15 November 2020 PM – Ruth 1:14-18 – Ru20 – Scott Childs
Introduction: God has kept silent many of the details of Naomi’s character. We only see a glimpse here and there. As we noted in the previous section, Naomi’s family appeared to be a prodigal family running away from God’s will for their lives. Perhaps she was more spiritual than her husband was; however, for some reason she tarried in Moab after her husband’s death. She also told her widowed daughters-in-law to return to their gods. How could a godly person do that? Upon arriving in Bethlehem, she sounds bitter at God when she called herself Mara because God had dealt bitterly with her (1:20). Yet, something about Naomi and her relationship with God so gripped the heart of the young Moabite widow Ruth that she was willing to leave all she had ever known to be with her dear mother-in-law Naomi. Perhaps after her husband and sons died, Naomi drew close to the Lord and began teaching her daughters-in-law about Jehovah. We just do not know. One thing we do know is that Ruth made a huge commitment.
Transition: In our text this evening, I find several marks of Ruth’s Commitment that ought to challenge each of us.
The first mark of her commitment is that …
Ruth Clave unto Naomi (v.14)
a. Orpah kissed Naomi and left.
1) Once Orpah kissed Naomi and returned home, she walked right off the pages of Scripture, never to be mentioned again.
2) She obviously had not place her faith in Jehovah.
b. Ruth clave unto her.
1) She clung to Naomi. She stayed with her.
2) Ruth must have known something about Naomi that God has not revealed to us. Naomi was not perfect, but there was something about her character that caused Ruth to love her more than she loved her own flesh and blood.
3) It seems very probable that Naomi had witnessed a great deal to Ruth about Jehovah. Something motivated Ruth to turn her back on her gods and choose Jehovah.
One of the greatest challenges for every Christian is to develop character so Godlike that it attracts others to Christ by the way he or she lives and the things he or she says. The way we live and the things we say ought to work like a magnet to draw unbelievers to Christ.
The second mark of her commitment is that …
2. Ruth begged, “Intreat me not to leave thee” (v.16-17)
The KJBC states, “This verse is probably the strongest expression of personal commitment by one human being to another found anywhere in Scripture.” Ryrie Study Bible adds, “Ruth’s statement of commitment is perhaps the most beautiful in all literature, well deserving of the place it receives in many Christian wedding ceremonies.”
a. Whither thou goest, I will go
1) Ruth vowed to be Naomi’s companion no matter what happened. She was determined not to leave her.
2) The country of Israel would become her country.
b. Where thou lodgest, I will lodge
1) Wherever it might be that Naomi would pass the night, Ruth vowed to be there with her.
2) The small town of Bethlehem would become her town.
3) Being widows, there was no hope of ever living in a home any better than a simple shack, but Ruth accepted that.
c. Thy people shall be my people
1) Ruth would renounce her Moabite citizenship and become a proselyte Jew.
2) She was willing to identify fully with a people far different from her own people.
a) She would adopt their language. The Moabite language was a Canaanite language closely related to Hebrew yet in an ancient form.
b) She would adopt Jewish dress.
c) She would adopt Jewish culture.
d) She would adopt Jewish traditions.
d. Thy God shall be my God
1) “Ruth’s leaving meant final severance from her nation and her religion.” (Ryrie Study Notes)
2) Ruth was willing to forsake the gods of Moab and place her faith in Jehovah God of Israel.
3) Evidently, something about Naomi’s life and testimony had led her to conversion.
4) David Guzik states, “People should be able to look at your life, just as Ruth looked at Naomi’s, and say “I want your God to be my God.” Your trust in God, and turning towards Him in tough times, will often be the thing that draws others to the Lord … If you think you will persuade your friends or relatives to Jesus by your compromise, you are mistaken. Perhaps you are sincere, but you are mistaken. Only a bold stand for Jesus will really do it.”
e. Where you die I will die
1) Death is a time when people naturally get emotional and sentimental. Often people want to be buried in their homeland.
2) Ruth clearly stated that she wanted to be buried wherever Naomi was buried. Truly, she had a committed love for this woman.
f. Where you are buried, there I will be buried
1) She would stay with Naomi even beyond death.
2) Perhaps she was claiming the same hope of spending eternity with her in God’s presence.
g. The Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.
1) This is “A formula invoking divine punishment, the addition of and more also indicating the worst possible consequences if Ruth were not true to her vow.” (Ryrie)
2) Ruth’s commitment was a stirring example of leaving the past behind and moving forward.
Ruth’s commitment is a powerful example for every married couple to emulate. If married, you ought honestly to make these seven vows to your spouse.
Ruth’s commitment is also the kind of commitment an unbeliever needs when he or she trust’s Christ for salvation. True repentance and faith in Christ ought to lead to a radical change in every area of life.