Ruth and Naomi - Ruth's sacrificial loyalty

 Xanthe Galanis

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 even death separates you and me.” When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her. Ruth 1: 16-18

Most anecdotes about mothers-in-law these days are far from positive! They are jokes and stories about putting up with someone because you have to, and certainly not going out of your way because you want to.  In this beautiful expression of devotion and loyalty to Naomi, Ruth's attitude to her mother-in-law is very different. Ruth's loyalty to Naomi goes far beyond what's required of her as a relative by marriage.

Naomi has given Ruth a get-out-of-jail-free card. She could do what Orpah did and go back to her own people without anyone thinking badly of her. But Ruth's love for Naomi and her God refuses to let her turn her back on her mother-in-law.

Perhaps Ruth imagines how difficult the ten years in Moab have been for Naomi. She realises that her mother-in-law has spent a decade away from home, a stranger in a strange land now grieving the loss of her husband and sons. Ruth knows that if she stays with Naomi the tables will be turned – she will be a stranger, she will be the one leaving her people. But she doesn't budge. She is willing to go through the same hardships that Naomi went through, to share in her suffering and grief. It's also clear that Ruth had come to love Naomi's God and she abandons the Moabite gods for the true God. 

Prayer: Father, help me to be empathetic to my friends, to be supportive when times are hard for them and to remain loyal throughout. Thank you for friends who inspire me to love you more. Amen.