Ruth and Naomi Part 1
Updated: Jan 26
This story gives us a beautiful example of a human relationship, exemplifying love, devotion and caring for one another. The fact that it is between a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, which can often be a very complicated dynamic, makes it even more remarkable. Naomi’s insistence that Ruth and Orpah return to their homeland where they will likely remarry and have children shows her selflessness. I’m sure she would much prefer to have her daughters-in-law accompany her on her journey back to Judah, but she was looking out for their best interest. I certainly don’t fault Orpah for adhering to Naomi’s practical advice (I have to admit, I would likely have done the same thing.), but I completely admire Ruth’s fierce loyalty in refusing to leave Naomi. It’s not surprising that Ruth’s words of dedication in verses 1:16-17 are often included in wedding ceremonies.
Once they arrived in Bethlehem, Ruth continued to care for Naomi, taking the initiative to go and gather leftover grain for the two of them to eat. We see God rewarding Ruth and providing for her and Naomi as she ends up in the field of Boaz, a relative of Naomi’s late husband. Boaz shows his appreciation for Ruth’s care of Naomi, telling her to stay and glean in his field, where she would be protected.
In this day and age in our country, people don’t always take care of their families the same way they did in the past and don’t necessarily view their in-laws in the same way they view their own family. It’s not as common for multiple generations to live under the same roof. It’s likely that we can live in a whole different city or state than our extended family members. Even so, we have the responsibility to take care of our families and others that God has placed in our lives. Let Ruth be an example of how we treat our relatives, especially those that are in a vulnerable position.
1. Reflect for a moment on the decision Ruth and Orpah were faced with when Naomi insisted they return to their homeland. What do you think you would have done?
2. Has there been a time in your life where you made a difficult decision, that God later rewarded you for?
3. In this story we see Ruth helping Naomi, then Boaz helping Ruth. Think of a time where someone helped you when you were in need. Consider taking a moment to send an email or text thanking them.
4. Who are the people in your life that God has called you to take care of?