Ruth 1:8-22 8 Then Naomi told her daughters-in-law, “Each of you should go back home to your mother. You have been very kind to me and my sons who are now dead. So I pray that the Lord will be just as kind to you. 9 I pray that the Lord will help each of you find a husband and a good home.” Naomi kissed her daughters-in-law, and they all started crying.
Ruth 1:6 - 18
ESV - 6 Then she arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the fields of Moab that the Lord had visited his people and given them food. 7 So she set out from the place where she was with her two daughters-in-law, and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah.
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A major lesson we're to consider in the story of Ruth and Naomi is to be willing to wait on God, and to never give up on living life his way. The obvious worldly answer to the problems Naomi and her two daughters-in-law were facing was for Naomi to become a madame and the two young women to become ladies of a brothel. It's one of the first thoughts that come to mind in a situation such as this. The women were in a fix; they had nothing to sustain them; no husband and no son in that age meant no one and nothing to sustain a woman. That is, if you don't count God. Now that her husband and two sons have died, Naomi is going back to Judah because she heard that God had "visited his people and given them food" (Ruth 1:6). She and her family left Judah because of a famine; now she's going back with less than she left with. Her reasoning seems rational: she advises her two daughters to return to their people because she has nothing to offer them anymore. She said, "The hand of the Lord has gone out against me." (vs 13) I can see how it would seem to be that way. This looks like a test to me. What will she and her daughters-in-law do? One of the daughters heeds Naomi's advice and returns to her people; nothing wrong with that; but Ruth makes a declaration that tips the balance of the scales of justice in their favor. She says, "Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people will be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you." (Ruth 1:16,17) Naomi said the Lord had turned against her, and it looked as if maybe he had. But not to Ruth; why didn't it look that way to Ruth? When is the best time for a christian to proselytize, after a terrible setback or when God has blessed us with a major victory? Your husband and two sons die and you go online and tell everybody how good your God is and how they should make him their Lord? Is that the right time? Or do you wait until you get a promotion, or strike oil in your tomato patch? Naomi hadn't struck oil or gotten a promotion; her testimony about God was a negative one; why was Ruth insistent on going with her? She's going to be a foreigner in Judah; that's never an advantage. The amazing part of Ruth's faith is that she had no reason to believe in Naomi's God. (Naomi hadn't said anything good about him). She told Naomi, in essence, 'Whatever your God does to you let him do to me. If he blesses you let him bless me, and if he let's you die, then I'll die with you.' That's illogical faith! (the best kind), by a Moabite woman! This was a giant step of faith. I can't help but wonder how it turned out for Orpah back in Moab.
Despite the adversities that had befallen her through the deaths of her husband and her sons (in addition to the uncertainties posed by the harsh external conditions in which she found herself), Naomi unselfishly remained primarily concerned with the welfare of her daughters-in-law (despite their not being blood relatives, and also Moabites rather than Israelites), and also still retained her faith in God's ability to care for both them (by finding them new husbands) and herself (by her willingness to send them away). In both those aspects, she serves as a continuing model of faith and concern for believers, both with respect to themselves, and to others in their care.
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