Ruth 1: 16 – 18
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 even death separates you and me.” 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.
Many years ago one Christmas I was given a book “50 Best Short Stories” it was as you can imagine a very thick book and although it did not contain anything by Anton Chekhov (IMHO the best short story writer) it did have some great stories including the whole Book of Ruth.
There is no doubt that on a purely literary level it is a great story well told, but just as with Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Esther Lamentations and James, literary merit on its own does not mean inclusion in the Biblical canon. All books in the Bible are there because they tell us something profound about God and his relationship with us.
It is a story about friendship. Ruth the widow of Naomi’s son is determined to remain with her mother in law and without regard to herself to adopt, and adapt to, the foreign ways of Naomi’s people and culture. Ruth shows extraordinary courage in leaving behind all she has known for a very uncertain future in a strange land but feels she has to as she cannot leave Naomi to face a difficult future back in her homeland alone.
It is a story about universalism. Ruth is a Moabite not a Jew but by her standing with Naomi she is accepted as one beloved of God. Her physical birthplace and birth rights do not matter and she eventually marries an Israelite of high standing,
It is a story of God’s relationship with us. God is pleased with Ruth’s faithfulness and she is rewarded but always God is given the sovereignty as it says in 2:12 May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.” Through the actions of the three main characters of the Book, Ruth, Naomi and Boaz God works his purpose out to bring about the fulfilment of his will.
It is a story of courage, love, faithfulness and willingness to trust God and shows how God pours Blessings upon those who trust in him.
Lord God our loving Father, as we face the end of Lockdown and the return to a form of normality, grant us Ruth’s courage to face uncertainty, Naomi’s faith to allow you to work your plan out, and Boaz’s willingness to accept your will as a guide to our lives and a means to achieve your will.
In your Mercy hear our prayer,