Loyalty that won’t let go
Your people will be my people and your God my God. – Ruth 1:16
16 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.
17 “Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the LORD do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.”
18 When she saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more to her
Harley-Davidson Inc. has designed and made high-quality motorcycles in America since 1903. It has a reputation for building long-term relationships with those who buy the brand. Harley-Davidson owners have been dubbed a global “tribe” because of their high customer loyalty.
Retaining repeat customers is often more profitable and cheaper than attempting to find new ones. The Harley-Davidson company has consistently nurtured healthy and positive relationships with its clients. Clinging to satisfied customers is a major component of its success. Brand loyalty is a natural byproduct of positive relationship building and bonding.
Our relationship with the Father is usually reflected in our relationships with other people. The more loyal we are to Him, the more loyal we tend to be with friends and family members. That is no accident. The Father esteems loyalty highly.
Perhaps the most beautiful picture of loyalty in all of the Scriptures is that of Ruth for her mother-in-law, Naomi. Many people have inscribed her words on bracelets and pendants that they carry with them everywhere: “For wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me” (Ruth 1:16, 17) (Stanley).
The Book of Ruth oozes tragedy and trust, loss and loyalty, and the invisible hand of the Father working behind the scenes to accomplish His perfect will. There are no coincidences in the kingdom of God. Rather, all of the seemingly random events have been scripted in eternity past and are being acted out in real-time. None of the actors know how it ends, as they are simply moving through their life script. Only the Father who is the driving force behind the events taking place knows His plan. Ruth clings to her mother-in-law (Ruth 1:14). Ironically, Ruth ties her future to Naomi, a woman, who by her own admission, has no future (Roop).
REFLECT & PRAY
As children of the King, we’re called to share our very lives with one another.
Father, as we share our lives with others, may we reflect Your loving heart.
1 Samuel 18:1-4
1 After David had finished talking with Saul, he met Jonathan, the king’s son. There was an immediate bond between them, for Jonathan loved David.
2 From that day on Saul kept David with him and wouldn’t let him return home.
3 And Jonathan made a solemn pact with David because he loved him as he loved himself.
4 Jonathan sealed the pact by taking off his robe and giving it to David, together with his tunic, sword, bow, and belt.
David and Jonathan were bound together, soul to soul in a remarkable, godly commitment to one another. The Hebrew word translated as knit or bound is qashar. The Hebrew root denotes binding or tying something to something. Binding in the context of human relationships is often characterized by commitment, that is by devotion or the binding together of individuals. This idiom expresses great affection.
This phrase has been rendered, “Jonathan felt an instant affection for David” (NJB) “David and Jonathan became best friends” (CEV). In 21st century colloquial English, we would say they became BFF (best friends forever).
Such affection is often seen in familial or brotherly love. Jacob was so close to Benjamin, bound to him by love, that Judah feared for Jacob’s life if Benjamin did not return from Egypt. The same Hebrew word for bound/affection qashar, is used.
Genesis 44:30 Our father’s life is bound up in the boy’s life.
It underlines the devoted affection that existed between Jonathan and David. They had
an instant, extreme, and ultimately long-lasting affection and love for one another. It was “loyalty at first sight.” Even Saul had a great fondness for David, early on in their relationship until jealousy and envy took over and darkened Saul’s soul.
1 Samuel 16:21 Saul loved David very much, and David became his armor bearer.
A loyal person remains steadfast. Loyalty comes from the heart. Support does not require begging or groveling. It is motivated by love and freely given. Loyal friends desire the best for those close to them.
Loyalty also demands trust. It leaves no room for deception or mistrust. As a result, individuals loyal to one another relate at much deeper levels than others. Loyal friends defend the other person and refuse to listen to gossip. Loyalty speaks the truth. A loyal person has a strong sense of responsibility.
Genuine loyalty is not built around circumstances, environment, popularity, or convenience. True loyalty is built on devotion to the Father and the love of others. He rewards those who remain loyal to Him and to those people He places in our lives. You can never out-give God, even in loyalty! (Stanley)
In many ways, David was special, he was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). In the Old Testament, David was one of the few individuals who had the privilege and honor of having the Holy Spirit dwell inside of him.
1 Samuel 16:13 Samuel took the flask of olive oil he had brought and anointed David with the oil. And the Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon David from that day on.
David and Jonathan were kindred spirits. Their story shows the depth and the breadth of godly relationships available to every child of the King when they walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. Could it be that David’s deeply personal, mystical, spiritual relationship with the Father made such a high-quality, intimate relationship possible?
The friendship between Jonathan and David has become proverbial down through the millennia. It was conceived of as an intimate binding of their souls and spirits together. It was characterized by the phrase nep̱eš niqšerāh benep̱eš (“became one in spirit with;” literally, “spirit bound with spirit” (Youngblood).
“Jonathan became one in spirit with David, literally, ‘the soul of Jonathan was bound up, knotted firmly together with the soul of David.” The thought is that Jonathan recognized in David a kindred spirit. These two men were one in their God, in their faith, and in their devotion to the people of the Lord. David loved him (i.e., Jonathan) as himself” (James E. Smith).
1 Samuel 18:4 Jonathan sealed the pact by taking off his robe and giving it to David, together with his tunic, sword, bow, and belt.
“As a symbol of the brotherhood between them, Jonathan gave to David certain articles of clothing and weapons. To receive any part of the dress which had been worn by a sovereign, or his eldest son and heir, was deemed in the East the highest honor which could be conferred on a subject” (James E. Smith).