How loyal are you? Are you dependable? Are you true-blue? Can your family, your friends count on you to stand by your convictions, to stand by them? Are you willing to put yourself second to the needs of others to keep up your loyalty? Would you be so loyal that you would leave everything you have ever known to move to a foreign land?
One of my favorite biblical heroines is Ruth, a premier example of loyalty. Born in the country of Moab, a pagan nation which began with the incestuous relationship of Lot and his daughter, Ruth was probably raised in a culture that did not value women in the marital relationship and where worshiping false God’s was common practice. As a young woman she was asked to marry one of Naomi’s sons after Naomi’s family had move to Moab fromBethlehem. As was often the custom in Hebrew culture, Ruth, the bride, left her family and went to live with the groom’s family. It was in her new family that Ruth bonded with Naomi, becoming much like Naomi’s own daughter, and where Ruth learned about the God of Israel.
When Naomi’s husband and two sons die, Naomi, Ruth and Ruth’s sister-in-law, Orpah, become widows without any means of support. Naomi decides to return to Bethlehem and attempts to send her daughter-in-law’s back to their own families so that they would be provided for by their own male family members. However, Ruth responds to Naomi with these well-known words:
“Entreat me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go,
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
And your God, my God.
Where you die, I will die,
And there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me.”
Ruth not only agreed to go to Bethlehem with Naomi, leaving her own homeland, family and her God, but she was fully committed to Naomi and to God, forming a foundation of purposeful love and an outpouring of devoted deeds as she accompanied Naomi to Bethlehem. In Bethlehem, God provided food for them as Ruth gleaned from the fields. God soon provided security for Ruth and Naomi when Boaz married Ruth and provided posterity for Naomi through the birth of Ruth and Boaz’s son, Obed. Through Obed, God provided a great king, King David, for Israel and ultimately the Messiah through this Gentile woman who made a conscious choice to be loyal – loyal to Naomi and to her God.
He who pursues righteousness and loyalty finds life, righteousness and honor.
Proverbs 21:21 (New American Standard Bible)
Give each of us the courage to support loyalty in all our relationship but most especially in our relationship with your son, Jesus Christ. May we have the courage to stay steadfast in our love for one another and our love for you Oh God regardless of how disheartening life might seem. May be find peace and strength in your promises as we cling to each other and more so to you, Oh Lord.
In the Name of Jesus
Written by ©Marilyn Hoeth, November 12, 2006
NOTE: You may copy this but please do not change the wording and please include −©Mariliyn Hoeth, 2006, Posted 4/9/2012