We left off in verse six of chapter one as Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem, Judah upon hearing God had provided food for his people. Naomi’s decision to return home became easy given the pain of losing her husband and two sons in Moab.
As she prepared to leave, she encouraged her two daughters-in-law to remain in their homeland. Naomi said, “Go back to your mothers’ homes. And may the Lord reward you for your kindness to your husbands and to me. May the Lord bless you with the security of another marriage” (Ruth 1:8-9). Rightly, so, Naomi suggests that Orpah and Ruth would have a much better chance of starting a new life with a new husband in Moab rather than in Judah, for in Judah, they would be foreigners. What stands out to me is she uses the word “security.” One definition of security is “freedom from risk or danger.” What Naomi pointed out to them was by going to Judah they’d be putting themselves at risk of never marrying again.
Regardless, Orpah and Ruth insist on joining her. In response, Naomi gives yet another reasonable argument in verses 11-13. She asked,
Why should you go on with me? Can I still give birth to other sons who could grow up to be your husbands? No, my daughters, return to your parents’ homes, for I am too old to marry again. And even if it were possible, and I were to get married tonight and bear sons, then what? Would you wait for them to grow up and refuse to marry someone else? No, of course not, my daughters!
At this point, Orpah sees Naomi’s perspective and decided life for her will be best lived out in CERTAINTY in Moab. You might ask why I used the word, “certainty.” I mean would not anyone choose to stay in his or her comfort zone. I will be the first to admit that I have in the past preferred to stay in a zone where I know the outcome. However, the problem with that is when you stay there; God isn’t able to do bigger and greater things in you.
Let me ask you this, what classes in your school years did you learn from the most? Where parts of those lessons still stick with you months, even years later? I’m going to go out on a limb and say most would answer those mean old hard classes. At the time, the class was so hard and you held on for dear life to get through it. Nevertheless, when you saw your passing grade at the end, you felt an incredible sense of accomplishment. Would you not feel much more accomplished when you took a risk for God?
Look at verses 11-13 again. This time read it as though God’s the one talking to you. Personalize it to anything you’re going through. For me, it is waiting for my one; before that, I wanted to be done with college. What did you see this time? Well, here’s the question that stood out as I studied it this time: “Would you wait for them to grow up and refuse to marry someone else?”
Let me rephrase it this way: “how devoted to me are you?” This is the question (I believe) Naomi asked Orpah and Ruth, and I believe it is one that God wants to know of us. How many people do you know say that they’re going to do something and stick with it all the way through? It could be as simple as completing a puzzle or cleaning out your closet; or, it can be something more challenging such as saving yourself until marriage, not settling for anyone outside of who God has for you, or finishing school. Many Christians face this struggle for instance, when friends get married; you might be in your 30s or 40s and have a sense of urgency to make marriage or children happen. I believe there’s a test in those moments. God just might be letting you go through those moments to see just how dedicated you are to waiting for him to move in your life and bless you.
How can you demonstrate your devotion to God? Ruth gives us a strong example of how in verse 14. It says, “Ruth clung tightly to Naomi.” In verse 16, Ruth says, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.” Like Ruth, we must show our devotion with words AND action. We have to cling to God and his word in every circumstance. However, I must add that we need to do (as Ruth did) and cling even harder when what we see in our life is uncertainties because it is during those moments where the temptation to stray from God arises.
Do not let that happen to you. Instead, be certain that God sees the WHOLE picture of your life, and know that once your current season is complete, your relationship with God will be stronger. Moreover, you will be equipped to handle and succeed BECAUSE of God in your new season.
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All Bible Verses are from The Holy Bible: New Living Translation