(It is best to read the post before this one, about Elimelech first. This post picks up where I left of with that one.)
After Elimelech traveled to Moab, he ended up dying. His two sons each married a Moabite woman. This is where Ruth comes in. She married Mahlon, who name means sickly. From his name we know Mahlon was a weak sickly person. We also know, from the context of the book, Ruth was a very beautiful woman. Have you ever wondered why Ruth, a beautiful woman, would marry this sickly weak foreign man? I personally believe it was because she knew this family that traveled into their land served the Lord God Jehovah! All of the surrounding nations knew about Israel and their God. They heard the stories of how they crossed the Jordan River. The heard how their God gave them victory at Jericho. They heard how, when Israel was obedient to their God, there was no stopping them. (The same is true in our life, btw.) I believe the Lord had been working on Ruth’s heart. Here was this girl, Ruth, living in an idolatrous land. A land where they had a god for almost everything. Yet, in the midst of this wicked land, she dwelt upon the God of Israel. The one true living God not made with hands!
Then one day, a new family moved into town, Israelites, Elimelech! Ruth ended up marrying Mahlon, Elimelech’s son, and sometime there after Mahlon died. Ruth was very close to her mother-in-law. (I did not know this was possible, until I read the book of Ruth. Just kidding! My mother in-law does read this blog from time to time and she is a wonderful person. :) ) I am sure Ruth desired Naomi to tell her all about her God. Maybe Ruth started from the begining with when God created the heaven and the earth. Perhaps, then she told her of the flood and Noah, and told her about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Then told her of the faith of Joseph and the meekness of Moses. How Moses left the only life he knew in Egypt to serve the one true God. Ruth, by faith, believed what she heard.
The day came when Naomi announced to both her daughters-in-law that she is returning to Israel. At this time, not only her husband, but both her sons were dead. She tells them they needed to stay in Moab. She informs them that if they travel with her, they will never be able to marry again in Israel. (According to the Law, they would need a willing, able, near kinsman of Elimelech for them to ever marry again. Because of this law, Naomi, believed they would never be able to marry if they went to Israel with her. ) Naomi stressed that they needed to stay in Moab over and over. The daughter in-law, Orpah, kissed Naomi and stayed in Moab. Ruth, however, was not about to leave. One of the most important verses of the book is Ruth’s response to Naomi:
(Ruth 1:16, 17) And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me.
These two verses have a lot in them. Ruth was not simply following Naomi because she liked Naomi. She was following Naomi because of the God of Naomi! Ruth counted the cost. She realized the idolatry she was taught was wrong. By her going with Naomi, Ruth was putting her faith in God. It was Ruth deciding to follow the Lord. She put self out of the way and put the Lord first! She decided to leave Moab and follow the Lord!
Oh, how the Lord deserves every part of our life, regardless of the cost! I wonder how many in our day today would have been like Orpah and stayed in Moab, not willing to pay the price. Ruth, by faith, decided to follow the Lord.
Remember, Ruth thought, by going to Israel, she would never marry again. She thought she would never have the privilege of having children and grandchildren. Yet she knew none of this compared to following the Lord. Little did she know, though, the Lord had amazing blessings awaiting her, including a kinsman redeemer! Yes, that’s right, a husband! If we would stay faithfull and serve the Lord with our whole heart, amazing blessing awaits us as well.