Ruth 1:1-22, “Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her”
One woman decided to go back to her people but had to a face head on a problem, she had two friends who had been related to her by marriage at one point. With the death of her sons, there was actually nothing in the family line to tie them together apart from the bond of friendship they developed over the years.
Ruth 1:8-9, “8 And Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “go return each to her mother’s house. The Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me”, 9 “The Lord grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband“. In the previous verse, Naomi began a journey out of the land of Moab to return to Judah (Bethlehem), she has her daughters-in-law but in the middle of journey she pauses to talk to some sense to these two women she calls her daughters. Though hard to kiss the friendships goodbye, she speaks a blessing over them as she releases them back to their homes. Naomi had journey to embark on, a lot of past issues to deal with, she could not stand bringing her friends into this kind of misery. Ruth 1:9, “…So she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept”, vs. 10, “And they said to her, “Surely we will return with you to your people”. If you look carefully, you will see that Naomi had introduced them to a new life style where the true God was seen in the life of Naomi something they may have desired. Today mothers-in-law and the daughter’s in law always clash and we see a perfect example of what friendship is all about breaking every barriers and boundaries from these three women who have very little in common. Naomi has a concern for these two young women’s future that she puts their desires a head of hers, she cares more about their lives than hers and she is willing to advise them on what to do. Even with the explanation, they refused to go back for 1. the past looked so bad (full of darkness, idols, no hope, confusion). Who in their right mind would want to go back to such a place? 2.,They had suffered together, walked together, built a bond that was not going to be easily broken. All they were saying in other words was that, they came too far to go back.
Question that arises is in Ruth 1:11, “…why will you go back with me? to add to that question, “What have you seen in me to want to journey with me? Is it because you see that there could be hope to gain more sons that will in turn marry you and we will continue with the family tree? Check again, I am old and the Lord has gone against me, there is no hope to get a husband and be married again and bare children and even if that happened, would you patiently wait till they are grown to marry you? To top it all, where I am going is not promised that it will be okay, are you sure you want to take the risk?”, Perhaps are this point they were beginning to see Naomi’s reasoning of preventing them from coming back with her. What a friend who is concerned about the welfare of others; what she had, she gave it freely. Ruth 1:14, “Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law…” The first time the two women were ready to journey with Naomi but with Orpah convinced by the argument stated and a sense that there could be no hope, they wept once again and she kissed Naomi goodbye. She was not willing to suffer anymore, she could not see the light at the end of the tunnel. The person who could still give her hope had just declared that she had nothing else left to give, what else can she do but go back to Moab, to her people, to her gods.
Meanwhile Ruth 1:14, “…Ruth clung to her”. Did Ruth miss to hear what Naomi said? there is nothing left to tie them together and there is no guarantee that things will get better so once again Naomi tried to speak some sense to her, Ruth 1:15, “And she said, “Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law”. Everyone has a choice to be to make, people can influence you either the wrong way or the right way. The decision you make will affect you for a long time. The decision we make shouldn’t be based on what someone else made. Their convictions could be different from yours and what they have been exposed to could show whether they are ready to journey forward or backward. Orpah is gone but Ruth said in verse 16, “Entreat me not to live you, or turn back from following after you; forever you will go, I will go; And wherever you will lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. vs. 17, “Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, more also, if anything but death parts you and me”. That requires boldness and conviction. One says our situation is just too much to keep us together, the other says, we will work it out together. Sounds like marriage for one party says for better or for worse, I will stick with you (good marriage), the other party says, there is so much to deal with that I am not ready for (shaky marriage).
Every person is in dire need of at least one faithful friend, or mate who will look him or her in the eye and say, “I will never leave you”. You may grow old and gray, but I will not leave you. The years may be cruel and the times may be hard, but I’ll be here. I will never leave you. We might have met under different circumstance and those things might be gone but one thing I know for sure that the circumstance allowed us to start something that could never be easily broken and replaced by the current times. You are all that I’ve got and I will be with you till the end. How would you rate you commitment to your friend Jesus? how about a friend or the people you care about? does your loyalty and faithfulness ever waver? With whom are you a friend forever? Pray for that person(s) today. Blessings Ev