11th October 2019

An Example of Faith and Conversion

“Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.”
Ruth 1:16 (NIVUK)

The book of Ruth is an interlude of faith between the sometimes shocking and often faithless narratives of Judges and 1 Samuel. It introduces us to the social history of Israel against a background of wars and political intrigue. It also teaches us about the faith that flows from conversion.

Ruth’s words above illustrate a confession of faith. It marks a turning point in her life in which she commits to rejecting other life choices and to dedicating herself completely to a new path. Instead of choosing to return to the religion in which she had grown up, she makes a faith commitment to God and to the people of God. On the surface of it, it would have seemed more sensible and easier to go with the flow of her past and to abandon Naomi and Naomi’s God. Naomi’s life of witness in the midst of her personal struggles must have impressed itself on Ruth. It’s reminiscent of how Christians chose to follow God faithfully in spite of the worldly pressures and faithlessness around them. Moses did something similar: Hebrews 11:25-26 tell us “He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt.”

In one way we can view Naomi as a type of the church community into which the believer is called. Ruth decides to stay with her mother-in-law no matter how hard it might become; Naomi’s people are now Ruth’s people even though Naomi would have stood out as a foreigner in Moab; and Ruth commits to staying with her until death separates them. It’s like the Christian’s commitment to the community of believers. Above all, Ruth now belongs to Naomi’s God. Naomi’s God has become Ruth’s God. It’s a story of conversion, of the turnaround of faith.

Let’s learn from this wonderful story. Through reading it we can re-commit ourselves to Jesus Christ and to his Church.

Thank you, Father, for the example of Ruth, whose declaration of faith inspires us all the more to follow Jesus and to be among those who also believe in you through him. In Jesus’ name.

Study by James Henderson

About the Author:
James Henderson is an Elder and is the European Superintendent for Grace Communion International.

Local Congregation:
You are welcome to attend any of our local congregations in the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.church under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

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