THE REDEEMER part 2 – Where You Go I Go (Ruth 1:8-22) – James Lusk
The book of Ruth is a narrative story in the Old Testament. Narratives, like any genre, require their own set of interpretive tools. The book of Ruth speaks to us in very specific detail about the Heart of the Lord. Every line is filled with compact theology that helps to paint a vivid picture of the Lords intention.
We return to the story just as Naomi along with her two daughter in-laws plan to return to Bethlehem. Naomi who acted in disobedience leaving Bethlehem in the first place, returns only as word of plenty arrives.
Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.”
Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.” But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons— would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!”
At this they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her. “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”
But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.” When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.
So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?”
“Don’t call me Naomi” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty[ has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.” So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.
Naomi, Orpah and Ruth all approach a difficult circumstance very differently. Orpah, although at first she resists, choses not to risk staying with Naomi and stays in Moab. Ruth on the other hand, choses to follow Naomi and abandon the likelihood of a “normal” life. Ruth choses the to follow The Lord. She clings to him, making Naomi’s God her own and trusting in His provision even if Naomi doesn’t.
Suggested Discussion Questions
Why do you think Naomi grumbles when she returns to Bethlehem?
What can be inferred by Ruth’s choice to cling to Naomi? Why did she choose to stay with her mother-in-law rather than seek a “normal” life in Moab?