“And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.” Ruth 1:16, 17
Elimelech and his wife Naomi, along with their two sons, relocated to Moab because there was a famine in the land of Bethlehem in Judah. While in Moab, both of the sons were married. In time, Elimelech, as well as the two sons, died in Moab. Eventually Naomi received news that the famine was over in Judah and she would return to her homeland. Naomi insisted that her two daughters-in-law return to their families. Ruth was faced with a decision. Would she remain in her native Moab or leave with Naomi, her mother-in-law, and go to Bethlehem? Ruth’s commitment and loyalty to Naomi is recorded in God’s Word and stands for all time as an example of genuine commitment, especially in the area of relationships. Ruth elected to be loyal to her mother-in-law.
The kind of loyalty displayed by Ruth is greatly lacking in our world, even among those who profess to know Christ. There is often an absence of enduring faithfulness to family and friends. Marriages are too easily divided; and friends are too quick to part company when greater commitment and loyalty would seek reconciliation. Members sometimes leave churches over misunderstandings or disagreements that could be worked through and forgiven. How strong is your loyalty to those you are related to by family or friendship?
Ruth also expressed her loyalty to the Lord. She was committing to leave the false gods of the Moabites to cling to the only true and living God, the God of Israel. This decision, to be faithful to the Lord, was a major decision. This kind of loyalty is desperately needed. Some claim loyalty to Jesus, but it is conditional. When a trial comes that tests their faith, or when they see the way the wicked seem to prosper, they turn back to the old way of life. God help us to be loyal to our Savior in good times and bad. Ruth’s loyalty was for the rest of her life, saying, “if ought but death part thee and me.” We would be wise to follow the example of Ruth in remaining loyal to the end.