Where do I go?

Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.

Ruth 1:1

The story of Ruth begins, not with Ruth, but Elimelech, the husband of Ruth.

In a time of great struggle, he was left to make a difficult decision. How do I provide for my family? Should I stay in my homeland, or should I leave?

He heard there was food in Moab. And so he left.

In retrospect, this turns out to be a bad decision. He ends up dying in a foreign land, along with his two sons, leaving his wife and his two daughter-in-laws widows.

Ruth is introduced to us by way of a test. Naomi has decided to return to her home, but is uncertain if her daughters-in-law are truly loyal, so she encourages them to stay home. On their trip back, Naomi tests the loyalty of Ruth and Orpah multiple times.

The first time, she frees them from any expectations or burden of duty they might feel.

Go, return each to her mother’s house: the LORD deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me. 

The LORD grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept. 

And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people. 

Ruth 1:8-10

The first test, they pass. They are faithful.

The second test, she is persuasive; arguing that she has no more husbands to provide them.

And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? 

Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons; 

Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD is gone out against me. 

And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her. 

Ruth 1:11-14

This persuades Orpah. She returns back home.

But Ruth says.

And so for a third time, Naomi attempts to persuade Ruth.

“Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law.”

Ruth 1:15

But Ruth replies with a deep, convicted reply,

And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: 

Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. 

When she saw that she was stedfastly minded to go with her, then she left speaking unto her. 

Ruth 1:16-18

In my life, I will be surrounded by tests.

Some will be obvious, some will be quiet.

I will be asked, “Will you stay in difficult times? Or will you leave?” My prayer and hope is that I pass these tests. If I keep my focus on God, I can persevere.

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