March 11, 2012
- By Ed Powell
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"And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law; but Ruth clave unto her." Ruth 1:14
Tragedy struck the family of Naomi after it left Bethlehem to seek out an existence in Moab. Elimelech, her husband, and Mahlon and Chilion, her sons, all died in Moab, leaving her a widow with two daughters-in-law in a foreign country. She suggests that her daughters -in-law return to their homes, and she will go back to her friends in Bethlehem.
The scene that follows is both "tragic" and "blessed." It's very instructive to notice what these two young women chose to do. Their decision would affect the rest of their lives.
It was a sad time for all of them as they wept, realizing their tragic past and the prospects of a bleak future. Now notice, Orpah loved Naomi, her mother-in-law, but the love that never fails was not there. At first, she was inclined to go, but when the facts were laid out before her, pointing out the sacrifices she would have to make, she returned to her own people and to her idolatrous gods. Orpah lost everything she was seeking and missed all that God would have done for her. Orpah made a tragic decision to forsake the "God of Israel" and was the recipient of its sad consequences.
Ruth's decision was quite different. She declared her love and affection to Naomi in such beautiful and meaningful words, from the depth of a heart of love. Listen to these heart-moving words of Ruth: "Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you: 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 will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me" (Ruth 1:16,17).
The tremendous message that has been a challenge to me since I first read the book of Ruth is this: All that Ruth was to become was the result of what she saw and learned of God in the life of Naomi, her mother-in-law. Now think that through. What an impact Naomi's life had on Ruth! Ruth's life was changed forever!
Through all the heartache, sorrow, and suffering Naomi went through with her family, Ruth observed closely and saw a depth of commitment in her mother-in-law that shined in her darkest hours. She saw in Naomi an "unwavering faith in God" that overcame the most difficult circumstances. She saw an "uncompromising spirit" that stood true, regardless of how devastating life had been to Naomi. She saw a "dedication to God" that led Naomi to instruct Ruth of her faith in the God of Israel.
When the time came for their separation, there was no way Ruth was going to leave Naomi. She was more precious to Ruth than anything she had known before. Ruth broke away from everything that was not of God, to take refuge under the shadow of His wings, the God of Israel! What an eternal impact Naomi's life had on Ruth!
What impact does your life have on those closest to you, to others that your life touches every day? Does your life reflect the commitment, devotion, and love that Ruth saw in Naomi? What do others see when they observe your life? Do they see Jesus? THIS IS GOD'S CHALLENGE TO YOU TODAY!
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://www.litmin.org/dare.php?row=71&date=2012-03-11
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