Our reading has jumped since yesterday. After the deaths of Elimelek, Mahlon and Kilion, the story turns on a piece of good news:
“[Naomi] heard in Moab that the LORD had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them” (1:6). This prompts a decision by Naomi to return to Judah, and she begins to journey on the road back with her two daughters in law. Naomi persuades Orpah to stay with her people, but, as our text today shows, Ruth decides to stay.
Ruth’s name means “companionship” or “friendship”. True to her name, she stays loyal to Naomi. But Ruth’s speech indicates that, in becoming part of Naomi’s family, she has other new loyalties. Not for Ruth the choice that Orpah made, the choice of the people and the gods of Moab. Instead, this amazing declaration from Ruth, “your people will be my people and your God my God”. And so Ruth, this widow who is outside of the people and faith of Israel, chooses to leave her own land and gods, even invoking the Lord’s name as she promises to stay with Naomi, and instead throws in her lot with God’s people, and the worship of the LORD.
Disaster turns to hope in the story, because God turns up. An outsider becomes an insider, as Ruth puts her trust in the LORD.
God is the same God today: intervening to save, turning disaster to hope, and constantly looking to bring those on the “outside” to the “inside” of relationship with him. In the circumstances we find ourselves in today, are we expecting God to show up? Do we believe that God can turn disaster into hope in our lives?