We have a remarkable profession of faith in Ruth 1:16-17.
But Ruth said:
“Entreat[a] me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God.
17 Where you die, I will die,
And there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me.”
Ruth is loyal as a disciple. She will follow Naomi closely and she will live as her people lives and her allegiance is wholeheartedly to the God of Israel. She wants to die and be buried with Naomi. Maybe she had come to learn that Joseph’s bones had been carried and placed alongside those of his relatives and buried in the cave of Machpelah. She may have heard of Job’s words in Job 19:25-27 that He knew his Redeemer lived and one day after his flesh was destroyed, he would yet see God.
Ruth did not know how the events would unfold in Bethlehem though she had genuine faith and knew exactly where she was going. We do not know what will happen tomorrow. Ruth closed her concise and trusting speech with a godly vow since she obviously feared the lord greatly.
As Ruth enters Bethlehem imagine the scene. The whole city is excited upon their arrival. Is this Naomi? She was not the same Naomi who had left a decade or so before. Where was her husband? Her sons in law were missing. Her daughter in law Naomi was childless. Her appearance may well have changed with the trials and grief she had experienced. Her words confirm how profound and moving her sorrow and grief were.
Naomi said that her name was not Naomi meaning ‘pleasant’ but that she should now be called Mara meaning ‘bitter’. She had left full but returned empty. The apparent prodigal had returned and had seemingly chastised by God. Maybe there has been a time in your life where you have been empty, or spiritually dry. But this is the first chapter, not the last one and this is not how the story ends. There are encouragements to consider as this chapter closes. Naomi has the Lord and she has a true friend in Ruth. The lives of Naomi and Ruth were wonderfully intertwined because of the Lord. How often the Lord brings people to encourage others in the midst of their trials.
Naomi had left in famine but returned in Barley Harvest. God’s plans and sovereignty are not solely about great and distinguished people, world leaders, kings, queens, countries, and rulers. The Lord is just as concerned and cognizant of ordinary people who live ordinary lives and God has purposes in our lives also.
It is easy to affirm the goodness and sovereignty of God when everything is going well and there are no major obstacles. Often the pain, problems, and places we reside in obscure the heavenly perspective. God brings us rest when we rest in Him. We need to have real lasting peace with Him before we can have peace in other areas of our lives. The Lord provides for His people giving them bread for their daily needs. Our life is a gift from Him, and our real home is with Him too.