All the time I forget WHO is WHO in the Bible. I forget why they are important. I get them mixed up. There are SO many John’s & Mary’s that sometimes I just can’t keep up.
Being in ministry that brings a whole new set of struggles, there have been so many times in the past few years that I have had a VERY confusing look on my face and said, “Remind me again who they are…” haha Then I slowly but surely remember who they were and what they did… like hey I know who that is! Whoop Whoop.
Recently I was asked to be on the Curriculum team for writing Life Group lessons, if you know me you know that I am not a “theological thinker,” I am a “how does this apply to my life and why does this matter” thinker. I wrote my first “lesson” with the help of a few other guys, on Ruth. We are currently going through a series called “Scandal.” Yes we are talking about scandalous women in the Bible because that is what our church does, is we talk about it.
If you have forgotten about who Ruth is, like I so often do. She’s a woman I admire. A woman who is left widowed, along side a mother-in-law and a sister-in-law (Ruth 1:1-5). In the first chapter it begins by stating there is a famine in the land, then the husbands die, Orpah (the sister-in-law) leaves because Naomi can’t give her another man, Ruth stays with Naomi, Naomi is bitter towards God. Then Ruth & Naomi leave for Bethlehem, where barley harvest has just begun.
Let’s focus on Ruth 1:16- But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.
From that passage, specifically that verse, we see God’s faithfulness. We see Ruth throw aside serving the God’s of Moab and start to serve the God of Naomi. Ruth gave up everything in order to be with Naomi, to be faithful to her. We see them in a famine at the beginning of the text and at the end say, “the barley harvest was beginning.” Another way that God is showing His faithfulness. Have you seen this kind of faithfulness in your life?
(1) Where you GO, I will GO: Trusting God
So let’s think about this commitment in verse 16… Ruth was making a commitment to Namoi that was a pretty big deal. This commitment of staying with her and not going back home meant:
- Leaving her family and all that she knew
- At this point she is living in this widowhood and childlessness (basically signing up to be a widow/not have any children ever again) because Naomi had no more men in her line to give and if she left Naomi, her commitment would be lost and she would be alone
- She is going to an unknown land with new people, customs and language
- Even if Naomi dies, Ruth will never get to go home
Ruth teaches us that we must give up it all, in order to truly follow the Lord. We see this selflessness woven into the book of Ruth, that she is giving up herself in order to follow Naomi.
What a beautiful example of how God cares for us. He pursues us. He will never leave or turn His back on us. Where we are, He is there. That not even death can separate us. God adores us and created us to be in a relationship with Him, trusting Him wholeheartedly and with everything we have, just like Ruth and her commitment to Naomi.
Is there anything that is holding you back from being fully committed to your relationship with Christ?
(2) Where you STAY, I will STAY: Being patient and learning in the waiting
One of my favorite things anyone has ever said is in a All Sons & Daughters song story on Buried in the Grave, the main singer says, “I think Jesus dying and coming again is really important message about waiting. I think there are going to be seasons of our lives where we feel like we have answered the call of God or we have followed Him to a certain degree… something in our lives happened or the call has changed the course of direction for us and we find ourselves sitting and waiting and we go… “But God this is what I know you have called me to do. I don’t see the end of it, God I don’t see you right now.” My hope is in what you have called me to do and I think He just calls us to be faithful and wait and remember his words. He was going to come again and He did come again and that the obedience and waiting is sometimes more important than what it is he has called us to do what we learned in the waiting is sometimes a greater message.”
We are called to be faithful and to be faithful, that means that with everything we are we follow after God. That so often He calls us to be faithful, to remember His word and know that He said He was going to come again and (spoiler alert…) He did.
(3) Your PEOPLE, will be my PEOPLE: Your GOD will be my GOD:
We are God’s people & that changes everything. It’s our identity, it’s WHO we are. Ruth chose to leave the gods of the Moabites and follow Naomi’s God. She left what she knew for the unknown because she was committed to Naomi. Don’t let anyone stop you from being committed to God the way Ruth was committed to Naomi. God is adores you so much and desires to have a relationship with you.
Because where you go… He is there.
Where you stay… He is there.
His people… are your people.
Is is my God… He is OUR God.
How do you fit into this lesson?
1: Are you Ruth and need to give up your gods (or something that you put before God) to follow the one true God?
2: Is there something holding you back from living in His faithfulness?
3: Are you in the in between, waiting and learning and resting in the plans God has for you?
4: Are you living in who God says He is and what He has called you to do? How do you bring others along in that walk?