Major decisions are major because they mark the direction of our lives. We all have experiences that immediately come to mind. Some were beyond your control: maybe a parent chose a job and moved your family across the country. Others, such as major “firsts” like choosing a college or job, came with thorough cost-benefit analysis. Emotions can make it hard for us to see the cost of choosing one over another. But our choices affirm our beliefs and values, and we will bear risk and personal sacrifice when our commitment aligns with what we most want in life.
- When have you chosen a path that required the most of you? What happened as a result?
READ THE WORD: RUTH 1:8-18 (ESV)
8 But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each of you to her mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. 9 The Lord grant that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband!” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. 10 And they said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.” 11 But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? 12 Turn back, my daughters; go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, even if I should have a husband this night and should bear sons, 13 would you therefore wait till they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, for it is exceedingly bitter to me for your sake that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me.” 14 Then they lifted up their voices and wept again. And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.
15 And she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” 16 But Ruth said, “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. 17 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.” 18 And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.
- “But” in verse 8 marks a narrative shift, as Naomi set forth in returning to Judah. Why would Naomi ask her daughters-in-law to go to back to their families in Moab?
- What do Naomi’s hypothetical questions in response to Orpah and Ruth’s initial refusal accomplish (vss. 9-13)?
- What did Ruth ultimately choose, and what did her choice convey about her commitment to Naomi and the God of Israel (vss. 14-18)? What did Naomi’s silence affirm about Ruth?
- What current circumstance in your life brings you the choice to be dependent on God over other things? What will it cost you to choose complete alignment with God and his will for you?
RESPOND TO GOD
It is easy to say, “I’m committed to God, he’s in control of every situation, and he’s good,” but how do we respond when our circumstances threaten our sense of security and significance? Commitment is often measured by the cost of saying no to other things. When life-altering choices are made, it is tempting to choose dependence on that which makes us feel more in control of our lives. The psalmist said these applicable words concerning our priority commitment: “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you” (Ps. 73:25).
- Ask God to reveal any area where you are holding onto something that is holding you back from trusting him, his Word, and his promises.
- Pray that God would give you the courage to purposefully follow his leading today.