“She arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the fields of Moab that the Lord had visited his people and given them food… Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, ‘Go, return each of you to her mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. The Lord grant that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband!’ Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. And they said to her, ‘No, we will return with you to your people.’ But Naomi said, ‘Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? Turn back, my daughters; go your way, for I am too old to have a husband… Even if I should have a husband this night and bear sons, would you therefore wait till they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters...’ Then they lifted up their voices and wept again. And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.
“And she said, ‘See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.’ But Ruth said, ‘Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.’ And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.” Ruth 1:6,8-18
Ruth had every practical reason to stay in her native land. It was all she knew, her people and religion were there, and her marriage into this Israelite family had brought untold sorrow, disruption, and broken dreams. Some may have said they actually brought a curse. But Ruth. She could not resist the pull to their God. Something about Him drew her like a magnet to leave everything familiar to venture out in faith and follow, and for that she was eternally blessed. (Ruth 1:1-5; 4:10-12,18-22)
Responding in faith to the pull of God initiates an exciting love life with Him and opens a fount of blessings beyond measure, yet for varied, weak reasons, we fail to embark on the adventure. We stay back with a provincial group of people we know and default to narrow, worldly reason, unwilling to embrace new horizons and relationships. We snuggle cozily into comfort and familiar, and let fear and fretting grow into undefined but brooding monsters ‘out there.’ We nurse wounds and sludge through bitterness and the pain life brings, resigned that we can never escape. (1 Corinthians 2:9; Ephesians 2:8-10)
Where are we surrendering to the enemy’s Turn back, Turn back instead of pressing forward with God? When will we name the limitations we’ve foolishly set, confess our sin of rebellion or unbelief, and leave behind our foreign gods for full, unfettered life in Christ?
Lord, quicken my spirit to follow where You lead. Keep me clinging to You always as I go, stay, serve, and worship.