On the road to Bethlehem, Ruth said to her widowed mother-in-law, “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. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” (Ruth 1:16–17) Every Christian is called to follow in the footsteps of Ruth.
Ruth said, “where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge.” Rather than making the sensible, safe decision, Ruth made the sacrificial one. Christ left the glory of heaven to lay down his life to give us new life (Philippians 2:1-8). Christ often calls his followers to choose the road of sacrifice.
Ruth says, “Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” Ruth had no desire to return to her people and their false god. She has seen in her mother-in-law’s household the ways of the LORD. Spiritually speaking, we all come into this world as strangers to God. Will we, like Ruth, relinquish and turn away from the false gods of this world and bind ourselves to the one true God? Will we leave our old people and bind ourselves to the new people of God?
Ruth’s commitment goes farther still. It launches into eternity. She says, “Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried.” In ancient cultures, one’s resting place had great significance. Ruth did not want to be buried in her old homeland anymore, but in the land of her new God. Christ’s followers stake their eternity in him.
Ruth sealed her covenant with a curse. If you made a covenant in Ruth’s day, you might run your finger across your neck and say, “God strike me dead, if I break this covenant.” Ruth had no intention on going back on her commitment.
Have you followed in the footsteps of Ruth? Have you forsaken all else to follow him? This is very serious. This question cannot be answered casually. But, we all, whether actively or passively, make a choice in this matter. Think you are to far off? Think the calling is to great? Consider Ruth the Moabite. In the first chapter of the Book of Ruth, she stands out as the most God-honoring person in the story thus far.