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There is no place like home

And again they wept together, and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye. But Ruth clung tightly to Naomi. “Look,” Naomi said to her, “your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods. You should do the same.” But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Ruth 1:14-17

When Bethlehem experienced severe famine, Elimelech decided to bring his family to Moab. But while in Moab, he and his two sons died within a ten year period leaving Naomi and her two daughters-in-law in difficult predicament. Seeking survival, Naomi started back to Bethlehem where she could rejoin family. She had also heard that God had given encouraging times back home, and there she might find hope. She counselled both daughters-in-law to remain in their native land, with their mothers. Naomi pleads and intercedes in the form of an invocation appealing for God’s work in caring for the two kinswomen. Then she pleads that the Lord will show kindness in their future, a sweeping request for their welfare. Her advocacy in their interest was born out of the encouragement she feels about them as they have been kind to her husband, sons and her. Naomi prays that the Lord will arrange circumstances so as to lead the women into new marriages, and contentment in satisfying domestic needs in Moab. But both preferred going back with Naomi to her people. Naomi insisted on their finding their future in their own land. Twice she says “return,” and once “go.” She is not trying to get rid of them in an unlovely way, but thinking in a considerate way of their good and they will be better off going back to their land. Orpah decided to return to Moab: “back to her people and her gods” (Ruth 1:15). This is in contrast to Ruth’s clear-cut conviction for God. How weighty the value choices people make at the places of going on, or going back! Her mind is made up. The statement of it is one of the most dramatic value choices in all of God’s word. “Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried.” Ruth is going all the way! She puts where she stands beyond all doubt. Why would anyone prefer to go back to where he or she was at home? What is so magnetic about coming home to all that? Why is the appeal of the familiar so powerful that we're always anxious to return? I do not have a definite answer but consider this; Home represents our point of identity, our base of operations, and our primary realm of responsibility. Home gives life its roots, its sense of purpose and direction. Even when there are blows of pressure, stress, and struggles, home is the place where God uses to forge out character in the face of adversities and demand. In the long haul, we count on it thus we develop security, strength, and stability.


Noel De Guzman

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