4/24 Ruth 1:16

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.

Elimelech, his wife Naomi and their two sons moved from Bethlehem during a time of famine to the Moabite region. Her sons took Moabite women for wives. During the ten years they were there, Elimelech and both sons died. When Naomi heard that Bethlehem was fruitful again, she decided to return. Her daughters-in-law were going to go with her, but she dissuaded them. One of them turned back, but the other, Ruth, would not leave Naomi. She vowed to be a part of Israel and worship their God.

This is a beautiful expression of familial love and commitment, but it also shows us that God always welcomed into Israel those that desired to worship the one true God. Ruth was willing to leave her people and gods simply from what she had seen in Naomi.

In Psalm 45, a picture of the LORD as our groom, we are told to forget our people and our father's house and the king will desire our beauty. Jesus taught that if anyone would come after Him, he or she had to put Him first above family. This teaching goes all the way back to the first couple who were told by God that a woman was to leave her family and cling to her husband (Genesis 2:24).

The kingdom of God is open to those who will put Jesus first in their lives above all other commitments. He deserves to be first because He is our Creator. He should be first because He is good in every way. He must be first because of His great love for us. Is there anything you have put before Him? Will you follow Him wherever He leads?

Consider: Where God leads may be uncomfortable and unfamiliar, but that only draws us closer to Him.