"Wherever you go I will go, wherever you lodge I will lodge, your people shall be my people, and your God my God."
This text sounds like something for a wedding. In many ways it is. Ruth is promising to leave her own people in Moab to follow her mother in law, Naomi, after the death of Ruth's husband. She has no promise of any kind of a life in Judah. Ruth was a Gentile, an outcast, beyond the pale of the covenant of God. At least that's how she would be viewed in Judah. Yet, in spite of all of this, she vows to follow Naomi and begin life amidst her people in Judah.
This story is about conversion. It is a wedding, but it is that wedding between God and His people; between Christ and His Church. It is a woman responding to the wooing of her Lord and consenting to a marriage covenant with Him. God calls to us in a similar manner and yearns that we will respond to His invitation.
"Wherever you go I will go." This is the first act of discipleship; to abandon our past, leave our homeland, and follow Jesus. We may not do this physically, but we must do it spiritually. Only when we have let go of our old sinful ways can we embrace our Lord and His ways of the kingdom.
"Wherever you lodge I will lodge." We find ourselves now in the house of God. Again, this is not just physical, but spiritual. It does not refer to a life devoted to a particular church building. It means that, having become part of God's family, we now reside in His House, the Church. The customs are different here. The surroundings are different. But this is our new family. This is where we will live. This will now be our home.
"Your people shall be my people." The people of God can be a little difficult to deal with sometimes. Sure, it shouldn't be that way. But it is! Just like any new family, there will be some people we won't quite feel at home with. Nevertheless, we are all family now. We must learn to love one another and live together in unity. It's a tough call, but God's grace gives us the ability to live it out.
"Your God will by my God." This is the crux of the matter. It's about worshiping God. We all have gods. We may not recognize them all. We may worship money, fame, possessions, people, or even ourselves. We leave these gods behind as we embrace the one true God. From now on, we will only worship Him.
It's important, from time to time, to re-evaluate our lives to be sure we are continuing in the right direction. Today, this simple pledge from a young pagan woman determined to begin again is a compass for us. May we find ourselves following through on our committment to follow faithfully, dwell in the Lord's House, and worship Him fervently always!