Have you ever been heartbroken? Felt rejected? Abandoned? Have you ever felt alone?
Are you tired?
In the book of Ruth, chapter 1, we see the story of two women that were going through some tough times. They, themselves, were heartbroken and alone (Ruth 1:1-5). Both of their husbands died and they were left without a place to go.These women were called Naomi and Ruth.
Looking back at verse 1, the family had taken off from their homeland because of a famine. This was not a smart call of Naomi’s husband, Elimelek, as he chose to move to Moab out of fear and lack of trust in God. As he saw that things got rough, he decided to run away from the problems instead of embracing them. To make things worse, both Elimelek and his two sons died in Moab – leaving their wives as widows.
In his study on the book of Ruth, writer Ron Daniel states:
“Instead of being part of the solution by repenting, this man sells his property in Bethlehem and takes off. He brings his wife and two sons to Moab to wait out the famine – it was supposed to be a temporary stay. Whenever we leave God’s place and venture into the world, we always tell ourselves that it’s only temporary. But rarely is that the case. Once in the world, we find excuse after excuse for staying in it. It is only when we, like the prodigal son, hit rock bottom that we come back in repentance.”
As Naomi saw that she was not where she needed to be, she immediately took action. In verse 6, we see that she tells Ruth and another woman named Orpah (wife of her other son) that she wanted to go where God was. She was determined to go back to the center of God’s will.
Often times when we hit rock bottom is when we realize that we need God more than anything. Nevertheless, we have to be willing to change our current route. Naomi decided that she was moving out of her comfort zone – as she had lived in Moab for 10 years (talk about extended stay!) -and going to the place God wanted her to be since the beginning. And she did (v.7).
Naomi was not in great condition. On the contrary, she was depressed. Sometimes we think that we have to change ourselves before coming to God. This is not true at all.
In Matthew 11:28, our Father tells us: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
If you are weary and burdened, heartbroken, sad or empty, you can come to Him just like that. God is the one that can change our hearts. By our own strength, we are destined to fail. We are not perfect, after all!
We see that even with her depression, Naomi wanted to follow God – even if it meant going at it alone.
Ruth and Orpah, Naomi’s daughters-in-law, were moabite women. She told them to go back to their mother’s house and not follow her. As Moab was their land, they were offered an easier, less sacrificial life (v.8).
Orpah agreed. Ruth did not. Even after Naomi tried to convince her, she chose the life of complete devotion, sacrifice and service (v.11-17).
As we decide to follow Christ, the world is going to offer us plenty of “comfort zones”. The devil is going to try to keep us from complete devotion and total transformation. He will attempt to convince us that we can keep doing the same things and living similar lives and still be a follower of Christ. He will do anything to stop us from life-changing, radical and high-impact Christianity.
We can learn a lot from Ruth’s character. Even though Naomi was depressed and taking care of her would not be easy, Ruth decided to strengthen her, be her support, and give her life to service.
She rejected a life of humanly love (as the chances of her re-marrying in Moab were high), comfort and safety (as she was familiar with her land), and she chose to go where God was. She decided to look to Him and His purpose instead of her own desires.
We are called to do the same:
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” – Matthew 7:13
Don’t stay in your comfort zone. Like Switchfoot’s song says, we are “meant to live for so much more. “
In the end, even though it might not be easy, it’s going to be worth it. God promises to be with you every step of the way:
“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:10
There was no longer famine in the land when Naomi and Ruth got there. On the contrary, the harvest was beginning. (v.22)
Orpah missed out on that harvest and the blessings that would come right after Ruth and Naomi decided to go to God’s land.
You can choose to be like Naomi and Ruth and make the choice of life, or you can select to be like Orpah and stay in your comfort zone.
If you select the latter, though, you’re missing out on all the blessings God has for your life.You have no idea all that He wants to bless you.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
It’s up to you.
Characteristics seen in Ruth and Noemi: