Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Many people have Ruth 1:16-17 read at weddings. It does speak a wonderful sentiment about the attachment people can have to one another. However, let’s take a look at the context. The passage actually does a lot more in real life than it ever could at a wedding.
Ruth, the widowed daughter-in-law of Naomi, herself widowed, is from Moab. She has always served gods which the Israelites would consider idols. But now, when confronted with her mortality and loss, she speaks to Naomi and declares that she is now committed to the true God of Israel. She does not wish to return to her family and her false gods. She wants to live for the true God. She pledges to faithfulness through life and to death. Yes, this is a love story, but it is about love for God, not love for another person.
Those who have come to believe in the true God, the God described in the Bible, the Triune God, turn from all their past error. There’s a definitive shift from wrong belief to the truth. This is a shift which changes our lives, from a life of hopelessness and fear to a life of confident hope. No matter what happens to us in this life, even though it brings death, we know that God is our redeemer and that we have no cause for fear.
The reality of this move from death to life, from darkness to light, from other gods to the true God seems to be lost on some, especially those who have lived as Christians all their lives. Perhaps it is difficult to see the contrast when we have not been confronted with the hopelessness of our unbelief. But that contrast is something we need to pursue. It is imperative that we seek to understand just how huge and revolutionary a statement we make when we affirm that we are Christians. It’s leaving the world and its error behind. It’s following the true God even through death. That’s what Ruth did. That’s what every Christian does.
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