Never have I met a woman display integrity more powerfully than Ruth. [Ruth 1]
The story begins with a man and his wife, Elimelech and Naomi along with their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion together. They were Jews of Bethlehem (Ephraimites), and situations happened that a famine broke out in region of Bethlehem. Keep in mind that Bethlehem is also called “the House of Bread,” but there was no longer any bread there and Elimelech and Naomi had some hard decisions to make. So Elimelech, Naomi and their two sons packed up and made their way to the country of Moab. Food was certainly in abundance here, but also was many gods and false teachings. No time had gone by and Elimelech dies, leaving Naomi a widow. Though this was a tragedy, Naomi still maintained hope, for her two sons were alive and well.
Naomi two sons Mahlon and Chilion then marries Ruth and Orpah, both Moabites, and for ten years Naomi, her sons and daughters-in-law lived quietly and peacefully in Moab. Life was starting to look up, but tragedy struck a second time, and Mahlon and Chilion die also.
Now both Ruth and Orpah are young widows. But how is Naomi suppose to respond to this. She lost her husband, now both of her sons die. There were tragedies all around!
Meanwhile, Naomi hears “in the country of Moab that the Lord had visited His people by giving them bread.” (Ruth 1:6) Do take note, that Naomi maintains and acknowledges God as her “Lord” despite the travesties occurring all around her.
So, Naomi begins her journey back home to Bethlehem. Ruth and Orpah by her side, but not long in Naomi turns to her daughter-in-laws and says in not so many, Turn around. Return to your parents home. Go! (Verse8) Naomi thanks them for their kindness to her and their deceased, and concludes, “The Lord grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.” Ruth and Orpah both begin to weep on Naomi’s shoulder and to say in verse 9 “Surely we will return with you to your people.”
But Naomi repeats, “Turn back, turn back.” If I should say I have hope and bear a son tonight, would you wait for him to grow up to take him on as husband. Hope had depleted. Naomi had just lost her dearest loved-ones, and now she saw no hope in her life.
At Noami’s insistence (verse 14) , Orpah kisses Naomi (goodbye), but Ruth clings to Naomi.
1. A woman of integrity shows compassion and genuine empathy to others around them.
With Orpah now gone, Naomi in a final attempt to rid Ruth as well says, “your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” (verse 15)
Ruth’s compassion is great and very evident in the statement we are about to see. Ruth may have been humble, but by no stretch of the imagination was she weak. Ruth tells Naomi,
Entreat me (Urge me) not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you
For wherever you go, I will go
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God
And right when you think Ruth’s pledge to support and love Naomi was confined to as long as she lived, you hear her commitment also extending into her death.
Where you die, I will die,
And there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me.”
In this passage here, the name “Lord” who Ruth seals her vow is translated Yahweh– showing that Ruth’s her allegiance no longer lie to the gods of Moab, but to the God of all heaven and earth (Isaiah 37:16, Genesis 1:1)
As a woman of integrity, Ruth meant every word that she said and lived up her vow. But we shall see what became of the tragedies and heartaches. [TO BE CONTINUED]
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”
– Matthew 5:3 & 7