Naomi and Ruth Return to Bethlehem
When Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there. With her two daughters-in-law she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.
Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.”
Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.”
But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would 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. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!”
At this they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her.
“Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”
But Ruth replied, “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 even death separates you and me.” When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.
So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem…
As I read the book of Ruth, praying about it, what came to mind is that it contains so much. It is about loss, abandonment, following God, having a plan, putting that plan into action, acceptance, compassion, trust, redeeming love and salvation.
I really struggled with what to write. As I read and prayed, God put on my heart that this book is about pure love. Pure love that reaches further than just the story; it’s from the beginning of time to the end of time. God commands us to love one another. Naomi’s unconditional love for Ruth led to Ruth’s unconditional love for Naomi, to follow her and follow God leading her to remarkable blessings. The story of Ruth in its simplest form is this: when we love God and love others, we receive God’s blessings.
Ruth wasn’t looking for fame or fortune. Ruth was listening to God, wanting to follow God, loving Naomi, staying with her and caring for her.
What I like about Ruth is she doesn’t seem to have any walls up. Ruth loves and gives freely. She loves and trusts God, is open to following Naomi to new territory. Then she puts herself out there to take care of Naomi. Through her service, she meets Boaz. Boaz, a wealthy landowner, somehow does not intimidate Ruth. She follows Naomi’s plan and they are both redeemed. Through Ruth’s faith, she is blessed.
The book of Ruth doesn’t tell us the back story. The part where you get to find out about the relationship between Naomi and Ruth on a day-to-day basis. Ruth had great respect and love for Naomi to want to stay with Naomi, to travel to a foreign land with her, to trust her plan. Naomi was a woman of great faith and love. She must have spent time with, taught and nurtured Ruth. Naomi had to have been Ruth’s “go to” person for advice, help, and life issues. I believe Naomi taught Ruth about God and God’s love for her. Naomi showed her how to have faith, to trust God and was a marvelous example. How fortunate Ruth was to have Naomi in her life, and Ruth knew it. So much so that she didn’t want to go back to her family. Ruth wanted to stay with Naomi.
Unlike Ruth and Naomi, I know what it is like to be surrounded by Christian women that don’t know me or my story. There were times I felt I didn’t have anyone I could trust to ask for advice, ask for direction, to help me make good choices or trust with my feelings. Many times, I had a plan and let the wrong people pull me from my focus. I was filled with disbelief that God really loved me. On one hand being so unsure of myself that I let others talk me into their ideas, and then, on the other hand, having walls so high and arms so long no one could get in. But not Ruth. I believe that thanks to Naomi, she freely follows, loves, listens, and keeps her focus on God.
Do you know someone that seems a little lost? Someone that could use some help and direction in life. Someone that was lacking nurturing, someone who was not taught how to make good decisions? Do you know someone who would benefit from you spending time with them and loving them? Their redemption won’t depend on it, but possibly an easier life of understanding good choices and blessings. Who can you show God’s pure love to today?
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for continuing to pursue us and for your plan for redeeming us from the beginning of time. My past is not perfect, but I know where my future lies. Keep my focus on you, trusting you, following your plan for my life. Father, I pray that you show others your redeeming love through me. I pray that the people around me see your compassion and acceptance through me. Amen.
Today’s post was written by Debra Vallier
Debra grew up going to church in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pa. The sun and beaches drew her to Florida at a young age. Wanting a better lifestyle for her 3 children, Debra moved them all to Clermont in 2004. Debra, along with daughter, Lorin, son-in-law Steel, daughter Jenna, and son-in-law Christian all currently reside in Clermont. Debra’s son Matt lives in PA with his wife, Crystal, and their daughters, Allie and Olivia. Debra loves her career as a full-time Realtor, has a very active lifestyle enjoying many outdoor activities, enjoys cooking, being creative, and loves serving as a Life Group Facilitator and Life Group Coordinator at the Real Life Clermont campus. Debra’s favorite pastime is getting together with family and friends doing just about anything.