She was a Gentile, but her declaration of faith echoes throughout history. Ruth’s testimony confronts the unbeliever and encourages the believer, proclaiming a pattern of total commitment.
Too many people today dabble in Christ. They inch to the water’s edge, test it, and draw back in fear of commitment. To those, Christ said, “Whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” (Mat 10:38). Jesus wants total commitment. Ruth shows us what that looks like.
When the widowed Naomi determined to return to Judah, she called her daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah to her side. She told them of her decision to leave and encouraged them to return to their people. Orpah was content to stay with her people, but not Ruth. She objected to Naomi’s request that she stay in Moab. In her insistence, she declared “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. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” (Ruth 1:16-17). Ruth touches on five qualities of total commitment.
Ruth pledged to leave her home and everything she loved to go with Naomi. What could cause this simple Moabite girl to give up so much? Love. She loved Naomi and Naomi loved her. Nothing in Moab competed with that love. Jesus demonstrated the highest degree of love (John 3:16; 15:13). People should willingly give up all and follow Jesus.
Total commitment to Christ means going wherever Jesus went. Dedicated disciples go to the world to evangelize (Matt 28:19-20). They go through fiery trials and sufferings (Matt 20:22- 23). They go to the Christian assembly to worship (Heb 10:25). They even go and search for those in need (Jam 1:27; Gal 6:10). Christians surrender, “Wherever you go, I will go.”
Ruth pledged to live where Naomi lived. She completely trusted Naomi to lead her to a haven. She knew Naomi would take care of her as long as she stayed by her side. That meant living however and wherever Naomi did.
Christians put their trust in the Prince of Peace to lead them to the safe haven. Just as David trusted, “He makes me to lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside the still waters” (Psa 23:2). The safety of life rests solely in the word of God. “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed him, ‘If you abide [live] in my word, you are my disciples indeed’” (John 8:31). Jesus lived and died by the word of God prompting his followers to pledge, “Wherever you lodge, I will lodge.”
Ruth turned her back on her people and their ways. No longer would she live as a Moabite. She determined to live as a Jew with her Jewish mother, Naomi. Naomi weathered her storms by the strength and peace of God. Ruth desired to be one of God’s children.
Today, Christians are God’s chosen people. When one conforms to the image of Jesus, he is adopted by God into a new family—the family of the redeemed. God’s people become his people and fellowship reigns (1 John 1:1-4).
Ruth understood Naomi’s dedication to Jehovah. In stating her willingness to commit to Naomi’s way of life, she pledges to accept God. This means she sought to worship the same God in the same way as Naomi. God would be the ruler of her life.
People seeking total commitment today must make Jehovah their God. This is not done with the lips, but with the life. Worship must be given to God according to his pattern (John 4:24). Service must be rendered in his name (Jam 2:14-16). Love must be demonstrated to glorify him (1 Cor 16:14). They must declare the eternal God as their God.
Ruth committed to follow Naomi until death. Naomi was older than Ruth and naturally would die before her. Ruth’s desire to be in Naomi’s family was so strong that she would stay in Naomi’s land after Naomi died. She dedicated her whole life to Naomi.
Total commitment from Christians means that they dedicate their whole lives to Jesus. Jesus died in his commitment to God and his word. Christians must willingly lay down their lives for God and his word, too. “Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev 2:10).
Christians must also die to self as Jesus did. He trudged the road to Calvary because God willed it (Luke 22:42). He supplanted his own will and desire with the will and desires of God. This is what dying to self means. Paul taught, “knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him” (Rom 6:6- 8). The Christian promise is a lifetime commitment, “Where you die, I will die.”
In every age, God has desired total commitment. Half-hearted attempts to serve him have destroyed many souls. Through the prophet Malachi, God summarized, “Therefore I also have made you contemptible and base before all the people, because you have not kept my ways but have shown partiality in the law” (Mal 2:9).
If one is seeking to offer God a total commitment he must give his movements, life, fellowship, service and death to God. These five must be given fully, lovingly and willfully. Only then will God be pleased.