Ruth 1:16:18: 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. 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.” When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.
The book of Ruth is set in the time when the “judges” ruled over Israel. During this time the people of Israel went their own way and did whatever they wanted to do – they did not follow God. Also at this time, a famine occurred in the land of Judah and a man named Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and their two sons set out for the country of Moab.
After they arrived in Moab, Elimelech died and Ruth was left with her two sons. The two sons soon married Moabite women, one was named Orpah and the other Ruth. After about ten years, both sons died and Naomi was left without her husband and her two sons. Naomi gets word that God has provided for His chosen people and there is once again food in the land of Judah.
As Naomi sets out to return home to Bethlehem, both of her daughters-in-law accompany her on the road that would lead back to Judea. Naomi stops and tells both of her daughters-in-law to return back to their homes and asks the Lord to show kindness to them as they have shown to Naomi and to their dead husbands. Orpah eventually agrees to return to Moab but Ruth declares her allegiance both to Naomi and to the God of Israel.
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. 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.” When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her. (Ruth 1:16-18).
I have begun teaching a series on Ruth in our adult Sunday school class, and this study has helped to remind me, the extent to which God is involved in the details of our lives. Often, when things don’t work out as we have planned, we tend to think that God doesn’t care or is not involved in the particulars of our lives. If we focus on all of the many unfortunate or troubling events that happen daily, we can become easily discouraged and lose all hope. The book of Ruth reminds us that God calls us to faithfully serve Him and in doing so we can experience His abundant grace and love.
The story of Ruth teaches us that God was in control of all the details of Ruth and Naomi’s life and that He is in control of the specifics of our lives today as well. The events that took place in Ruth’s life were not coincidences, God was at work in the details, causing all things to work out for the good of both women. Ruth was rewarded for her obedience and she believed that God would provide for her and her mother-in-law.
Naomi goes through a faith crisis and she tells her acquaintances back in Bethlehem to call her “Mara”, because God has made her life very bitter (Ruth 2:20). Naomi then goes on to say, “I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.” (Ruth 2:21).
As you encounter difficulties in your daily walk with God, remember that God cares about you and He is actively involved in the details of your life as well. Sometimes we can’t understand why things happen as they do, but we can have faith and trust that God is working things out for our benefit. We may have to struggle, endure many hurts and pain, and go through trials for a short time, but in the end, God’s glorious plan will be revealed and we will be made “full” again.