In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land, and a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. … Now Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband. … When she heard in Moab that the LORD had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, Naomi and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there. … Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the LORD show kindness to you, as you have shown to your dead and to me. May the LORD grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.” … Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-by, but Ruth clung to her. … 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. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.”
Ruth 1:1-19 (selected verses)
God Heals Our Brokenness
What was Ruth thinking? She had married into a family from Israel after they had immigrated into her country of Moab. This family experienced great misfortune. They had left Israel because of a famine. The father of the family died before Ruth married his son. Then both sons died, leaving only Ruth, her mother-in-law Naomi, and a sister-in-law.
When Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem in Israel, Ruth went with her. Why?
If Ruth went back with Naomi, what did her future hold? Ruth would be living in a foreign land far from her parents and siblings. Customs would be different. Ruth’s chances of remarriage were slim. When Ruth swore faithful, unwavering love to her mother-in-law, what was she thinking?
Could Ruth have been thinking about the God her new family had shared with her? This God promised to rescue his people from their guilt and sin. Were his promises more important to Ruth than a comfortable life in Moab?
We can find “spiritual” people who promise to make us prosper, give us a fantastic marriage or career success. God’s promises are different. He doesn’t promise a pain-free life filled with success. He promises to take care of our deepest needs—our brokenness because we have insisted on living our lives on our terms, not God’s. God sent his Son Jesus to heal us of our brokenness and take away our guilt. Jesus suffered in our place to restore us into God’s family. Jesus fills our hearts with joy, peace, contentment no matter how pleasant or painful our life is right now.
Ruth knew God’s forgiveness was far greater than any short-term struggles she faced in Israel. She wanted to stay with the God of undeserved love who healed broken people.
God makes the same promises to us!
Lord, help me look past my current struggles and heartache to see your promises of forgiveness, comfort, rescue, and healing. Strengthen my faith to think about my eternal hope. Amen.
This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.