“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 will be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.’ And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.” (Ruth 1:16-18)
Because chaos and evil reigned in Israel during the time of the Judges, Elimelech and Naomi left their inheritance in the promised land to seek a better, more comfortable and prosperous life in Moab. They did what was right in their own eyes. They did not trust that the Lord would take care of them.
Unfortunately the Moabites, though kin of Abraham, were extremely immoral and perverse. They worshipped idols and performed child sacrifice. This family compromised their faith and immersed themselves into the culture, allowing their boys to marry pagan women. Then Naomi lost her husband and sons. As a widow she despaired for was without support, property, or hope in a land of strangers.
Yet there is always the grace of the Lord to restore hope and joy. This takes the form of Ruth. Though a Moabitess with a pagan upbringing she had become a believer in Yahweh. It is not clear how she came to believe for she was surrounded by idolaters and Naomi and the rest of the family were poor witnesses for their faith.
Ruth stayed with Naomi because she felt love and compassion for her. Ruth put aside her own needs, wants, desires, her whole life, and made a lifelong commitment to serve Yahweh and her mother-in-law. Ruth is a great example of the unselfish love and complete devotion of Jesus Himself who gave up all out of love and compassion for we poor lost sinners. She also serves as a example for all of us to emulate. Nothing in this world is worth holding on to as we serve the Lord with our total being.