Ruth 1:14-19

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"Again they wept loudly. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung tightly to her. So Naomi said, "Look, your sister-in-law is returning to her people and to her god. Follow your sister-in-law back home!" But Ruth replied, "Stop urging me to abandon you! For 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. Wherever you di, I will die -- and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severly if I do not keep my promise! Only death will be able to separate me from you!" When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped trying to dissuade her. So the two of them journeyed together until they arrived in Bethlehem." Ruth 1:14-19

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."

10 Thoughts Shared:

bp said...

Thanks for pointing out that about Orpah, that is a good point. We don't think of her as much.

Kristi said...

I agree, Orpah does get a bad rap. I love Ruth's example and your wonderful words of wisdom. Thanks for sharing this today.

Marsha said...

Great point! Thanks for making me stop and think.
Have a blessed day.

Laurie Ann said...

I totally agree that Orpah gets a bad rap. I've always thought that she was sweet to offer to go with Naomi and when given the offer of release, she took it. I've never thought about her much beyond that. I never thought ill of her, just didn't think of her at all, so to speak, and moved on to Ruth. I loved reading about Ruth in this post because I realized for the first time that at the point she decided to follow Naomi, she also decided to follow God. I've read the words before, many times, even recited them in our marriage vows, but it just hit me in your post that this was where she accepted God! What a moment!!! Great post, Melanie. Stop by my blog when you have some time - I have an award for you, my friend.

Named Alicia said...

Great thoughts Melanie! I love Ruth's response. Dedication of that kind is often missing in our society. If times get too hard, there is a tendency to back out. We forget the commitments that we make far too easily. Thanks for the reminder! I hope you have a great week!

Mrs.B said...

Thank you for sharing this.

Great reminder.

In HIS Keeping,
Mrs.B

Beth E. said...

Awesome post...you inspire me to reread the book of Ruth with new insight!

Thank you so much for your prayers for Bill. :o)

Peggy said...

Blessings Melanie...Great insights!

Just stopped in to invite you over to honor me by receiving a "gift" by stopping by @

http://mazmagi.blogspot.com/2008/12/spirit-of-christmas-to-all.html

Willow (Shelby) said...

Melanie, thanks for this insightful post. I particularly agree with you on being aware of our actions because we never know who is watching and learning from how we conduct every small facet of our lives. I always learn so much from your posts. Thanks for sharing!

Tricia said...

Hey Melanie
I tried to leave a comment on this post yesterday but it wouldn't let me for some reason...

I am loving hearing what you are learning and gleaning from the book of Ruth. Reading your posts reminded me of a book that I read this year that you might be interested in. It is a historical fiction book about the life of Ruth, I found it to be very good. It is by Francine Rivers, and is just called Ruth. Let me know if you read it!

Blessings!