15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”
16 But 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. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her. 19 So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?”
This is a beautiful passage of love and devotion between family members, even family by marriage. Naomi was deeply loved by her daughter-in-law, enough for Ruth to choose to abandon her native country and her own family in order to travel to Naomi’s home town in Bethlehem. Naomi must have been an amazing role model and mentor, for Ruth to come to faith in God and choose to call Naomi her family, rather than her own.
Naomi suffered through the deaths of her husband and her only children, two sons. Still Naomi wanted the best for her two daughters-in-law, urging them to return to their families, since she could not provide other husbands for them. I wonder how the years changed Naomi in her absence from home. When she returned, the townspeople wondered, “Can this be Naomi?”
Naomi had a depth of character to be so loved by Ruth, along with the faith she passed on to her. She went through difficult times. We see in her a reflection of God’s love, who calls us family, who loves us and wants the best for us, who reaches out to us no matter where we came from and no matter what hardship we have experienced, and who calls us to be with him, in Jesus Christ.
Gracious God, help me today to know how much you love me, how much you love every person of your creation. Let me desire to be the same kind of model for others as Naomi was to her daughters-in-law. Let me seek to do all I can to further your good plans today, to the glory of your name. Amen.