Wednesday May 12

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. The Lord grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.” … Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. And [Naomi] said, “Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” Ruth 1:8-9, 14-15 NKJV

Bad Advice Refused

Naomi, her husband Elimelech, and their two sons had gone to Moab to escape a famine in Israel. They had remained there ten years. During this time Elimelech had died, and both sons had married Moabite women and had also died, leaving their mother and their wives Orpah and Ruth widows. Now Naomi had heard that the Lord had visited His people and given them bread. She decided to return and her daughters-in-law who loved her decided to go with her.

Naomi attempted to dissuade them, telling them to return home. They could remarry and find rest in the home of a husband. She was too old to have a son, and it would have taken years before such a son could marry his deceased brother’s widow. Naomi was bitter against the Lord whose hand, she said, had gone out against her. She seemed relieved when Orpah kissed her goodbye and went back to her people and to her gods! How sad!

She urged Ruth to do the same. But Ruth refused to leave her. “Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God,” she insisted. She had obviously heard of the true God from her husband’s family. Even if life would not be easy for her—for she was a Moabite who the Law said was not to enter the assembly of Israel, even to the tenth generation (Dt. 23:3-6)—she cast herself upon His mercy, taking refuge under His wings.

How sad for a believer to give such awful counsel! But how great was the faith of Ruth! God did not let her faith go unrewarded!

Eugene P. Vedder, Jr.