Today’s scripture reading:
I believe Ruth’s remarkable loyalty is what earned her a place in both the Bible and the lineage of Jesus Christ. Our culture idealizes “looking out for number one,” but Scripture teaches us to protect loved ones and those in need (“Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Cor. 13:7; “Give justice to the poor and the orphan; uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute. Rescue the poor and helpless; deliver them from the grasp of evil people.” Ps. 82:3-4). Ruth is a shining example of faithfulness—she willingly adjusted her own schedule and expectations to meet Naomi’s needs.
With no family left to care for her and no neighbors who shared her faith in God, Naomi found herself in a foreign land, far from the comfort of a familiar and like-minded community. During those dark hours, Ruth—her son’s pagan widow—sacrificed everything to stay at Naomi’s side. Then, to care for her aging mother-in-law, Ruth set aside hope of remarriage as well as the prospect of a child. She packed her bags for a foreign country and swore to follow a strange religion: the worship of Naomi’s God.
Ruth undoubtedly was aware of the risks involved in casting her lot with another woman in a male-dominated society, but she did so without hesitation. And the young woman’s commitment did not end when they arrived in Israel. It was Ruth, following Naomi’s directions, who kept the two women fed. And it was Ruth, again under Naomi’s tutelage, who made a strategic alliance with Boaz that secured their future.
Ruth sacrificed mightily for her mother-in-law, and as a result, God gave her the very things she thought she’d forfeited—a God who loved her, a home, a husband, and a son. Moreover, Ruth is counted among the ancestors of the Messiah, Jesus. What a testimony of the reward for loyalty.