Entreat me not to leave you. Earlier in Ruth 1 we find Naomi encouraging her daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth, to remain in the land of their birth. After the death of her husband and her two sons, Naomi is determined to return to her own country and her own people. While Orpah conceded to her mother-in-law's wishes, Ruth is determined to remain with Naomi.
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, “Look, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” 16 But Ruth said:
“Entreat me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever 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.
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me.”
18 When she saw that she was determined to go with her, she stopped speaking to her.
Ruth 1:14-18, NKJV
Entreat me not to leave you, or to refrain from following after you.
In a rather lengthy and emotional plea, we find the real reason for Ruth's determination to remain with her mother-in-law. Though Ruth was born a Moabitis, she had become a child of Naomi's God. No longer did she desire to worship the gods of the Moabites, but rather, she desired to worship and serve the true and living God. She explains to Naomi:
Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.
As a matter of fact, she was so determined to remain with Naomi that she concluded:
Where you die, I will die
And there will I be buried.
The LORD do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me.
How important is God in your life? Would you be willing to leave everything you know and understand to follow the true and living God? In other words, is God a necessity in your life or just a preference?
I am reminded of a parable told by Jesus in Matthew 13:
45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, 46 who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
Matthew 13:45-46, NJKV
What was Jesus telling the people? Did He mean that the kingdom of God can be bought? No! Jesus was telling the people that God is that pearl of great price. Nothing in this life is more important than Christ. Loving Christ is not just an assent to believing in Him, but rather, it is a turning of our very hearts and souls to Him.
As a matter of fact, Jesus said, in Matthew 23:27:
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.
That is exactly what we find in the heart of Ruth, as is born out in the rest of the book. Ruth had come to understand that God was the only true and living God she determined to serve Him for her entire life, even being willing to leave her family, friends, and entire way of life to do so.
So, again I ask, who is God to you? Do you love Him, and Him alone, with all of your heart, all of your soul, and all of your life? Are you willing to leave everything in this life and world behind that you may serve Him for ever?
This reminds me of a song written by John W. Peterson that begins and ends this way:
How rich I am since Jesus came my way,
Redeemed my soul and turned my night to day;
How very rich, how very rich I am.
All things have changed,
my eyes once blind can see,
The whole wide world is now my symphony,
And with all this, heaven is my destiny!
How rich I am!
How rich are you?