But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back 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 I will be buried. Thus may the Lord do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.” Ruth 1:16–17

No doubt it was with tears streaming down her face, that Naomi pleaded with her young daughters-in-law to return home. “Go home; you can’t leave your family. Return to your gods, return to your people; I’m sure you will find another husband in time.”

But Ruth persisted, and as Naomi continued to walk, she followed. Exasperated, Naomi turned to face her. “Do not urge me to leave you,” Ruth begged and then added a promise—, “For I will never leave you!”

To these words she added a vow in which she used the Lord’s covenant name—Yahweh—for the first time. With that Naomi could say no more, and they walked on in silence toward Jerusalem.

A promise. It is a word taken lightly and broken too easily. Yet Ruth determined that nothing but death would separate her and Naomi. She would accompany Naomi in travel, in work, in community, in worship, and even in death. They had lived together, grieved together, and buried their dead together. Ruth was not about to leave Naomi now.

Yet the promise came with a price. Ruth made a choice to leave her own home, family, and religion behind to start a new life with Naomi. They would walk through life together.

Isn’t that what loyalty is? A choice to walk with another person through pain and blessing. When we consider the life of Ruth, we find loyalty all over the place. We find it in bold statements, courageous choices, and mundane tasks. Ruth demonstrated her love by refusing to give up on Naomi when her mother-in-law felt bitter, angry, and discouraged.

Like Ruth, we are faced with a choice. Will we demonstrate the loyal love of God even when it costs us dearly? Ruth left the community of her childhood and her parents to join a community that loathed her people. Are we willing to do the same and show others God’s loyal love?

How can I demonstrate God’s loyal love to a hurting friend this week?

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