Naomi and Her Family Journey to a Distant Land
I was reading Ruth Chapter One just the other day. This passage gave me a lot to reflect on. It so happened that Elimelek, his wife Naomi, and their two sons, Mahlon and Kilion went to stay in the country of Moab for a while as there was a famine in their land. They were from Bethlehem in Judah.
The Pain of Loss
It happened that Elimelek died so Naomi was left with her two sons. Her two sons married Moabite women named Orpah and Ruth. After they had lived there for ten years, Naomi’s two sons also died. Poor Naomi was without her husband and her two sons! A rather sad and unfortunate set of events had befallen her in a strange country. I cannot begin to imagine her the extent of her grief in strange place.
The Decision to Move Back Home
While they were in Moab, they heard that God had provided food in Judah. Naomi made a decision to travel back to her home land. She with her daughters-in-law made preparation for the journey back to the land of Judah.
Naomi advised them both to go back to their mother’s home. She blessed them for the kindness they had shown to her sons and to her. She prayed they would each find new husbands. They wept aloud as she kissed them goodbye. She found every reason to discourage them from going with her. When was she going to have any more sons to marry the two women? Besides, she herself was too old to have another husband.
Orpah Turns Back: The Familiar
Orpah chose to return to her family. So how is it that Orpah chose to go back? Perhaps, the fear of the unknown might have been a factor. Maybe she preferred her “comfort zone”, at least the devil she knew was better than the angel she didn’t know. She welcomed the “familiar” as it did not require any great sacrifice of her. She was not interested in taking any risks in case something went wrong. I guess when one is not sure of the unknown, safety seems to be a better option. I hazard a guess that the “call of our flesh” always leads us to go back to familiar ground.
Ruth Moves To A Strange Land: The Outsider
On the opposite side of the spectrum we have Ruth who asked Naomi not to make her turn back. She was prepared to go where Naomi went. Naomi’s people would be her people. Her God would be Ruth’s God. Where she died, Ruth would also die and be buried there. Only death was allowed to separate them. Wow, now that was one woman who was totally sold out to Naomi’s cause; unswerving loyalty, commitment, faithfulness, love, unity. She went back to Judah and served Naomi faithfully!
Lessons to Be Learned from Orpah and Ruth
So Dear Woman, the question I want to ask is this, are you an Orpah or a Ruth? Or can one be both? I would like to think that Naomi had the same impact on both women with her lifestyle of service to her God. Yet the one chose to stick with her through thick and thin, while the other turned back to the familiar. So it is with our faith walk with God. There are times when we are lukewarm, go through the motions, and not fully engaged in a meaningful relationship with our Saviour. We do not want to be called to sacrifice our lives, our time, and our all to Him. We stay on the peripheries and try to incorporate Him into our lifestyle, instead of the other way around. Do as little as possible without getting fully immersed, yes, that requires little of us. Don’t get me wrong, faced with the decision Orpah had to make, I am sure we will gravitate towards the familiar!
You see we all have a little of Orpah and Ruth in us. There comes a time when Orpah must be squelched to allow Ruth to bloom to full height. The “call of the flesh” must be crushed so Ruth can come out and fulfill destiny. Ruth is filled with passion, zeal, and a zest for serving the Living God. She does not count the cost, she is willing to sacrifice everything for His greater glory. A life of passionate and dedicated service to the Lord will be rewarded. Philippians 3:14 says, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Ruth, the Moabitess, an outsider, is listed in the genealogy of Jesus Christ because of her faithfulness. What a blessing!
Matthew 1: The Genealogy of Jesus Christ
verse 1: The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham
verse 5: Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David the King.
Dear Woman, God looks at your heart and your willingness to be used of Him. You only need to make yourself available. Ruth did not bemoan her fate crying daily, “I am an outsider, I am not good enough.” I pray you will be encouraged in your faith walk going forward, and purpose in your heart to serve Him faithfully.
Yaa F. Attobrah