Ruth 1:16-17. She tells Naomi, "For wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you live, I will live; your people will be my people, and your God will be my God." I cannot imagine what it would take to follow in someone's path as desperate as the path of Naomi.
I am led to several observations. First, it is not unlike a marriage vow. Second, it is not unlike our promise to Jesus as the Church, His bride. Finally, I think of the Hound of Heaven by Francis Thompson. The poem, written in the late eighteen-hundreds, describes God as the Hound of Heaven, following, pursuing, claiming, even hunting down His people, His Church, His beloved. Ruth's statement cannot be fully turned as it predominately hinges on an example of full submission and discipleship. God is not our disciple, but we are His. Still, I think of Psalm 139:7-12. Where can we flee from God?
Naomi seems to wonder this. She doesn't continue to argue with Ruth, for whatever reason. The Bible tells us only that Naomi stops trying to persuade Ruth. I enjoy this. I don't know why it tickles me, but it does. I imagine a tired woman, hopelessly trudging back to her native land to face misery and shame, but here's Ruth doggedly stepping in the older woman's footprints, even taking on Naomi's God. I learn from Ruth, but I also learn from Naomi. She is tired and crushed and cannot see what God has in store for her.
In January, after the holidays, I often feel a sense of let down, as if I didn't get to the crux of the matter in celebrating Christ's birth. I missed the mark in the glitter and distraction. I am disappointed in myself. I look to this passage and take heart. I am beloved.
In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus encourages us to follow Him. We will find rest for our souls.
Happy blessed, Christ-drenched 2017. May His yoke be easy and His burden light as You follow Him. Thanks for reading. Bev