If you have any kind of church background, you are familiar with the story of Ruth. Even if you don't know the details of her life, you have heard her name before. Her words are directly quoted in a lot of wedding vows - "where you go I will go and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people will be my people and your God my God." That was Ruth's pledge to her mother-in-law, Naomi. Yeah, that Ruth.
Ruth is often used as a model of faithfulness for us as believers today, with good reason. Ruth clung to her mother in law with no guarantees of a better life, but out of an unconditional love that not even Naomi could talk her out of.
Imagine for a moment that Ruth is a type of prototype for any woman who did what she was supposed to do, followed the rules and still suffered a devastating loss. What do you do when you have checked all the boxes that either religion, tradition or even your walk with God required of you - and you still find yourself in a place of loss, grief and heartache? When it feels like God is the one wreaking havoc in your life, do you turn your back on God and God's people? Ruth could have easily decided that Naomi was bad luck - losing a husband and two sons - and that she (Ruth) was better off without her mourning mother-in-law.
But by God's grace, Ruth had the wisdom to cling to her mother-in-law not just as someone who was worthy of her devotion, but also as a source of godly wisdom and counsel. There are some of us who think we can love God without having to listen to Him. We love God but we still dabble in sexual immorality. We love God but we are still not willing to be delivered from the sins that easily beset us. We love God but we reserve the right to curse people out. If Ruth had only loved her mother in law Naomi in word but that love did not translate to Ruth taking her mother in law's advise and counsel, it would have spelled disaster for both women.
So, if we are going to use Ruth as a model of faithfulness, let us also take Naomi as an example of God's wisdom and counsel. There is no point in proclaiming to love God if we continually deny His right to tell us what to do. What is the fruit of our love for God if we do not obey Him? What is the fruit of our love of God if we abandon Him when we do not get the marriage we thought we would have, or a loved one passes away or we experience times of lack and famine in our journey? Only God knows the end from the beginning.
The love and devotion that Ruth showed for her mother in law Naomi was not predicated on whether or not things would get better. Ruth had no guarantees that she was going to remarry or that her and Naomi would have a stable life or find any help - love motivated her. Many of us want God to guarantee us a problem-free life before we are willing to say "yes, I will abandon my comfort zone (family, past or loved ones), and follow You."
Ruth had no guarantees and she followed anyway. There must come a point in our journey with God that nothing and no one can convince us to turn back from following Him. There must come a point in our relationship with Jesus that not even death, grief or loss will cause us to follow after any other god or return to the past from which He delivered us. If we really want to be like Ruth, then I must press us to recognize our Naomi. Know the voice of God intimately. How does He speak to you? Who does He speak through?
Cherish His presence. Purpose in your heart that God alone will have your undivided devotion. If you are a Ruth, you need a Naomi. If you do not have a human voice of godly counsel and advice, you have the Holy Spirit. He will guide you. Follow Him. Be a daughter who will not relent from following after her God.