October 19, 2021
Scripture: But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return 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. Ruth 1:16 ESV
Observation: The biblical book of Ruth is a beautiful story of a faithful friend. Indeed, the Hebrew meaning of the name Ruth is “friend.” So in this introductory chapter, we read about Naomi’s heartbreaking losses. Relocating to the pagan country of Moab to find food during a famine, Naomi’s husband and sons pass away. She urges her Moabite daughters-in-law to return to their families, but Ruth refuses to abandon her bereft mother-in-law. Instead, she vows to remain by Naomi’s side for the remainder of her life—even dying where Naomi will die (verse 17).
Takeaway: Our loyalty is always first and foremost to our gracious Father and his Son and Holy Spirit. Still, as the rest of this book reveals, Ruth provides a godly example to future generations of faithful friendship to others—a core value revealed throughout Scripture. In the early church, Paul demonstrated unfailing loyalty to his proteges Timothy and Titus. And Barnabas stayed by John Mark’s side when a conflict ensued with Paul. But Jesus exemplified the ultimate demonstration of faithful friendship. Referring to his disciples and other sinners as his friends (John 3:29, 11:11, Matthew 11:19), Jesus incarnated a heart of loyalty by laying down his life for us, his friends. As such, when we too demonstrate faithful friendship, we reveal that we are Christ’s disciples. When we love one another as Christ loved us, then, like Ruth, we will faithfully extend the hand of friendship to other followers of Christ regardless of their ethnic background or age. And by showing love to our friends, the world will know that we are Christ’s disciples (John 13:35).
Prayer: Father God, please deepen our understanding of your Son’s hand of friendship that he has extended to us. And like Ruth, help us become faithful friends to those believers you bring across our paths, that we might witness to the world that we are your Son’s disciples. Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling