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NASB: But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where * you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.
BBE: But Ruth said, Give up requesting me to go away from you, or to go back without you: for where you go I will go; and where you take your rest I will take my rest; your people will be my people, and your God my God.
GWT: But Ruth answered, “Don’t force me to leave you. Don’t make me turn back from following you. Wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.
KJV: And Ruth said, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:
NLT: But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. I will go wherever you go and live wherever you live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.
Young’s Literal: And Ruth saith, ‘Urge me not to leave thee — to turn back from after thee; for whither thou goest I go, and where thou lodgest I lodge; thy people is my people, and thy God my God.
But Ruth – A dramatic contrast marking a change in direction of her life from godless, hopeless, pagan Gentile to one grafted into Israel and eventually in the lineage of the Messiah. Whenever you observe a “but” (or other words associated with contrast, such as yet, nevertheless, on the other hand, etc.) pause and ask what is the author contrasting? There are over 4000 uses of this little conjunction “but” in the Bible and all of them are important. Howard Hendricks adds that contrasts are always important in Scripture. They indicate a change of direction. What does the word “but” force me to do? To go back to the preceding context. The flip side of comparison is contrast—things that are unlike. We could say that in Bible study, as in love, opposites attract. At least, they attract the eye of the observant reader. There are several ways the biblical writers signify contrast. The word “but” is a clue that a change of direction is coming.
Pastor Vance Havner writes, “A good woman is the best thing on earth. Women were last at the cross and first at the open tomb. The church owes a debt to her faithful women which she can never estimate, to say nothing of the debt we owe in our homes to godly wives and mothers.”
Missionary Jim Elliot said, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” A perfect description of Ruth the Moabitess!”
Leave (forsake) (‘azab) basically means to depart from something — to leave, to forsake, to leave, to loose, to depart, to abandon. Things that can left behind or forsaken include persons, people who should left behind; places and objects. The Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures, translates azab in this verse with kataleipo which literally means to leave behind or leave remaining. Kataleipo is often used to indicate abandoning a heritage, giving up riches, and leaving one’s native land, exactly what Ruth did!
Turn back (shub/shuv) essentially means to turn, to return, to turn back, to do again, to change, to withdraw, to bring back, to reestablish, to be returned, to bring back, to take, to restore, to recompense, to answer, to hinder. Shub refers to a reversal or change of direction, an “about face.” Shub describes movement back to the point of departure or reversal of direction.
Pastor Warren W. Wiersbe writes: “Naomi was trying to cover up; Orpah had given up, but Ruth was prepared to stand up! She refused to listen to her mother-in-law’s pleas or follow her sister-in-law’s bad example. Why? Because she had come to trust in the God of Israel. She had experienced trials and disappointments, but instead of blaming God, she had trusted Him and was not ashamed to confess her faith. In spite of the bad example of her disobedient in-laws Ruth had come to know the true and living God; and she wanted to be with His people and dwell in His land.”
Pastor Don Fortner writes: “Ruth was converted by God’s grace. We understand that. “Salvation is of the Lord!” It is God’s work alone! Yet, our God condescends to use human instruments to accomplish his work. And the instrument God used to save Ruth was Naomi.”
Pastor Matthew Henry writes: “Thy God shall be my God, and farewell to all the gods of Moab, which are vanity and a lie. I will adore the God of Israel, the only living and true God, trust in him alone, serve him, and in everything be ruled by him;” this is to take the Lord for our God. From this point on Naomi’s people would be her people, though Ruth had no certainty that she would find acceptance. Most significant of all, Ruth declared Naomi’s God to be her God. Her resolve was total, extending even to death, and confirmed on oath in the name of her new-found Lord.”
Pastor Thomas Constable writes: “Ruth now confessed her commitment to Yahweh, Israel, and Naomi, a commitment based on her faith in Yahweh. These verses are a key to the book because they give the reason God blessed Ruth as He did.”
Pastor Woodrow Kroll writes: “Ruth had to choose to worship the idol Chemosh, which involved the sacrifice of children, or to put her trust in the living God, who gives life instead of taking it. She chose Jehovah. These were important choices, and she made them with a determination that changed her life. Like Ruth, we are all born outside of God’s family. But God graciously gives us the opportunity to make choices that can give us eternal life. Instead of continuing in Satan’s kingdom of darkness, you can choose to change your allegiance to the kingdom of His beloved Son (Col. 1:13). You can choose to continue in the deeds of darkness or walk in the light (Eph. 5:7-10). You can choose to search for fulfillment in the world or place your trust in Jesus, who has promised to meet your every need (Phil. 4:19). Like Ruth’s, these are crucial decisions and, when made with determination, can change your life. What decisions have you made? Choose rightly. Choose life. Choose Jesus Christ as your Savior. This is the most important decision of your life. You always choose best when you choose God.”
Choose rightly. Choose life. Choose Jesus Christ as your Savior. This is the most important decision of your life. You always choose best when you choose God.
Pastor James Smith writes: “Ruth could not bear the thought of returning to the heathen environment in which she had grown up. If she had not fully repudiated the gods of Moab before, Ruth does so at this point. She would hear no more of Naomi’s urging to return to Moab. On the contrary, Ruth committed herself for better or worse to Naomi, Naomi’s people, and Naomi’s God. She did not even desire to return to her native Moab for burial. Nothing but death would separate her from Naomi.”
Pastor Iain M Duguid writes: “Each of these statements ratchets up the level of her commitment a notch higher. Ruth was not merely relocating her home to go somewhere geographically less pleasant, as if someone were willing to move from sunny Southern California to the unbearable heat of Death Valley. That would be noble self-sacrifice; this is far more. She is committing her life to Naomi, body and soul, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health. In so doing, she is also committing her life to Naomi’s God, whom she calls as a witness by his personal name, the Lord. She is even willing to die and be buried in Naomi’s land—the land of Naomi’s God, not the gods of the Moabites. Given the intimate connection between land and deity in the ancient Near East, and the importance of proper burial for a restful afterlife, this was the ultimate commitment in the ancient world. She further binds herself to do this with an oath of self-imprecation. If she reneges on her promise, she invites the Lord—Naomi’s God—to stretch out his hand to strike her down. Here is an astonishing act of surrender and self-sacrifice. Ruth was laying down her entire life to serve Naomi. In effect, Ruth was forsaking all that she had ever known to follow the one true God. She was following in the footsteps of Abraham, who had forsaken his family and his homeland in response to God’s command.”
Pastor Charles H. Spurgeon writes: “This was a very brave, outspoken confession of faith. Please to notice that it was made by a woman, a young woman, a poor woman, a widow woman, and a foreigner. Remembering all that, I should think there is no condition of gentleness, or of obscurity, or of poverty, or of sorrow, which should prevent anybody from making an open confession of allegiance to God when faith in the Lord Jesus Christ has been exercised. If that is your experience, then whoever you may be, you will find an opportunity, somewhere or other, of declaring that you are on the Lord’s side.”
Heavenly Father, I thank You for the assurance that Your plans never fail. When everything around me seems hopeless, remind me that You have a hope, a plan and a future for me. Help me to see things from Your eternal perspective and to hold on to the reality that in spite of the way things look, You are in control. Indeed, You are still on the throne! Thank you for Your promises of deliverance and protection. Because You’ve said, “I will be with you,” what have I to fear? Help me to trust in You, not only in the small details or battles of life, but also in times of great trouble. You are my Lord, my God, my Savior. Help me to realize that you are everlastingly my Father, intimately acquainted with me and with every moment of my entire lifetime. Help me to rely on you through every season of my life and to rest in the knowledge that even when I am old, you will still be caring for me. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
Look Up—meditate on Ruth 1:16… pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.
Look In—as you meditate on Ruth 1:16… pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: “Because God is_________, I will_____________.”
Look Out—as you meditate on Ruth 1:16…pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.
* If you liked this post, you’ll love this book – Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ