Today’s Scripture: And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Ruth 1:16

Elimelech had taken his family to Moab because of a famine. Elimelech died, and then his sons, Mahlon and Chilion, took wives from the women of Moab. They then stayed in Moab for 10 years. Obviously, this family wasn’t obeying the law very well. First off, they should have never even gone to Moab. Secondly, they were probably not traveling to Israel for the feasts that were required by the law. Thirdly, I find it hard to believe that they were sacrificing as they should have. Yet, despite all of this, when faced with the decision to return home to her people or go with Naomi to Israel, Ruth responded with one of the most incredible statements of loyalty recorded.

Ruth’s response was, “Intreat me not to leave THEE, or to return from following after THEE.” Ruth’s decision was based on what she saw in Naomi. Even though there was not much show of religion, Ruth saw Naomi’s faith throughout her life. Ruth saw Naomi had something that she wanted and needed. The Apostle Peter tells the wives to be in subjection so that unbelieving husbands would be won by their lives. (1 Peter 3) Naomi obviously had a “meek and quiet spirit” that her daughter-in-laws saw, and that impacted their lives.

When Naomi decided to return to Israel and told her daughters to return to Moab, both Ruth and Orpah replied that they would go with her. Yet after she urged them again, Orpah left. Both Ruth and Orpah had seen the difference in Naomi’s life, both were willing to leave their homeland to go with Naomi, but only Ruth was willing to accept the scorn of being a widow and a foreigner in strange land. She knew there was something in Israel that she needed, and she wanted to have it.

Our testimony can lead many people to want what we have. If they see a difference in us, they may ask why we are different. But if they don’t see any difference in our lives, what would they think about Christianity? If there’s no difference, why should they listen to you? People are watching you, so live in a way that you could influence someone to see the difference and follow you to the true God.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder