I want to share with you all a teaching I gained from the book of Ruth.
I’m sure everyone is familiar with this story and know very well the scene when Orpah makes the decision to leave Naomi and not to go back with her and Ruth to Judah. When I was young I use to think that Orpah was a ‘bad person’ for not wanting to follow Naomi. I labelled her as a ‘bad character’ and that was it.
However, now when I read this passage I realise that, actually, Orpah really really did love Naomi. I could feel her bitterness as she wept at her decision to stay and could sense her pain when she eventually tore herself away from her mother-in-law.
In fact when we read Ruth chapter 1, we see that she too was willing to go back to Bethlehem with Naomi. She made the first few steps of the journey. It was only when Naomi started talking about the difficult future ahead of them that’s when Orpah made the decision to turn back and return to her home.
So what has this got to do with walking with God? The bible has told us that the path to heaven is going to be a tough one. We have to deny ourselves, we have to carry the cross. We have to go through trials and tribulations. We have to grind our fleshly desires and weaknesses into powder, we have to put to death the carnal man inside. We cannot chase after the things of the world, we can have no other gods before the one true and living God in our hearts. We have to love our enemies, esteem others better than ourselves. Take part in the building, the battles, the labour in God’s kingdom. The journey will be tough.
How often do we say we love God? How often do we feel the desire to start our walk with God? But we cannot be fooled, this is not enough. It doesn’t get you anywhere. Didn’t Orpah love Naomi? Didn’t she too have the desire to make the journey back to Judah?
If we are serious about our walk with God, then we really do need to do the hard part, we need to follow His words. Not just to know it, but to live it.
I really hope that in 2011 all the brethren in [our church] are able to continue their walk with God. I hope we can all be like Ruth. I hope that we can cling to God and with all our heart say these words to Him the next time we hear that the path to heaven is a hard one: ‘Lord, entreat me never to leave you, or to turn back from following after you. For wherever you go I will go. And I will be with you and walk with you even until death.’
(Shared by a sister in Christ)