The Choice Ruth Made
The story of Ruth's marriage is an interesting one. There was a famine in Israel and so Elimelech and his wife Naomi went into the land of Moab along with their two sons. These sons grew up and married Moabite women, violating God's laws. Then Elimelech died and the two sons also died, Naomi, being a kindly lady, then told her two daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah, to go back to their own land and find new husbands (1:8).
Both Ruth and Orpah wept aloud when they heard this (1:9, 14). Orpah then kissed her mother- in- law and in so many words said, "Goodbye, Mom. I must go back home and find another husband. I have to take care of my own life." But Ruth clung to Naomi. She had learned something about the true God from Naomi, and she wanted to worship and serve this God, more than she wanted a husband. Orpah, however wanted a husband. There was a fork in the road there and Orpah took the wrong road.
Ruth took the right turning-and that made all the difference, for all eternity.
We never hear of Orpah again. Wherever she is today, she is undoubtedly regretting her choice.
We also come to forks in the road many a time. You may hear a message that shows you two ways in front of you. Some of you may be facing that choice right now. Forks in the road are important places, because you are compelled to make a decision. Ruth told Naomi "Please don't tell me to go back. I will go with you. I will stay with you. Your people will henceforth be my people and your God will be my God" (verse 16). She made a firm decision that day. And today, in the presence of God, she has no regret.
When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined, she agreed to let her accompany her back to Israel (1:18). Thus they came to Elimelech's hometown of Bethlehem. And Naomi said, "I went out full, but the Lord has brought me back empty." If only Naomi knew what lay ahead of her! Sometimes we complain like Naomi that the Lord has brought us back empty or that the Lord is against us. or that the Lord Almighty has afflicted us! (verse 21). How foolish it was of Naomi to complain about God like that!
But even though her mother- in- law was foolish, Ruth herself did not complain. She was thankful that she had found the true God.
She was a very good daughter-in-law and took care of her mother-in-law. People saw this. And God saw it too. God saw this heathen girl not complaining and having a humble spirit of service. Many times, those who come out of heathenism to Christ are much better believers than those who are born in believers' families. This girl Ruth who came from a heathen background is a challenge to all of us. She had none of the usual attitude of worldly daughters-in-law to their mothers-in-law. She loved her mother-in-law and looked after her very well. This was why God rewarded her.