6 Then she arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the fields of Moab that the Lord had visited his people and given them food.
7 So she set out from the place where she was with her two daughters-in-law, and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah.
8 But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each of you to her mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me.
9 The Lord grant that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband!” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept.
10 And they said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.”
11 But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb that they may become your husbands?
12 Turn back, my daughters; go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, even if I should have a husband this night and should bear sons,
13 would you therefore wait till they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, for it is exceedingly bitter to me for your sake that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me.”
14 Then they lifted up their voices and wept again. And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.
15 And she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.”
16 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.
17 Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” 18 And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.
When we are outside of God’s will we try to hide it and deceive ourselves that it is not that bad, that we are not really doing wrong. We try to rationalize. In addition to Elimelech and his 2 sons there are 3 women mentioned in this chapter.
The Testimony of Naomi (vs. 6-15) – Wiersbe writes: “God visited his faithful people in Bethlehem, but not his disobedient daughter in Moab.” If we read between the lines it seems that the famine may have ended earlier but that they stayed Moab. She was willing to go back “home,” but not willing to ask God to forgive her because of unbelief. She was returning to her land but not to her Lord.
Many times, when we are outside God’s will we don’t handle decisions in the right way and Naomi was no exception. – she did not want her daughter’s in law to go with her. Remember, it was back in Bethlehem where the True God was worshiped, so one would think that Naomi would want her daughter’s in law to come under the influence of a loving God. One wonders if she and her husband and sons ever practiced their faith that much. It must be noted that Ruth saw something in Naomi’s life and faith that she wanted.
Wiersbe writes this: “Why would a believing Jewess, a daughter of Abraham, encourage two pagan women to worship false gods? I may be wrong, but I get the impression that Naomi did not want to take Orpah and Ruth back to Bethlehem because they were living proof that she and her husband had permitted their two sons to marry women from outside the covenant nation. In other words, Naomi was trying to cover up her disobedience. If she had returned to Bethlehem alone, nobody would know that the family had broken the Law of Moses.”
The Testimony of Orpah (vs. 11-14) – Both daughter’s in law started with Naomi, but she continued to urge them to go back to their pagan roots. She even prayed for them in that matter. Three times she told Orpah to go back. Orpah went back and left the pages of Scripture forever, most likely doomed to Hell because of Naomi’s sin.
The Testimony of Ruth (vs. 15-18)
Naomi was trying to cover up, Orpah had given up, but Ruth as prepared to stand up! Why was this happening in her life? Ruth 2:12 tells us that “she had come to trust in the God of Israel.”
Ruth had experienced many of the same trials and troubles that Naomi had, but instead of blaming God, she was beginning to trust Him and was willing to confess her faith in Jehovah God. So, despite bad influences from in- laws, she now was coming to know the true and living God and wanted to dwell with Him. She also loved her mother-in- law probably more than Naomi loved her.
One of the great themes in the Book of Ruth is the Grace of God. We see in this story the sovereign grace of God being put into practice.
Wiersbe writes, “Everything within her and around her presented obstacles to her faith, and yet she trusted in the God of Israel. Her background was against her, for she was from Moab…” God delights in showing mercy (Mic. 7:18).
Prov. 28:31 says: “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” Naomi did not represent the God of Israel in a good light. In Ruth 1:13 she suggests that God is to blame for the sorrow and pain the women had experienced.
Ruth confessed her love for Naomi, but more import- ant she confessed faith in Jehovah alone. She was willing to forsake all she knew for Him.
Wiersbe further writes, “But there was a divine law that said, ‘An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter the Assembly of the Lord; even to the 10th generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly forever.’” (Deut. 23;3). (We will see more on this at the end of the book. And how we learn never to underestimate the grace and power of God). This meant permanent exclusion. How then could Ruth enter into the congregation of the Lord? By trusting God’s grace and throwing herself COMPLETELY on His mercy. Law excludes us from God’s family, but grace includes us if we put our faith in Christ.”
We will get to this more in chapter 4, but in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1, you will find the names of 5 women, four of whom have questionable credentials: They were all there because of the grace of God and that includes Mary also.
Chuck Missler, in his study notes, writes: “. four of whom have very questionable credentials: – Tamar commit- ted incest with her father-in-law – Rahab was a Gentile har- lot; – Ruth was an outcast Gentile Moabitess – “the wife of Uriah” was an adulteress Gen 38:3 Josh 2:5 Ruth 1:5 2 Sam 11:6.”
How did they ever become a part of the family of the Messiah? Through the sovereign grace and mercy of God! God is “long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9)