Ruth 1-4…The Faith of Ruth
Ruth’s faith is all the more striking when we consider the family she married into. During the dark time of the judges, a Judahite named Elimelech displayed a weak faith when he left Canaan, the land God gave to Abraham’s offspring, and went to Moab. Elimelech sinfully doubted his security in God’s country, but he could have easily justified this move; after all, he only wanted to feed his family (1:1–2). Then again, we can sin even with the best of intentions.
Settling in Moab, Elimelech and his sons die soon after marrying Moabite women. Elimelech’s widow, Naomi, is left behind, and with little prodding she persuades Orpah, one of her daughters-in-law, to return to her mother’s house so that she will not be left destitute. However, Naomi cannot convince Ruth, her other daughter-in-law, to remain in Moab. Perhaps she has heard of the great promises to Abraham’s children or has seen God working in these imperfect refugees from Israel. Regardless of the initial motivating factor, Ruth is clearly a woman of faith despite her being a Gentile. She will not leave Naomi, but instead she pledges to go with Naomi to serve the only living God and to love His people.
The term “clung” in Ruth 1:14 is the same word used to describe the marriage relationship. In other words, Ruth clung to her mother-in-law in covenant fidelity, knowing that she was bound by her promise before the face of God to remain with and aid her mother-in-law, no matter how difficult it would be. This is the same devotion we are to have to the Lord’s people today. No matter our flaws, we Christians must love and serve one another.