This has got to be one of my favorite passages of scriptures. The words of Ruth to Naomi are so beautiful and really speak of the love and devotion she had for Naomi.
First, though, I want to look at Orpah for a moment. I really think that Orpah gets a bad rap. We tend to think that Orpah didn't do what she should have for Naomi or we just don't think much about Orpah at all. In reality, though, Orpah did what was expected of her. She stayed with Naomi after all their husbands died. She was willing to stay with Naomi and to move to Bethlehem with her.
I think probably what happens is that we try to compare Orpah to Ruth and that just isn't fair to Orpah. Ruth went above and beyond her obligation to Naomi and you just can't use that as fair comparison for Orpah. Orpah fulfilled her obligations to Naomi and we should recognize and admire her for that.
The other part of this story that really strikes me is the way in which Ruth comes to know the Lord. Naomi's family is probably the first family Ruth has ever been around that worshipped God. The country Ruth is from only worshipped idols -- the main one being Chemosh.
However, in this passage of scripture Ruth tells Naomi that she is giving up her gods for Naomi's God.. the one true God. What has Noami or her family done to bring Ruth to the point where she is willing to give up everything she has ever known to turn to God? My guess? They showed Ruth their love for the Lord and they loved her with the same kind of love. They welcomed Ruth and Orpah into their family. Ruth watched as they relied on God for their every need and she saw how Naomi attributed God to the improving circumstances in Bethlehem that leads her to decide to move back to Bethlehem.
What a testimony Ruth has to share! In the process of helping Noami and showing compassion towards her situation, Ruth decides to turn to Naomi's God and accept Him as the one true God. Here again, one of the amazing ways in which God works in our lives.
For me, this passage leaves me with two thoughts. The first, that I should always be aware of my actions and how I treat others. You just never know how you may be ministering (or not ministering) by your very actions. And, two, I pray I would always be willing to speak and really mean the same words that Ruth spoke to Naomi --"Wherever you go, I will go. Wherever you live, I will live. Your people will become my people, and your God will become my God."