This Week's Story

Ruth chooses to leave the world she knows and become an immigrant.

This Week’s Story relives American history and the Bible through brief inspiring stories presented on mp3 audio recordings and text for reading.

Your people will be my people part one

“Naomi had sunshine!  When she smiled at me, her entire face shone love.  But, since her sons and husband have died, she’s become bitter.  Have you heard her say, ‘God is causing me to suffer.’?”

“Yes, and I don’t know what she means.  Does she think that she’s suffering because she did something wrong?  Does she think God caused her suffering?   Ruth, I’ve been telling her, ‘we love you.  We are family.  Remember your sons were our husbands.’”

“I don’t think she understands you, Orpah.  Her thoughts are wrapped in black.”  The two women went outside to help their mother-in-law load their belongings for travel. Soon they would leave for Israel.

They had not travelled far when Naomi stopped and said firmly, “Orpah and Ruth, you are going no further with me.  Return to your parents.  May God bless each of you with a good husband, who will protect you.  Thank you for your kindness to me and my sons.”  She kissed Orpah and Ruth goodbye, and they all cried.

The young women insisted, “Please, Naomi, we want to go with you.”

“Why should you join me?  There is nothing in Moab for me any longer. Years ago I came here with my husband, because there were severe food shortages in Israel. Now good crops are there, but Israel is not your country.  You are Moabites.  The Moabites and Israelites do not get along together.  You may be treated badly.  Go back to your parents.”

“No, Naomi!” they pleaded.

“I am too old to marry again or give birth to sons who would become your husbands.  And even if I were, would you wait for them to grow up?  Of course not!  God has taken my joy.”

The three women cried.  Orpah kissed her mother-in-law and turned towards her childhood home.  Ruth refused to go back.  Naomi urged her, “Ruth, do as Orpah.  Go to your people and your religion.”

Ruth stood strong, love ringing in her voice, “Naomi, wherever you go, I will go.  Your God will be my God.  Your people will be my people.  May God punish me if I forsake you, before you die.  When I die, I will be buried where you are buried.”

No further words about return were spoken as they travelled to Bethlehem, Naomi’s home town.  As they entered people were startled by the older woman.  Could she be Naomi?  Why did she look so different?

Naomi did not shrink from them.  “You used to call me Naomi.  It means “my delight.” Now call me Mara, because it means bitter.  And I, who once had plenty, now have nothing.  God causes me to suffer.”

Naomi’s words did not discourage Ruth.  Though she was a distrusted foreigner, destitute, and a widow, her new neighbors exclaimed among themselves, “How tender this foreigner is to her poor mother-in-law Naomi.”

The women lived on the property of Naomi’s deceased husband.They urgently needed food.  Ruth was not one to sit around and wait for someone to solve her needs.  She asked Naomi, “I would like to go to the barley fields. I could walk behind the harvesters and gather grain from the fallen heads of barley.  I respect how your Hebrew law gives foreigners and the poor the right to glean in fields after the harvesters.”

Naomi replied,   “Go ahead, my daughter.”

Ruth found a field to glean in. She worked steadily and no one bothered her. As she was gleaning, the owner Boaz came to his fields and asked his foremen, “Who is that new young woman?”

In the following days Boaz discovered one of God’s intricate and surprising plans.

This is Barbara Steiner with part one of Ruth’s story from the Bible.  Please check out thisweeksstory.com.

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