I have never been a biblical scholar and let me preface my “Imperfect Faith” blog section as being my own interpretations of what I am reading in my personal study. I must admit I have never personally did a bible study on my own it has always been within a small group. I am anxious to begin this study and what better place to start is with the book of Ruth.
When I was searching for what book in the bible I wanted to begin my study in I did Google search after Google search of “Women’s Bible Studies”, “Bible Studies for Young Women”, “Women of the Bible” and I had this almost nagging, gut feeling that all I needed was to type in “the book of Ruth” and there I would find my first book to study.
Call it a hunch or call it God’s way of pointing me in the right direction (I believe the latter) but what comes up in a Pinterest search was: ‘Big Ideas In Ruth”, and “A Woman That Doesn’t Quit”, and “A Woman of Virtue”, and “Loyalty: Naomi and Ruth.” See why I believed that God was telling me to start with Ruth.
For reference I am using the New Living Translation Bible and Ruth is written in the Old Testament. I am also using The Secrets of Ruth by Patricia Mitchell. This will be a four part study.
Loyalty: Naomi and Ruth
Thinking about the word loyalty and what does it mean to you in your life? The Merriam Webster definition for loyalty is a strong feeling of support or allegiance. What are you loyal to in your life? In your relationships? It is to a team? A friend? A company?
Let me lay out the general part of the story line. We learn in the book of Ruth that Ruth was Naomi’s daughter-in-law and that Naomi and her husband had moved far away from the land in which they knew to an unknown land during a famine. Once Naomi and her husband established roots in their new town they had two sons. The two sons later married, Ruth and Orpha. As time passed, skip a few years, Naomi’s husband died and then a few years later before being able to have children both of Naomi’s sons had passed. Naomi being the matriarch of the family then said to her daughters-in-law, go home to their parents and there they will then have a chance to find new husbands and be able to bare children and carry on their husbands’ names. Ruth and Orpha had at first declined that invitation to return to their parents, again as more time past Orpha followed the instruction of her month-in-law and returned home to her parents.
I love this quote from Ruth 1:6 “Where you go I go, Where you stay I stay. Your people will be my people and your God will be my God.” How strong are those words of loyalty? It’s so tempting in life to bail when the tides of life get too tough to bare. How do you loose your father-in-law, your brother-in-law AND your husband all within several years of each other. As soon as the mourning of one became lessened then another had passed.
Fast forward countless years later to today’s day in age, we see the same situation happen to someone in the present, Luke Bryan. As he went to begin his music career in Nashville his brother was suddenly killed in a car accident. A few years later right before being honored for his musical talents his sister died. A few more years later his brother-in-law unexpectantly died from a heart attack leaving his nephew and his two nieces, orphans. Each time a family member tragically passed Luke put his music career on hold to be loyal to his family and be there for those who most needed him. Luke honored God and like Ruth remained faithfully that a bigger plan was in play here. Luke later adopted his nephew (his two nieces were older and living on their own) and is currently raising him with Luke’s two young sons, “your people will be my people.” Luke, like Ruth, knew where they needed to be and that family is where their loyalty stands. Even though Ruth had every opportunity to go home and find safety and security back home with her parents she remained with her widowed mother-in-law, “where you go, I go.”
In my own life, I struggle with a balance of being loyal and sometimes being too loyal that I loose myself. I am loyal to my friends and family but then there is a time to have boundaries in place. Thinking about my husband, and our relationship, our similar yet different backgrounds growing up I full heartedly can say his people are my people and where he goes I will go, (probably kicking and screaming but I’ll go).
So I leave you with a few thoughts to ponder:
- Is it difficult in today’s society to be loyal like Ruth?
- Thinking about someone you are loyal to, how would that person rate your loyalty?
- After losing all that had been lost in these families what does it say about their character?