Â“THOUGHTS ON THE BOOK OF RUTHÂ”
Â“Entreat me not to leave theeÂ”
Ruth 1. 16
Ruth, in her cleaving to Naomi, was a firstfruit of Gentile converts to the Jewish church, which, under the gospel, was to be built up by we poor aliens and strangers from the commonwealth of Israel, according to the will and promise of God which says, “For the Lord will have mercy upon Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land; and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob”. (Isa. xiv, 1.) In this Scripture we have the church of God set before us, and poor Gentile sinners are, through regenerating grace, made to cleave to the Jewish fathers and mothers who were to receive and instruct them in the things of God and their kings were to become their nursing fathers, and their queens their nursing mothers. In the above passage the life and grace of God in the hearts of these strangers was to be known by their cleaving to the saints and servants of God, as Ruth clave unto Naomi. The veneration, esteem, and love which the tribe of Judah manifested toward David is expressed in the little significant word “cleave”; for when many forsook him, “the men of Judah clave unto their king from Jordan even to Jerusalem”. (2 Sam. xx, 2). The grace, faith, and fear of God, which so shone in the person of Hezekiah, is expressed thus: “He clave to the Lord, and departed not from following him”. (2 Kings xviii, 6.)
So was grace manifested in Ruth, the Moabitish damsel, by cleaving to Naomi and following after her. When the Athenians reviled Paul, and set at nought the doctrine of the resurrection which he had preached to them, the word and grace of God had entered with convincing power into the hearts of a few, and they were constrained to come over to his side: Â“Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believedÂ”. (Acts xvii, 34). Thus we see that their faith was made manifest by their cleaving to Paul and the truth. After Barnabus had seen the grace of God in the Grecians at Antioch Â“he exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the LordÂ” (Acts xi, v 23); but he did not exhort them until after they had believed, nor before he had seen in them the grace of God; for he knew without grace and faith they could not cleave to God and Christ; for there is no beauty in him that we should desire him. Jonathan clave closely to David and loved him as his own soul; and after Jonathan was dead the king said, Â“I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan; very pleasant hast thou been unto me; thy love to me was wonderful, passing love of womenÂ”. David clave to Jonathan and called him his brother, even after he was dead, from which we may see that death did not break the union between them. When Lydia was baptized
and felt her heart warm toward Christ and his servants, there was such a love and cleaving felt that she would have them under her roof, and would take no Nay: “And she constrained us”. (Acts xvi, 15.)
These, and many other cases, serve to prove that when Ruth clave to her mother-in-law she already possessed the fear of the Lord, the grace of God, the faith of his elect, and love, which is the greatest of all graces, and the safe, unerring proof of the new birth; for “he that loveth is born of God”; and in her was fulfilled the exhortation: “Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good”. (Rom. xii, 9.) She abhorred her past ways and false gods, and clave to Naomi, her God, and his grace; whilst the very opposite was manifest in Orpah, for she returned “unto her people, and unto her gods”.