Ruth 1:14, vs. 14, “Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her”
In the next three devotions, I will share specifically three areas in our journey we may have to deal with. If not all, I will share the journeys of these three women; Orpah, Naomi and Ruth. The crossroad is the redefining place for commitment that leads to destiny. Today we share on Orpah but first beginning with the story that brought these three women together.
Driven by famine, Elimelech and Naomi fled from Bethlehem in Judah to Moab where they also had two sons. After Elimelech died, his two sons married Moabite women Ruth and Orpah. Within 10 years, the two sons also died and we come to learn of these three women who were all widows and at one point at a crossroad where their lives and destiny would be redefined.
Naomi upon hearing that God had visited Bethlehem and gave them bread, chose to rise and go back home. We will talk more about her in the next writing, for now let us take Orpah for our lesson. Having lost a husband, two sons, in a foreign land, feeling forgotten by God vs. “8 …Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each to her mother’s house. The LORD deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. 9 The LORD grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.” There was something that attracted these two women to Naomi, perhaps her life style, her life of worship, her kindness towards them, something they both returned. In our day, it is hard to see great relationships between mothers and daughters in law. Here we see something beautiful that even when a relationship that tied them together was long gone by death, a friendship and companionship was realized here. Orpah like Ruth had homes they could return to and restart a new life again as young women, however they hang on.
At the crossroad Naomi pleaded with them to go back vs. 9, “… kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. 10And they said to her, “Surely we will return with you to your people.” They both wanted to keep the relationship they had developed with their mother in law even if it meant going back with her to her people. At the crossroad, the condition of hearts were revealed. Vs. 11-13, Naomi tried to reason with them, showing them that they had better chance of making it in Moab their land than going back with Naomi. There was no way she could be remarried and have sons who would marry them again. Naomi talks of her God who had deserted her, perhaps this is the same God Ruth and Orpah had begun to worship since the Moabites were idol worshippers.
Vs. 14, “Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law,” Orpah went back, why? She was familiar with her land and her people more. She was comfortable with her idols; after all, her idols would not abandon her like the God of Naomi. This shows, she would have wanted a move that promised good in the end (future). Where Naomi was going, had a lot of uncertainties. She loved the companionship of both Ruth and Naomi but not at the expense of her future. Her clinging to Naomi though had love in it, there was a personal gain tied to it. This was a battle between past, present and future. The past was fully understood, the present was cloudy, and the future was uncertain and definitely not promising.
This is a presentation of different lives at crossroads. Would you follow Christ and even show your love for Him as long as He shows you a promising future? You may be frustrated right now because the relationship you have been holding onto is not producing what you had in mind in staying connected. Walking with God, relating to Him calls for faithfulness whether there are things promised or not. Standing strong because the relationship is greater and stronger than the gain. You become like Peter who said, “68 .., “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”, John 6:68-69. Others who followed Jesus turned and went back because they wanted a Messiah who would meet their needs, their following had indeed personal gains tied to it. Jesus said to them in John 6:27, “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.” In other words if you are coming, you are coming for Me and not what I can do for you primarily. Orpah would have gone back if she was in this crowd.
Do you identify yourself with Orpah? Are you following hoping for a better future and if you knew the deal that it might not be brighter you may turn and go back? The crossroad is a place to redefine your commitment, to go forward or turn back. At the crossroad, the condition of your heart will be revealed like we see here with Orpah. Blessings Ev