“But Ruth said, ‘Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.'” (1:16)
I’ve seen a lot of people use this verse at weddings. It’s a beautiful sentiment, and I don’t think it’s wrong to be recycled in this way; I just think it’s beautiful to consider that one of the most romantic lines in the Bible was said from one gal to another.
Life is full of relationships, and I think we do a disservice to them by placing all the attention on marital relationships. At that time, marriage was more about financial stability than love. Many awful things have been committed in the name of financial security.
Yes, tomorrow we will delve into how cool it was of Boaz to take these women in, but today, I want to celebrate this moment when the love of the LORD was demonstrated in the self sacrificing love within a very unpopular relationship: in-laws.
It takes a lot of guts and heart to say, “I don’t care what happens to me, I’m sticking with you.” Self-preservation is a powerful force, yet it is opposite of the love of God. Self-sacrifice, that’s what we see in Him. That’s what we are to notice in this little family. It is not something to be limited to marital love. It is the way the LORD teaches us to love.
The subsequent favor, mercy and blessing of the LORD, in this story, is accredited to this self-sacrificing act of Ruth.
“Boaz replied to her, ‘All that you have done for your mother-in-law after the death of your husband has been fully reported to me, and how you left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and came to a people that you did not previously know. May the LORD reward your work, and your wages be full from the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge.’” (2:11-12)
This reminds me of something Jesus said,
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.” (12:24-25)
The Kingdom of God is about doing the risky thing for the sake of another. It’s about putting the interests of others before our own. It’s about loving unto death. Staying with Naomi was a very risky move for Ruth, but she didn’t care. She loved her mother-in-law.
The next time you’re faced with a major decision, think: am I motivated by self-preservation or love?
Love often looks (and honestly is) foolishness, but we are fooling ourselves if we think self-preservation is a path to life.