Naomi and Elimelech left their home in Judah because of a severe food shortage and moved to the land of Moab. Tragically, Elimelech and both of his sons (who married Moabite women), died. When Naomi heard the famine ended in Judah she decided to return home. She tried to get her daughters-in-law to stay describing her life as much to bitter for them to share. Orpah agreed with Naomi’s assessment and elected to find a husband in Moab. But Ruth was a woman of deeper discernment.
Ruth 1:16,17—But Ruth replied: Do not persuade me to leave you or go back and not follow you. For wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you live, I will live; your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May Yahweh punish me, and do so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.
Common wisdom finds definition in circumstances. If the going is tough, find an easier path. If the herd goes left, stay with the herd. If it feels right, follow feeling. Orpah fit this mold. She experienced pain with Naomi and figured remaining with her was a poor proposition. Logically she sought relief in her own culture and the Bible never mentions her again.
Ruth saw the legitimacy of her mother-in-law’s faith. She believed that the genuineness of Naomi’s love for her outweighed a painful life. She would not give in to persuasive pleading to stay. She would not settle for logic or camp in the place of common sense. She would not opt for “better” living because she knew life was not measured by the security of a man but rather by the joy in knowing Naomi’s God. She chose Yahweh. She staked her life on His certainty which is a testament to the character and fidelity of her mentor.
If loyalty to God is tied to our circumstances we are apt to turn away when furious storms threaten our course and condition. One reason the world disdains Jesus is because of His fickle followers. Praise for Him is seasonal. The mood for fidelity is too often measured by health, purse contents, and the experience of pleasure or success. Loyalty should be deeper, stronger and better than this! We dare not stake our actions on rational thought determined by our state of affairs. God’s unceasing love for us certainly is irrational!
Faith feeds loyalty and loyalty feeds faith—they are inextricably linked by the certainty that our devotion is focused on God and God alone. This is why Ruth is a special woman. She stuck with Naomi and refused to give up on God. This Moabite foreigner became the great grandmother to King David from whom one day would come Jesus, the King of kings. This is remarkable considering Moses’ command from God. “No Ammonite or Moabite may enter the Lord’s assembly; none of their descendants, even to the tenth generation, may ever enter the Lord’s assembly” (Deu. 23:3). Something to think about . . . in reveration!
Loyalty means nothing unless it has at its heart the absolute principle of self-sacrifice.—President Woodrow T. Wilson
©2013 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)