But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!” When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she said nothing more.
So the two of them continued on their journey. When they came to Bethlehem, the entire town was excited by their arrival. “Is it really Naomi?” the women asked.
“Don’t call me Naomi,” she responded. “Instead, call me Mara, for the Almighty has made life very bitter for me. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me home empty. Why call me Naomi when the Lord has caused me to suffer and the Almighty has sent such tragedy upon me?”
So Naomi returned from Moab, accompanied by her daughter-in-law Ruth, the young Moabite woman. They arrived in Bethlehem in late spring, at the beginning of the barley harvest.
Ruth was a Moabitess, not an Israelite. But her ethnicity didn’t stop her from worshiping the true God, nor did it stop God from accepting her worship and blessing her greatly. The Jews were not the only people God loved. Rather, God chose the Jews to be the people through whom the rest of the world would come to know him. This purpose was fulfilled when Jesus Christ was born as a Jew.
Through Jesus, the entire world can come to know God. Acts 10:35 says, “In every nation [God] accepts those who fear him and do what is right.” God accepts all who worship him; he works through people regardless of their race, gender, or nationality.
The book of Ruth is a perfect example of God’s impartiality. Although Ruth belonged to a race often despised by Israel, she was blessed because of her faithfulness. She became a great-grandmother of King David and a direct ancestor of Jesus. No one should feel disqualified to serve God because of race, gender, or national background. And God can use every circumstance to build his kingdom.
God’s invitation extends to everyone, and he wants everyone to know. God invites you to be part of spreading that Good News. In your daily life, the way that you love and treat those around you can open doors to sharing that Good News. You never know who God is speaking to around you. But as you interact with others, listen to their stories and look for glimpses of God at work. Then point it out.