Driven by a famine from their native land, Elimelech and Naomi and their two sons came to the land of Moab and there continued. Soon Elimelech died, leaving Naomi and the two sons. The sons became married to women of Moab, Orpah and Ruth. It came to pass that the young men also died, leaving Naomi and the daughters-in-law alone.
When she learned that God had given rain to her native Judah, Naomi decided to return. Then it was that she entreated each of the young women to return to her mother’s house. Their hearts were touched. They lifted up their voice and wept. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law and departed. But, Ruth clave unto her. In words of unusual beauty and pathos, she gave expression to a great choice. Let us describe it.
I. A Personal Choice. No person persuaded her to make it. No relative had set the example. Of her own accord she made it. Reminding us that the religion of Christ is a religion of the individual--
- In the choice to be made (Matthew 16:24; Revelation 22:17).
- In the duties to be done (Acts 2:38; Romans 15:1, 2; Philippians 2:12).
- In the rich rewards to be enjoyed (Revelation 22:12).
II. A Determined Choice. She did not allow the example of Orpah or the entreaty of Naomi to change her (Ruth 1:14, 15). Her steadfastness silenced the entreaty of Naomi (Ruth 1:18). Like great Paul, “none of these things moved” her (Acts 20:24).
III. A Comprehensive Choice. It involved a number of relationships, namely:
- A new country. Naomi had reminded her that she was going to the land of Judah—to Ruth a strange land. To this Ruth replied, “Whither thou goest, I will go” (cf. Luke 14:33).
- A new home. Naomi had said, “Return each of you to her mother’s house.” To this Ruth replied, “Where thou lodgest, I will lodge.”
- New associates. Naomi had said, “Thy sister has gone back to her people.” Ruth replied, “Thy people shall be my people.”
- A new religion. Naomi had reminded her that she was going to worship the God of Israel. Ruth replied, “Thy God shall be my God” (cf. Matthew 1:5). The choice of Christ involves new relationships (II Corinthians 5:17; I Thessalonians 1:9-10).
IV. A Choice of Youth. When Boaz met her, he asked, “Whose damsel (girl or maiden) is this?” he called her “daughter” (Ruth 2:5-8). While life was plastic and pliable, she remembered her Creator. Early devotion is likely to be eminent and permanent devotion. How very happy and useful becomes life when we begin to serve God in youth! (Ecclesiastes 12:1).
V. A Choice for All Time (Ruth 1:17). Thought made in a moment, it was made for all time. She did not make the choice for experiment. Having put her “hand to the plow,” she determined never to turn back (Luke 9:61-62).
In the moral and spiritual realm, we are confronted with two antagonistic forces—good and evil. We cannot choose both, serve both! (Matthew 6:24; 12:30). A choice is inevitable. By failing to choose the good, we choose the evil (Joshua 24:15; Deuteronomy 30:19b).
-via The Minister’s Monthly (September 1971)