Let me give you a 'snapshot' of this passage...............Naomi and her husband had moved to another city in order to have a better life. She had two sons who married women from there and then her husbands and sons died. She decided to go back to her home town because she heard it was once again prosperous, taking with her (as I understand was customary back then) her daughter-in-laws. As they set out Naomi had a change of heart and tried to send her daughter-in-laws back to their home town to their own familiar culture and people. They both protested but in the end only Ruth stayed, vowing allegiance to her mother-in-law Naomi.
I wonder how Ruth and Orpah felt leaving their familiar surroundings and family and friends and moving to a completely new culture and people, taking on the care of their elderly mother-in-law? How would I feel? They seemed to truly love and want to be with Naomi but can we blame them for not wanting to leave the familiar? Change is difficult.......even good change!
I empathize with Orpah for going back to the familiar but I also admire Ruth for being courageous enough to step out and embrace the new challenge. Why did she? It seems to have something to do with the quality of life she found with Naomi. Naomi represented the true and living God of Israel and these young women would have learned about Him while in her family. Ruth was embracing more than just Naomi. She was choosing to embrace Naomi's God and people as well. In verses 16-17 we hear Ruth passionately expressing her allegiance to Naomi, “Don’t force me to leave you; don’t make me go home. Where you go, I go; and where you live, I’ll live. Your people are my people, your God is my god; where you die, I’ll die, and that’s where I’ll be buried, so help me God—not even death itself is going to come between us!”
As followers of Christ, are we just going along enjoying the good life He has given us? What if life changed and the 'good life' was gone replaced by trials and hardships. Would we go back to our old familiar lifestyle, or would we choose to venture on into the unknown, clinging tenaciously to the One, Christ, who was the reason for our good life. When life falls apart and as the song says, 'when the music fades', we will be able to keep going on and not have to go back to our old and familiar ways if we are clinging to a 'person' and not just a the good things the person provides.
Father God, sometimes the music of life fades a little for me (and sometimes a lot!!) but I am so glad to experience that, YOU don't fade at those times because YOU not the good things you give me are my life. Worship the Lord with me friends!