Naomi’s husband and sons have died. Naomi is bitter and heartbroken. Naomi tells her daughters-in-law to pack up and leave. There is no reason for them to stay with her. Naomi can see no hope for the future. No hope for marriage for the two young ladies. No future in sight for any of them. Naomi develops a pessimistic view of life. One daughter-in-law leaves but Ruth says:
16“Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.
17“Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the Lord do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.”
Here we find four practical ways to show one’s love for another. The first way you show love is by sticking with someone through tough times. Ruth said she would stick with Naomi through thick or thin. No matter what happened, Ruth would stay by Naomi’s side.
Love has Sticking Power. 1 Cor 13.7 says: “(Love) bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” The word “bears” literally means “to put up with an annoyance or difficulty.” The word “endures” means “to stand firm by holding one’s ground; endurance with patience.” Real love is displayed when you stand with someone through thick and thin.
Ruth demonstrates a second way to show love when she was willing to move out of her comfort zone: “Where you die, I will die” v.17.
Think in terms of the vows of a wedding. The couple promises to stay together: “For better or worse; richer or poorer. In sickness and in health, till death do us part.” In essence they promise to be faithful to one another — “I’ll reach beyond my comfort zone to stay with you.”
Reaching beyond our comfort zones means self sacrifice, which speaks volumes of love to the one it is shown toward.
Third, Ruth spoke words of encouragement. In vv.16-17, Ruth was basically telling her: “You’re not in this alone. Where ever you go — whatever happens to you — I’ll be there. You’ll always have someone by your side.”
Prov. 25.11 says: “The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry ...” The fact is, words of encouragement and love need to spoken — because they can have a great impact.
Finally, Ruth demonstrates practical love by being faithful to her word! Words get their power from the actions that surround them!
Prov. 25.13-14 says: “Reliable friends who do what they say are like cool drinks in sweltering heat — refreshing! 14 Like billowing clouds that bring no rain is the person who talks big but never produces.”
It didn’t matter how uncomfortable the journey was going to be. It didn’t matter whether there was going to be food to eat. Ruth was determined to stick with Naomi — because she cared for her and was resolved to show her love.
Jesus is the ultimate example of these displays of love. We, who have experienced these acts of love from Him, are to show them others!