Right in the middle of a deep love-abounding-covenantal speech, Ruth labours the point about DEATH. It sounds really morbid except that death is actually a massive theme in this book. She is declaring a death to her past, a death to all that she knows and a death to everything she has experienced, in order to step into a new and beautiful life that she is completely unaware of. This verse and her story has so much about physical death but also cultural and spiritual death. There is the death of her father in law before she marries her husband, then there is the death of both her husband and her brother- in -law. She then watches her sister in law walk out of her life and listens to her mother in law ask her to let their relationship die too. The death of Naomi’s husband and two boys, death of two husbands, and it is death that leads the women to travel and take this journey. Famine is the beginning and death keeps it going and right in the middle of the story the author is labouring the point about true covenantal love- it is to the death. When Ruth uses the word ‘death’ three times in one sentence …you can feel the depth of her covenant. Death is the measuring line of her commitment to the woman. That is a choice that few of us are forced to make even in easy times…but in the context of her life she choose love and connection to the death. Nothing but death will separate us. I will not withdraw my love or turn it off for any reason. Distance will never be my goal, self preservation will never be my goal, covenantal love is the goal. Is there human DNA in the line of JESUS humanity that chose love to the death?
This story is showing me the love that God is asking of me. When I AGAPE love and love as God intended, it is not defined by what is being asked of me, what someone does to me, what I am going through or what I can afford. It is defined by ‘to the death’. It is not affectionate love…it is a choice to love uuntil death separates us. That means when bitter, empty people push me away, I choose love, not distance. I choose love, not manipulation or intimidation. I choose to lay down my life for them.