Faith and Faithfulness – Ruth 1:16-17

Ruth_Gleaning_Grain“But Ruth replied, ‘Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!'” (Ruth 1:16-17, NLT).

Ruth was a foreigner from Moab who married into an Israelite family from Bethlehem.

The Israelite family had moved to Moab during a severe famine in Judah. All the men of this Israelite family died in Moab, leaving behind three widows—Ruth, her mother-in-law Naomi, and her sister-in-law Orpah.

When Naomi decided to return to her hometown of Bethlehem, Ruth decided to go with her mother-in-law rather than returning to her own family.

Ruth’s declaration of love, loyalty, and faith in God in these verses has few equals in the Bible.

Even Naomi recognized Ruth’s determination and no longer insisted she stay in Moab with her own family: “When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she said nothing more” (vs.18).

What’s significant about Ruth’s commitment was that she declared it in a moment of deep emotion when her beloved mother-in-law told her she was moving away. But, she also lived out her commitment by accompanying Naomi to Judah and supporting her mother-in-law.

Her faith was characterized by faithfulness.

When Naomi and Ruth  arrived in Bethlehem, their situation was difficult, but Ruth provided subsistence for Naomi and herself through the hard and risky task of gleaning in the grain fields (vs. 2:2).

Ruth acted with modesty, grace, and courtesy, but also with determination, focus, and endurance. Ruth lived out her promise to trust God and take care of her mother-in-law.

In the end, Ruth married a wealthy landowner and their child became the grandfather of King David, which meant Ruth played an important role in God’s messianic plan.

But, Ruth’s act of faith in God’s promises was climaxed by her life of faithfulness to God’s promises.

While faith initiates a project, faithfulness completes it! Our eternal life begins with an act of faith in God, but we obtain eternal life by being faithful to God.

 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” (Galatians 5:22-23, NLT).

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