“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’” —Ruth 1:16, NIV
Ruth’s words are often used in wedding ceremonies—the pledge between a wife and her new husband. In fact they were a promise made between a daughter-in-law and her mother-in-law—after the husband and son had passed off the scene.
Added to that unusual circumstance, Ruth was a Moabite who was about to embark on a journey to a foreign country with a women who could make no promises in return. Naomi was going back home without her husband and her sons, without protection or the expectation of provision once she returned to Bethlehem.
But the bond between the two women was held together with much more than a now defunct marriage or a shared widowhood. What Ruth saw and heard in her mother-in-law’s life during those years when Naomi and her family lived in Moab, was enough to convince Ruth that there was something in these people that she wanted.
The truth is, these women lived in the dark days of Israel’s spiritual history. Though we are not told how closely Naomi, her husband, or her sons, clung to their God during those years, there was enough light there to illuminate Ruth’s darkness. When the opportunity came she knew she had to go with Naomi no matter how bleak the future might be in a land far from all that was familiar to her and in spite of the meager possibilities that might await her.
Ruth went, and God honoured her promise to Naomi. The words Ruth spoke to Naomi were also words spoken to God, and God always honours commitment to him. What Naomi was incapable of supplying, God supplied—a hope and a future. In a wonderful example of Christ who buys us back from slavery to sin, Boaz acted as Ruth’s “redeemer” and brought her into the family of Israel, offered her his hearth and his home, his protection and his provision as his wife.
What seemed impossible when the two women left Moab, became reality. God’s like that. The impossible is always possible with him.