Ruth 1:14 (NIV) “….Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her.”
I really enjoy reading the book of Ruth. Although it is one of the shorter books in the Bible, its brief storyline is overflowing with moments of determination, perseverance, triumph, hope and love. As you read the book of Ruth, you are reminded of God’s sovereignty and can clearly see His Spirit at work. His grace is never-ending, as it lovingly weaves it’s way through the lives of the men and women who are a part of this fascinating story.Ruth was no doubt a phenomenal woman who inspired us with her loyalty to her mother in law Naomi. She was faithful to her, even though she had to temporarily sacrifice her own desires. Through a series of events and acts of obedience she ended up meeting and marrying the man of her dreams, Boaz. We are all encouraged by her unique story and can learn so much from the example she set.
However, there is another lady in the book of Ruth whom we don’t know much about, that is Orpah, Naomi’s other daughter-in-law. After Naomi’s two sons passed away, these two ladies were left with their mother in law Naomi. Naomi admonished both women to return to their homes but Ruth chose to stay with Naomi, while Orpah chose to leave. When comparing Orpah to Ruth, I have often heard people refer to Orpah as, “the one who left” or “the one who went back.” Have you ever wondered what may have been going on in Orpah’s heart when she took her mother in laws advice to return home? Many times when people make decisions we may not know the reasons they decide to do what they do. Their actions can sometimes appear unreasonable when there are no details to accompany what we see them doing. The truth is that we don’t always know exactly how God may be working in the lives of others, even those closest to us. I think that is definitely the case with Orpah. We don’t have details and never got the chance to hear what she was feeling at the time. But I have to applaud her for being bold enough to “go the other way” and do what she felt was best for her.
We will all come across times in life where we maybe called to go in a different direction from where we thought we would go. We have to trust God’s sovereignty and believe He’s directing our steps. People may or may not understand you, but as long as you’re following God’s will for your life that is what is most important. The next time you find yourself faced with a tough decision and you are being led to “go the other way”, remember Orpah and don’t hesitate to do what’s best for you. When we make bold moves on behalf of our Savior Jesus Christ, even though it may not be easy, we will find opportunities for personal and spiritual growth as we step out on faith. Fear of the unknown may try to hinder our progress, but we can rest knowing that when we put God first He will always work out what is best for us.
Help us not to be afraid to follow the path you have laid out before us, even when we don’t understand every detail.
In the name of Jesus. Amen.