But Ruth replied: Do not persuade me to leave you or go back and not follow you. For wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you live, I will live; your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. - Ruth 1:16 HCSB

A man took his wife and two sons to the country of Moab to escape a famine. While there, his sons married Orpah and Ruth. Almost immediately afterward, all three men died leaving the three women widows. The mother-in-law, Naomi, decided to return to Israel. At first, both Orpah and Ruth decided to go with her. Naomi tried to dissuade them and after some discussion, Orpah decided to stay in her homeland. Ruth, however, responded with the famous verse above. Her reason was not simply her love for Naomi. She was choosing God and His people.

She went to Israel with her depressed mother-in-law and worked hard to keep the two of them from starving. In doing so, she attracted the attention of a fine man named Boaz and married him. So, because of her decision, a Moabitess, a foreigner, a former pagan, a wetback, an immigrant, ended up being in the Messianic line, an ancestress of the Christ Himself! What an honor!

Sin requires many choices. Take an office affair for instance. We first notice the person and choose to keep looking. We choose to spend a little more time in conversation with them; to flirt; to sit with them at lunch time; to sit close, to let our hand linger, to lean in. We choose to spend some time outside of work with them. We choose that first kiss. We choose to have sex with them. So many stop signs on the way - so many red lights ignored.

However, we are only one choice away from forgiveness and a close relationship with God! Rahab (Boaz' mother) was a lying, treasonous, foreign prostitute.[1] Yet she made one choice to follow God and His people and she became an ancestress of our Savior! Ruth chose to follow God and His people and found love and an eternal memorial in the form of the book of Ruth!

We may think we have gone too far, that God could never accept us. We may feel that we must first clean up our act so that He might! Remember, Rahab made that choice AS a prostitute and found God's acceptance. Ruth made that choice AS a foreigner in a strange land and found love.

Sexual sin, idolatry, thievery, greed, substance abuse, and fraud will keep us out of heaven. [2] But the Corinthians had all at one time been guilty of these things yet found forgiveness and acceptance.

God will not forgive us because we have "cleaned up our act" or "turned over a new leaf". Salvation comes by grace, not by works.[3] Salvation comes by making that one choice, that one step. Redemption is only one choice away.


[1] Matthew 1:5

[2] 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

[3] Ephesians 2:8-10