Ruth’s decision is one of the most memorable, powerful confessions in all of Scripture. In contrast to Orpah, Ruth made a magnificent confession of total commitment, a commitment that was to lead to her conversion and redemption.
Ruth demonstrated a deep, undying sense of devotion. She loved Naomi and clung to her. In contrast to Orpah, she did not give up, but bluntly rejected Naomi’s pleas for her to return to Moab. But Naomi continued to insist that Ruth return to her people and her gods, just as Orpah had done.
However, Ruth refused to listen to her mother-in-law. Forcefully, Ruth insisted that Naomi back off, stop urging her to leave and turn back. And then Ruth made her memorable declaration, a stunning, profound commitment. Was Ruth actually converted at this point, or was she converted earlier in Moab due to the belief of Naomi and her family? Or was she to be converted later, after arriving in the Promised Land? Scripture does not specifically say, but she had come to trust in the LORD and to take “refuge under His wings” by the time she met Boaz.
Whatever the case, the startling and total commitment now declared by Ruth is a clear picture of conversion. She made three strong pledges:
First, she made a strong commitment to family. Technically, Ruth was now a part of Naomi’s family, under her guardianship. Consequently, Ruth should have obeyed Naomi’s urging to leave and return to Moab. But Ruth loved Naomi and was totally devoted to her. Thus, she insisted that Naomi stop urging her to return to her people. In a straightforward manner, she declared that she would not leave. But rather, she would go wherever Naomi went and stay wherever Naomi stayed. Her devotion compelled her to remain by Naomi’s side, never leaving her.
Second, she made a strong commitment to God and to God’s people. Unequivocally, she declares, “Your people will be my people and your God my God.” By this statement, Ruth was renouncing her Moabite roots, the world of unbelievers and false worshipers. This included both her family and her citizenship in Moab. She was now putting her faith in the only living and true God, the LORD Himself. And she was determined to become identified with the people of God, the Israelites. What a strong, striking commitment, a willingness to forsake her own family in order to know the true and living God!
Third, Ruth declared that her commitment was until death; it was total, final, and unshakable. To this she swore or took an oath: where Naomi died, she would die, and there she would be buried. She would stay with Naomi and serve the living and true God until death. With this declaration, Naomi realized that Ruth’s commitment was unshakable, set as though in concrete. Consequently, she accepted Ruth’s decision.
Ruth’s total commitment is a strong example for us. She was not indecisive or neutral; neither can we be. Our commitment can be no different than hers. Just as she made a total commitment to God and His people, so we must make a total commitment to Jesus Christ, to follow Him and to become identified with the people of God, the church. We must be totally, wholeheartedly committed to Jesus Christ.
Listen to this message here: