Loyalty is a rare word these days. Coaches climb the success ladder by leaving teams and schools for bigger and better opportunities. Marriages crumble when one person decides they can't take it anymore.
On Glenn Beck's television show, I watched a story of a soldier who lost both his legs in Iraq. The devotion of the soldier's wife and their mutual determination to overcome their obstacles was inspiring.
The story of Ruth in the Old Testament echoes that story of loyalty.
Ruth lived in Moab with her mother-in-law Naomi and sister-in-law Orpah. But after each of their husbands died, Naomi encouraged Ruth and Orpah leave her and go back to their homeland.
Ruth was free to leave Naomi and go back to her home country. If she left her mother-in-law, Ruth would not have done anything wrong.
But Ruth decided to stay on the way:
Don't urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. 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).Ruth stayed with Naomi because she was loyal. She embodied hesed--the Hebrew word for loving kindness.
If you go to a DDA camp, you’ll find that campers show lots of loyalty.
Ann the counselor is tall and thin. Jule the camper is short and round. But for the entire week, Jule was devoted to Ann. To her, Ann was “Mom.” And Jule did things out of love for Ann—wanting to please her. She walked all over the campgrounds where in past years she would sit and fuss. She stood up one night at Vespers and declared her love for God and her love for Ann.
The Good News of the Gospel is that God is loyal.
In Christ, God shows us His loving kindness. In Christ, we have the forgiveness of our sins, the gift of eternal life, and the never-ending presence of the Holy Spirit.
When God redeems your soul, He will forever stay with you—on the way.