and loving God. She knows that she herself has nothing to offer them, but trusts God to provide for them. She blesses them, while wisely advising: “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. May the LORD grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.” (Ruth 1:8-9)

Naomi’s concern is for Ruth and Orpah’s welfare and happiness, but their concern is for her and they both cry, not wanting to leave her. Although Orpah goes reluctantly, Ruth chooses to stay, expressing touching words of love and commitment to Naomi that are so strong and unwavering, that they hold the substance of a wedding vow. “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. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.” (Ruth 1:16-17)

Ruth had clearly decided that Naomi and everything that she stood for, were what she held most dear in life and chose her above everything else. So great was her love and respect for Naomi that she willingly left her own family, land and gods behind. Ruth’s words to Naomi embody faithfulness to her that is unchanging and undying, just like God’s faithfulness to his people. And God rewarded her.

Faithfulness is one of God’s most precious qualities and vitally important in his relationship with us. It is what makes us know that he will forever love us and will never change his mind. We can trust him because he is unchanging (Numbers 23:19; Hebrews 13:8) and will work in our lives exactly as he did in Ruth’s. When he assures us that he will never leave us nor abandon us, we never have to doubt.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.21.9
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