Warm tears ran down her cheeks. The swirling dust dried out her mouth. For the first time as she knelt in the dirt, the truth of her situation finally took hold. Her husband of ten years was dead. Her father-in-law and brother-in-law were also dead. What great misfortune!
Ruth could not catch her breath. Her main concern, though, was not for herself but for her mother-in-law. Naomi had lost all of her flesh and blood. Now, she was all alone as well. Looking back, Ruth saw Naomi sitting under a shade tree with Orpah, her other daughter-in-law.
“Come rest with us Ruth. I have something to tell you.” Ruth rose from the dirt and stood next to Naomi.
Naomi had earned a special place in her heart. She had always been so kind and patient with Ruth. Ruth respected Naomi for keeping to her own traditions even though she was living in Moab. Naomi held the hands of both her daughters-in-law.
“I’m leaving Moab and returning to Bethlehem. There is no longer a reason to stay. Word has come that God has taken pity on my homeland and the famine is over. I wish to be back amongst my people.”
Ruth began to cry again. How could Naomi go? She needed her here. What would she do without her?
“Please reconsider Naomi,” Ruth pleaded.
“I have no more sons for you to marry. Would you wait for me to remarry and have more sons? I am old and beyond that now. Return to your parent’s houses, both of you. Your husbands are dead. I release you.” Naomi let their hands drop.
Orpah, kissing Naomi on the cheek, turned and prepared to leave. Ruth stayed rooted to her spot.
“I will go back to Bethlehem with you.” The words escaped her mouth before Ruth could catch them.
Her hands shook. What was she doing? She would have to leave her family and the only home she’d ever known. What would her parents say? Would they disown her for leaving? After a few moments, Ruth made up her mind.
“I can’t stay here without you, Naomi. For the past ten years you have been like a mother to me. I am going with you.”
Ruth wondered about the God of the Israelites. Naomi had lost everything and still she worshipped Him. The followers of Baal in her country never displayed that type of faith. She needed to examine this God more closely.
“Wherever you go Naomi, I will follow. Where you live, I will live. I will become one of your people and worship your God.”
Ruth bit her lip as she waited for Naomi’s reply. A negative response would break her heart, but she would accept it. Naomi, seeing the determination in Ruth’s eyes, nodded her head.
Breathing a sigh of relief, Ruth knelt down and kissed the hands of Naomi. “When do I get to meet your God?”
“So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.” (Ruth 1:22, KJV)