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I Won't Leave You
Photo: Kevin Rohr
"I will go wherever you go and live wherever you live" (Ruth 1:16).

You may be surprised to know that this favorite wedding text is not something said between a bride and groom, but was spoken between a mother and her son’s wife. As many jokes as there are about mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law and how they don’t get along, the courageous Bible story of Ruth and Naomi shows that the opposite can be true.

Elimelech and Naomi had two sons named Mahlon and Chilion. They lived in Bethlehem until food became scarce and they moved to the nearby country of Moab. The boys married local women, Ruth and Orpah, and the young couples believed they would live happily ever after. Unfortunately, Elimelech, Mahlon and Chilion all died and Naomi decided to return to her own country and away from the idol worship of the Moabites. It would be difficult to say good bye to here two daughters-in-law because they had been good to her.

As she prepared to leave, both Ruth and Orpah cried and begged her to stay. When they saw this wouldn’t work, they offered to go with her, although they were both afraid of the people in Bethlehem and their differenct religious ways. Naomi told them to go back to their people and their gods, but Ruth had begun to believe in the God of Israel and wanted to honor her mother-in-law and refused to go home. “Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God,” said Ruth and they returned together to Bethlehem.

God honored Ruth’s faithfulness, she married a good man named Boaz and they had a son named Obed; and later Obed had a son named Jesse; and Jesse was the father of David, the shepherd boy who became king. So Ruth, the young woman of Moab, who chose the people and the God of Israel, became the mother of kings.

We dream of a storybook wedding and a happily-ever-after ending, but it doesn’t always work that way. Thankfully, we have stories in the Bible that show us that even though our plans may fizzle or go up in smoke, God can bring beauty from ashes. Ruth’s story proves how God can use humble and obedient people.

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By Dee Reed. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the New Living Translation © 1996.

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