How can Ruth’s dedication to Naomi teach us about the end-times?
In the days of the judges of Israel, a famine had come upon the land. The famine itself was not natural, but a consequence of the disobedience of God’s people. Had Israel remained obedient to the Lord and hearkened to His judges, the peace they had from their enemies and from disaster would not have ended. But the disobedience of God’s people brought dearth to them and to all Israel.
We must never forget this lesson: rebellion against God brings suffering to everyone. Whether it come from the world or from Satan himself, rebellion has always brought affliction with it. So was the case in the rebellion of Satan against God in heaven and in the rebellion of man against God in Eden. Rebellion degrades the image of God in man and eventually turns him into something that God never designed him to be. These rebellions afflicted the entire world and are directly responsible for the chaos it is in now. Rebellion afflicted the world and rebellion against God’s judges afflicted the land of Bethlehemjudah.
Elimelech, in seeking to avoid the famine, brought his family to the land of Moab. In this maneuver, Elimelech displayed a lack of faith. In forsaking the land, he forsook God’s promises to him and his people that He would provide for them, even in hardships. Even in Gideon’s time, there was still provision to be had. But faith gave way to unbelief and Elimelech brought his family to Moab.
Living in Moab brought the inevitable result, assimilation and application of its teachings. This we can see in the sons of Elimelech marrying the Moabitesses, Ruth and Orpah. But despite this attempt at assimilation, it was by the sons of Elimelech that their wives had turned to God. These interfaith marriages brought their spouses to the way of the Lord by their husbands’ lifelong examples.
Through allowing the Lord to work in them, Ruth and Orpah got to know God for who He is. In their married lives, the sisters-in-law beheld this to a greater extent. They found in God what their false gods could not deliver: a God who loved and cared for all peoples. Thus, when their husbands died, they strongly desired to return to Bethlehemjudah with their mother-in-law.
Thus, the lesson presents itself to all who are in interfaith marriages. Those who serve the Lord must also serve their families with a godly example. In character and obedience to God, their faith is to be practiced, extending to all points of their lives. This will not only bring happiness to their families, but will help them understand what God is like. Their walk before them and Him could be the very means that God will use to reach out to them in the last days. This lesson must always be kept in mind, for an entire family could be saved by the example of just one person in the family.
Such was the fruit of Mahlon’s and Chilion’s lifelong witness. Now that their husbands were dead, Naomi sought to do what she could to provide for the welfare of her daughters-in-law. She had heard that the Lord had brought them provision for her people and planned to return there. But she did not want her daughters to suffer the life of a widow as she would. She bid them return unto their mother’s house in Moab, that they might find rest someday as the husbands of another. This offer of solace, the two initially refused, for they loved Naomi and never desired to be apart from her.
But in Naomi’s plea, we find a valuable lesson.
“And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say; I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons; Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord is gone out against me” (Ruth 1:11-13).
In her second plea, Naomi highlights what the severity of their situation is now and what the hardship will be. The sorrow of their tragic situation is expressed and she pleads with the sisters-in-law to return to Moab. Here, the line of faith is drawn, for Naomi cannot see what their blessed end will be.
Orpah could not bear the thought of experiencing further woe. The reality of the situation, as Naomi put it, was too much for her to handle. She was not prepared to sacrifice any more than she had already. As such, she tearfully kissed her mother-in-law and departed from her and from the Lord. She returned to the false gods that could not see, hear, or speak, as many will do when they will depart from the Lord.
But Ruth displayed a different kind of faith than her sister-in-law. She had heard everything that her mother-in-law said in her plea, the hopelessness of her returning with her and the struggles they would have to face. But Ruth would not depart from Naomi. Her mind was made up.
Ruth gave a reply of love, determination, and dedication worthy of all who seek to love with Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. In loving her mother-in-law as her own soul, Ruth displayed a regard for the two greatest commandments in the law. Even as a Moabitess, a citizen of a pagan land, Ruth proved that the love of the Lord can be cultivated in the heart of all who seek Him.
This, the Lord seeks to do in all the world to those who do not know Him. Let no one think that their time to choose is over, for there will arise an entire people who will manifest a love for God stronger than Ruth’s love for Naomi. Her commitment to Naomi was rewarded, for the two returned to Bethlehemjudah, where she eventually met Boaz and joined the messianic line. Her faith, like all who serve the Lord, will be rewarded in the days of Christ’s return, for they will all return to a home where they will enjoy eternal life with the Son of God, the culmination of the messianic line.
To Be Continued…Check Us Out Next Time!