How Ruth became One for Israel

Updated: Feb 20

The book of Ruth gives us an amazing insight into what it looks like to become One for Israel.

You cannot discuss conversion or becoming One with Israel without the Biblical Character Ruth coming to mind. Her famous words are forever etched in our minds. Your People will be my people, your God will be my God.

Your people will be my people. With this statement she agreed to take on all the laws, customs and traditions of the Jewish people. We see later evidence of this when she is gleaning the fields(a Torah commandment). She lays at Boaz's feet( a Jewish custom). She didn't just commit to God she also took on the customs and ways of the Jewish people.

Your God will be my God. At this point she clarified where she stood in terms of all the different god's her people served. She separated herself from idolatry and the customs of her people.

This is a two level commitment. Not just to God but also to His people. Today many are willing to to commit to God and his Torah but very few willing to show true allegiance to the Jewish people. In context we see that Ruth's sincerity is tested with Naomi and she confirmed her commitment with these words.

Where you go, I will go, where you stay I will stay. With this statement Ruth showed that she willing to join herself to the Jewish people and move to live among them. She left her inheritance, her family, her religion and her home.

Many ask why isn't conversion mentioned in Bible? The answer is simple. Those who lived Torah knew what was required to enter. Hashem didn't need to state the obvious to people who knew the rules. Many details and instructions of the Jewish nation are not documented in detail. Why? Because they were a given to those who had the tradition passed down to them. The people whom the commands were given to understood what was expected.

It was not until much later when the communal-tribal nature of the Jewish people changed that the elders found it necessary to write these details down. The details and ways the people kept the Torah. These are not additions or changes to Torah as many falsely accuse. They are explanations and clarifying instructions that were once common knowledge when they all lived together as one nation. They are guidebooks to help the many generations of Jews born in diaspora understand the way things are to be done.

Ruth was not converted at the time this conversation took place. This was not the first conversation Ruth had ever had about Israel and God. At the point we are introduced to her conversation with Naomi she is in the process of moving to Eretz Yisrael, leaving all she knew behind and making Aliyah.

Now let's look at a little cultural context behind the story in Ruth. Both of Naomi's Jewish sons married Moabite women. We know that intermarriage is forbidden and there is no mention of this being a violation or shame. From this we must derive that they both converted before marriage. But now we need to look at their motive for conversion. We see conversion for the purpose of marriage all the time. Many of the these conversions are not sincere. It is very possible that the women could have converted for the sake of their husband. Jewish tradition teaches that the brothers were wealthy and their family fled, with their wealth, to Moab. Both boys then married into high standing Moabite families. For this reason alone We must question if the women had a motive or reason at this point to convert. The prospect of a marriage to a neighboring nation's wealthy man is a pretty compelling reason to convert.

As Naomi decided to return to her homeland she had a dilemma. Am I bringing home Jewish women, or Moabite women? She also understood as converts it would be difficult for them to find husbands. For this reason Naomi asked them to go back to their family. Encouraged them to return to their Moabite family. This moment was the first time their conversion and loyalty to Israel as a people was really tested. Both women were asked, free of the pressure or benefit of their husbands, what they desired. And Orpah showed that her conversion was not sincere and she wished to return and live in idolatry. Ruth passed the test and with nothing to gain she declared her loyalty to Israel by making Aliyah, leaving all she knew and clinging to the God of Israel AND the Jewish people.

As a result of her loyalty Ruth was met with favor only Hashem could bestow. She went on to mother the line of King David and the future Moshiach. Her loyalty and devotion was proven beyond a shadow of a doubt by dropping everything, leaving all she knew and moving into a Jewish community. When looking at the big picture we get a much better depiction of what a real conversion looks like.

Conversion is not accepting only what one likes about a nation and discarding the rest. It is a full and complete commitment to the God of Israel and His people. She did not try and change the Jewish people or add in one her gods. Today I see many people wanting to convert but maintain part or all of their old beliefs or life styles. Or practicing what is commonly called messianic Judaism, which mixes idolatry in with Judaism. . By doing this they are only completing one part of the commitment Ruth made.. The God of Israel is their G-d but is Israel really their people? Are they willing to move a few hours away from their home to live among Jews? Are they willing to find a new job? Are they willing to stop worshipping the gods of their previous religions?

So when one is asked to move into a Jewish community, study, live among and show their loyalty to the Jewish people, they asked to become One for Israel, just as Ruth did. She left her family, her homeland, and joined herself to Israel... so then I ask is the God of Israel your G-d? And is Israel your people? Are you One for Israel?

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One for Israel Ministry is a team of dedicated Israeli's seeking to share the Truth about Messiah with our fellow Jews and the world. We share testimonies and help God's People connect with the Jewish Messiah and their roots. 


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