RUTH REFUSES TO DEPART FROM NAOMI
15 “Look,” Naomi said to her, “your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods. You should do the same.” 16 But Ruth replied, “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. 17 Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!” 18 When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she said nothing more.
1:15-17 - Naomi uses the example of Oprah going back to her people to encourage Ruth to do the same. An encouragement of peer pressure, Naomi uses whatever she can to encourage her other daughter-in-law to depart from her and go and try to find a new life. She does this because she knows the life ahead is almost certainly one of difficulty and uncertainty. But Ruth's response is one for the ages. Wherever you go, I will go, Ruth was committing to Naomi no matter the distance or location. Your people will be my people and your God my God, Ruth, unlike Naomi, was not considering herself an alien in a foreign land but one that would become part of the community's fabric. Ruth was claiming a new faith, the Lord of Israel. She has officially turned her back on Chemosh and Moab.
Moreover, finally, Ruth continued Naomi's lineage (even if for only the years she would live) by staying by her side till death, of both Naomi and Ruth. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Ruth gave up everything to stay beside Naomi, her home/nation, her family (Ruth 2:11), and any opportunity of finding a new husband. May the LORD punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us! Ruth meant business; this oath could be connected to a death-like punishment. The oath was before Naomi and, more importantly, to the Lord. Ruth has already accepted and recognized her new God, the God of Israel. Ruth (a new believer) shows Naomi (a believer her entire life) more faith and trust in God. What a great example that years and knowledge are not the deciding factors on one's spiritual maturity.
1:18 - As Naomi recognized Ruth's passion and compassion, she said nothing more about returning to her family. Naomi saw more commitment and conviction and knew that pushing the issue anymore was futile. One of the most important things one can do in life is remain committed and commit to one's convictions. Often the Gospel is most on display when a believer remains committed to their convictions through all circumstances. Ruth displayed this beautifully to her mother-in-law.
From Ruth's famous statement, how can you apply and commit to something similar?
Have you committed to a similar lifestyle? Where you live and the people you do life with, your church. Are you committed? Or are you willing to abandon when things are difficult or uncomfortable?