Ruth Clung to Her

Ruth Clung to Her

I have had the privilege of preaching through the book of Ruth as my first ever sermon series and I think it’s one of the best short stories in the whole Bible. From beginning to end, the theme is the unfolding providence of God with a story of redemption at its core – which is also the story of the whole Bible. God, despite sin and suffering, reveals His plan of salvation to His people by redeeming them through the redemptive work of His Son Jesus Christ.

The main character, Ruth, was a Pagan, a Moabite and a non-Jew (Gentile). Moabites worshiped a god called Kimosh, whereas the Jews worshiped the God of the Bible (Yahweh). She married into a Jewish family that had moved to live in Moab but, sadly, her husband Mahlon died, as did Chilion his brother and Elimelech his father thus leaving Orpah (the wife of Chilion), Ruth and Naomi (her mother in-law) widowed.

Imagine the grief and the difficulty this would have brought. Naomi had to burry her husband and two sons. I can only imagine the terror she must have been going through. Understandably, she decides to go home – back to her hometown of Bethlehem. Devastated by the ordeal, she begs Ruth and Orpah to stay in Moab with their family instead of being stuck with her for the rest of their lives. She had nothing more to give the ladies other than grief and sadness. So, Orpah chooses what seems to be the reasonable option and stays with her people in Moab but Ruth does something quite extraordinary – “Ruth clung to her” (Ruth 1:14). Yes, Ruth abandoned all that she had and went faithfully with her mother-in-law to Bethlehem – a foreign country.

Here, we discover Ruth going through a genuine conversion. Not only does Ruth decide to be faithful to Naomi but she does so much more than that. By retuning with Naomi to Bethlehem, Ruth becomes faithful to the God of Israel. She says, “Your people will be my people and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16). She commits and submits herself to the Lord by becoming a Jew. By clinging to Naomi, Ruth also clings to God and decides to follow His ways, His law and His statutes.

This is quite remarkable because her pleasures, comfort, and family were in Moab. Everything that she needed to ‘be happy’ was not going to be in Bethlehem. Yet, despite this, she commits her life to be with Naomi and to follow the way of Yahweh. Committing in this way meant she would have done all the things the Jews would have done – from obeying the Torah, to taking part in the sacrifices, the feasts and so on. What a remarkable story of faithfulness!

As we read the book of Ruth through to the end, we see that God blesses her life of obedience and faithfulness. By choosing the more difficult decision of abandoning her old life for the sake of being faithful, she is redeemed. This is also the case with us. The path of sin is an easy path. We do what we want, when we want, but the path of righteousness is often a painful one because we are required to turn from our sin, from our idols, and to trust in Jesus. However, the merits of taking the path of righteousness are eternal, and are full of joy; being forgiven of our sins and rewarded with eternal life and the righteousness of Christ.

The book of Ruth is a wonderful picture of the salvific redemption of God. Will we be like Orpah, choosing to follow the easy path, the path that leads to our known comforts? Or, will we follow the difficult path—the path that requires submission, sacrifice and obedience? The path of righteousness is where the fullness of joy is found—in Christ. He brought the good news to earth. He chose the difficult path: the path of submission, sacrifice, and obedience to the Father. His death brings us life and as He rose from death and ascended into Heaven, He too exalts those who trust in Him, to sit with Him at the Wedding Supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:9).

Written by: Gwydion Emlyn, Assistant to the Pastor and member of St. Mellons Baptist Church

Comments

  1. Jill Christofides says:

    Really helpful blog, carries on wonderfully from yesterday, what will we choose? May God give us grace to make right choices, take ourselves in hand, and follow earnestly after Him.
    ” Solid joys and lasting treasure, non but Zions children know”

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