“Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go, I will go, and where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me” (Ruth 1:16,17).
These are the words of someone who was firm in determination or purpose. Naomi, Ruth’s mother-in-law, was quite unable to change Ruth’s mind from her decision. We may realise she had deep love for her mother-in-law who had been denied the care of her husband and two sons by death.
Death in so many cases brings confusion and misunderstandings. But in the case of Ruth it was different. Herself, a Gentile, and Naomi, a Jew, were close together despite the ordeal of death. It is said of Ruth that she clung to her mother-in-law.
We are not wrong to number Ruth alongside men of faith. She had a strong faith in the invisible. She had hope where there seemed to be no hope at all. Earlier on, Naomi had been quick to point this out to both daughers-in-law: “Return home, my daughters. Why should you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons who could become your husbands? Return home, my daughters. I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me – even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons – would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters” (Ruth 1:11-13).
Job was another man who was fully determined in serving God no matter what happened to him. His wife tried to dissuade him from having trust in God. But what did Job say to her: “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 2:10).
The lesson for us is that in everything, whether good or bad, God is in full control. Although Ruth and Job seemed to have a dark future, yet in the end their lives were full of happiness.
Bro Sylvester Tembo (Muzuzu, Malawi)