Summary: It took great faith for Ruth to step out of her comfort zone.

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Our first reading therefore was a synopsis of the book of Ruth that you were given with your service books.

So I am not going to summarise the whole story, suffice it to say the Book of Ruth is the ultimate good “mother-in-law” story .

Ruth and Naomi lived in the time of the Book of Judges, a time that is summed up in the final verse of the book

“Every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”

(Jgd 21:25)

which sounds incredibly modern doesn’t it?

Ruth and Naomi are people like us, or people of the sort we can be.

It is a story that reveals the gracious in the midst of the ordinary.

So this morning I would like to dip into the Book of Ruth

What is so surprising about the book of Ruth is the hero is a woman.

Which today would not be surprising - but in those days where the society was very patriarchal, it would be surprising.

And add to that the heroine is a Moabitess – someone the Jews would consider beyond the pale.

The book opens with the family of Elimelech leaving its home in Bethlehem (yes the very Bethlehem that Jesus would be born in a good thousand years later) and emigrating to Moab.

Leaving the Promised Land to go to Moab – a country full of false gods and evil practices.

Was that God’s will for the family?.

I doubt it.

Elimelech and Naomi’s two sons marry local girls, Orphah and Ruth.

However within 10 years, the father and the two sons die, leaving Naomi, and her two daughters-in-laws destitute.

Hearing that things are now better back home, Naomi decides to return to her native Bethlehem.

She urges the two young girls to remain in their homeland

and begin new lives, but Ruth refuses and insists on

accompanying Naomi.

If you want the rest of the story, please do read the synopsis ………………. later!!!

Because I would like to look at just one verse for Ruth, as Naomi urges Ruth to leave her and go back to Moab:

16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you.

Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. (Ruth 1:16).

It is a truly remarkable statement.

It was a great step of faith because it was taking Ruth into the unknown

• to a people who would see her as a foreigner

• to poverty and

• no chance of finding a husband.

So what was it about Naomi that inspired such loyalty in Ruth?

Reading between the lines, I see three things about Naomi

1. Naomi taught Ruth about Jehovah, the God of Israel

As men and women tended to mix mainly among their own sex, more than likely it would have fallen to Naomi to teach Ruth about the faith.

When we share our faith with others, we may never know the effect it may have on their lives later on.

I am sure Naomi shared her faith with both daughters in law – yet only Ruth made it to Bethlehem.

Orphah fell by the way.

2. Naomi keeps her faith despite the odds

We read in Ruth 1:21 that Naomi: “The Lord has brought me back”

Despite the hardships and the loss of her husband and two sons, she keeps her faith.

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