Ruth 1:16-18 (New Living Translation)
Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!” When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she said nothing more.
If you have watched enough TV sitcoms over the years, you could easily believe that relationships between in-laws are always fractured, strained, and full of stress. If you search the term “in-laws” online, some of the first websites to be listed are horror stories and jokes about mothers-in-law. If you take a boat tour out of Clayton, New York, they’ll swing you by “Mother-in-Law Island,” a tiny house situated on an outcropping of rock reaching just above the waterline. Local legend has it that 19th century millionaire George Boldt built it specifically for his M-i-L when she visited.
In-laws get a lot of bad press.
That all makes today’s scripture all the more refreshing! A young woman named Ruth is widowed, and her mother-in-law Naomi has urged her to return to her hometown. Naomi has no way of supporting Ruth now that her son is dead, and she wants her daughter-in-law to be provided for. She tells Ruth, “May the Lord reward you for your kindness to your husband and to me. May the Lord bless you with the security of another marriage” (Ruth 1:8-9).
But Ruth won’t hear anything about leaving her mother-in-law’s side, even if it means living in poverty. Ruth promises to stay by Naomi, living where she lives, going where she goes, dying where she dies. That is serious commitment! Why would Ruth place such trust in this woman with whom she has no genetic bond?
In Naomi’s faithful, selfless love, Ruth has seen something of incredible value.
Ruth says to Naomi: “Your God will be my God.” Because of Naomi’s example, Ruth chooses to follow God, wherever the path may lead.
What do those closest to you know about your faith? If someone in your family was asked to explain what it is that you believe, would they be able to answer?