God Goes with You
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.” Ruth 1:16 (ESV)
For ten years Ruth observed her mother-in- law Naomi and the rest of her husband Mahlon’s family. She heard about Bethlehem, the city her in-laws had left because of a famine. Perhaps she participated in times of prayer and the reading of scriptures with them. As the years passed, Ruth became closer to her husband’s family than to her biological family. The God they worshiped became her God.
Then everything changed. Naomi’s husband died; then Mahlon and his brother also died. Naomi told Ruth and her other daughter-in-law, Orpah, to go back to their families. Ruth faced a tough choice. Should she stay with the people she had known since birth? Should she go with her mother-in-law to the people she had so often heard about—the people of Israel? Orpah went back to her family and their gods, but Ruth chose to cling to Naomi.
Ruth placed herself under God’s protection. God was unchanging in the midst of the many changes in her life. She embraced living and working in Bethlehem, and God rewarded her. She married Boaz and gave birth to a son who became the ancestor of Jesus Christ, Israel’s Messiah, born in Bethlehem many years later.
Once I faced the decision of returning to family and friends or staying in a new community. I had joined a Bible study and had met women who knew God. I believed that if I stayed I would come to know Him too. Within a month, I became a Christian.
Has God placed you in a new environment? His presence is with you wherever you go. “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of [anything], for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV).
Ruth is listed in Jesus’ genealogy even though women were not usually included in biblical genealogies. Read Ruth 4:18-22 and Matthew 1:1-16. What is significant about the five women mentioned in Jesus’ genealogy—Tamar (v. 3), Rahab (v. 5), Ruth (v. 5), Bathsheba (“the wife of Uriah,” v. 6), and Mary (v. 16)?
Do we value God’s presence? Moses at one point in his journey in the wilderness boldly refused to go any further unless God’s presence went with him. Read Exodus 33:1-17. Why did Moses make this request?
Before He left His disciples, Jesus commissioned them to go out and make disciples of all nations. He promised to be with his disciples “to the end of the age.” Does that include us? How do you know?
Nancy J. Baker