My mom’s group was studying the book of Ruth, a book we had previously learned. However, this time God spoke to my heart differently. Even though He gave me so many lessons, I want to concentrate on the first words I heard HIM talk to me. Be like Ruth.
In my life, I know that friends play an essential role. They help us through difficult times, and they make our lives richer. Also, I know that having God in my life has been an excellent friend; and He provides in the bible examples about friendship. Reading Ruth’s story with those words in mind, I can genuinely see she embody what friendship is about. Ruth 1:14 clung to her. The word clung stood out to me. In Hebrew means “to stay close, join together, etc.” as God assigns friendship to be joined together, She joined Naomi. Ruth and Naomi’s friendship expresses God’s faithfulness to those who will serve each other when placed together as an extension of His love on this earth. Her fierceness reminded me of those friends in my life that will not take a no for an answer. You know those that, in their ways, says, “I’m here for you no matter what, and I’m not leaving you.” Even when you are too ashamed and embarrassed to ask, still you gratefully receive the help. There’s a sort of ferocity and tenacity to the care Ruth exposes in her friendship with Naomi, and it’s one I have come to see in my own friendships. We might not battle the same issues together, but I feel the force of love in their actions and prayers. I’m a sister in arms with my friends, and I am glad we can do it together when tragedies we must walk through in this life.
There are many different relationships God has a place in my path. But the friendship that most of us want and need are the ones that are willing to love unconditionally and deeper. You know those that are more than just sitting with you watching a hallmark movie. The ones that ride or die with you. That they are fierce in their bond of loyalty; Even through tragedies, who refuse to leave your side when things look the bleakest. Ruth 1:16a, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Wow! What a display of loyalty. Her selflessness is so admiring. She had no obligation to Naomi, yet she left all she knew to follow her. She made a covenant with Naomi to stick by her no matter what. Their commitment to each other is a lovely example of Christ’s own self-giving for humanity. When God places friendships in our path, we should enter them not because of what we can get out of it but more about serving God through it. We are to be examples of Christ’s love to the world, and we can’t do that if we are self-centered by a “gimme” attitude in our friendships. When we break free of the self-interest that destroys so many of our relationships and aims to give our time, effort, attention, and love to those around us, we portray a wonderful image of Christ’s own self-giving.
Not only do we see her commitment and loyalty but her courage. In Ruth 1:16b, “Your people shall be my people. She is saying any friend of yours is a friend of mine. How often do we get comfortable with our own kind of friends that we are not willing to make new ones or extend our hand of friendship to people who are entirely different from us? She demonstrates that friendships can break boundaries of race, religion, and age. Despite her and Naomi having very little in common; still, they established a solid and long-lasting friendship. Putting their differences aside by being there for each other and supporting each other in good times and bad.. Ruth’s example demonstrates that faith and persistence break boundaries and let us live new lives.
Furthermore, Ruth 1:16b, and your God my God.” What a testament to Naomi that she showed such faith to Ruth that she was willing to give up her Gods and identity to follow Yahweh, The God of Israel. Ruth and Naomi set an excellent example for all women by having a shared love of God at the heart of their friendship. I am so thankful for God’s true friends in my life. The ones that speak life into me and bring me closer to God. There have been some occasions and life circumstances that have overshadowed the faithfulness of God. Which made having friends to align you back to God invaluable. Just as their story is a valuable one, not just because of the loyalty modeled by Ruth but because of the way it exposes the sovereignty of God. Remember, She leads Ruth to the Lord, whether or not she intended to do so. Her faith brought Ruth closer to God. Naomi presented Ruth to God because she wanted Ruth to experience the joy of having a relationship with the King of Kings. God was the foundation of their friendship, and because of their relationship with God, they held each other accountable for their faith.
Lastly, Ruth 1:20 She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi;[a] call me Mara,[b] for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. A shattered woman, angry with God, Naomi was set entirely on being alone and miserable. She even renamed herself from Naomi, meaning pleasantness, to Mara, bitter. Naomi’s hurt was so profound that it became her identity! So what are we calling over our life that God has not named you? You have a choice to see tragedies and pain as your identity or see these negative emotions are not a lack of faith in God and see God has a reason for everything, even if you don’t understand it. But acknowledges that God controls these events and lets it all happen. We have a choice.
God placed Godly women in my life who do not hesitate to align my thoughts, words, and actions with God. Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24 To make sure my choices are based on trusting God and telling me again who I am in Christ. Ruth clung to Naomi, stayed with her, and loved her. As much as we may feel like giving up on them and their destructive ways, we must lean on God for the strength it takes to keep loving them. For us, it may be continuing to bring a person before God in prayer even though they are angry with Him. It may be going the extra mile to make sure they feel loved even when they’ve been less than welcoming to us. She was the rock at which Naomi stood, and she illustrates loyalty, and she is the essence of true friendship. Naomi was no longer empty, bitter, and tragic. She was a different woman, and it was because of what God gave her in her friend Ruth. Ruth returns the favor of showing God’s love to her friend by supporting Naomi in the good times and the bad. Ruth’s capability to love, which is a God-given ability, wins over Naomi’s inconsolable pain and grief and brings her joy once again! . She didn’t hesitate to give when Naomi was in need, Yet Ruth loved both God and Naomi, and she had chosen to be there. That was enough for the relationship to go ahead on.
My sweet sister, be encouraged to be like Ruth, desperate for God, and operate in your friendships, with God being your anchor. Go and Ruth to your friends and others. Be the friend who shares perspectives we don’t have. Who have abilities we will never have? Who provides accountability under challenging seasons. Who refresh our hearts in all seasons. Who reinforces our faith. Our love for God should strengthen all of our actions, and our faith in God’s Redeemer, Jesus Christ, should be the source of our great hope and acts of devotion to our friendships.
You’ve got some Ruth in you, So Be one!
Loving God, we thank you for being our friend. Grateful for the joy and beautiful friendships. Those who have stood there for us through the ups and downs of life. For those who have walked alongside us even when we’ve not been fantastic company. For those who have given us advice and guidance. Please help us be true friends to other people, even if it means giving up our own comfort, just like Ruth did for Naomi. Amen
Ruth 1, Colossians 3:12, Proverbs 17:17, Proverbs 27:17, John 15:12-13
Have you ever had such a friend like Ruth that has stuck by you in challenging circumstances? Who is a friend like this that you can rely on? How can you enhance your friendships? What steps can you take to foster more consistency in your current friendships? What should we do for our friends in the face of great opposition or uncertainty?
Written by Tamy Hughes