… Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth….
Prepare to Listen. Light the pink with two purple candles. Prepare to listen with this reminder: Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised.
Prayerfully Read Ruth 1:15-19a
15So Naomi said, ‘See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.’ 16But Ruth said,
‘Do not press me to leave you
or to turn back from following you!
Where you go, I will go;
where you lodge, I will lodge;
your people shall be my people,
and your God my God.
17Where you die, I will die--
there will I be buried.
May the LORD do thus and so to me,
and more as well,
if even death parts me from you!’
18When Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more to her. 19So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem.
Many of us are familiar with these words of Ruth. We often hear them at weddings as the couple make their commitment to each other. However, they were originally said by a young Moabite widow to an old Hebrew widow, her mother-in-law, and not at a wedding. Naomi urged Ruth to return to her people and her gods, to all that she knew and understood. Ruth made the courageous decision to go with Naomi to her land and her God. She knew that aliens were (and sadly still are) often abused and mistreated. Yet she said, “Do not press me to leave you.” She was willing to risk all for the sake of the mother-in-law she’d grown to love and respect.
We know little about Ruth’s reasons for going with Naomi. It was a costly commitment. She gave up her people and religion, all that she knew, and her chance of remarriage and children. She committed herself to Naomi’s people and religion, saying, “Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” She embraced another culture, land, people, religion, and God without knowing where that would take her.
Ruth was an alien and a poor widow. She belonged to the class with whom her descendant, Jesus regularly associated and lifted up. And like Jesus, she willingly sacrificed all to follow Naomi’s God. She stands as an example to all followers of Jesus up to this day. Her name in Jesus’ family tree reminds us of how God consistently lifts up the lowly and despised.
What struck you today in these words? If they are familiar to you, what new did you see?
Respond in Prayer
Lord, thank you for Ruth and for all the Ruths in the world who are willing to risk all for another. May they find a welcome in me. Amen.
Live Obediently. Be like Ruth, willing to risk all for the sake of the gospel.
Reading my Bible has been central in my life since I received my first Bible at 8 years of age. My decades of reading, studying and teaching the Bible gives my devotions a unique and enriching perspective. Reflecting on Jesus' family tree enriched my understanding of Jesus and the salvation he offers.