And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her. And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law. ~Ruth 1:14-15
The Christian life is a faith walk. Once in the Old Testament and three times in the New Testament we read that “the just shall live by faith.” Paul reminds us that we walk by faith and not by sight. Abraham pictures for us the faith walk as pilgrims in this world. God wants us to go all the way in the faith walk and not part of the way. This morning, we are studying a story about a person who went halfway and did not complete the journey. It is a strong warning to us not to be halfway Christians.
We see the favorable DIRECTION.
Naomi had lived for over ten years in Moab. The years down there were filled with heartache and sorrow. She had been out of the will of God during that whole time. When she heard that the Lord had visited her people by sending them bread, she awakened in her conscience and decided to return to the faith walk she once had. By faith, she decided to go back to Bethlehem Judah and dwell among her own people. She was heading in the right direction. Be a Christian who is walking in the right direction. Have faith in God’s Word to guide you. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way,” Ps. 37:23. “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps,” Prov. 16:9. Naomi’s faith influenced Ruth and Orpah to follow her. Be a Christian who is following people who are walking in the right direction.
We see the fleshly DECISION.
Naomi did not think she could offer Ruth and Orpah much hope by tagging along with her. She gave them the choice to turn back and stay in Moab. Orpah made the decision to turn back. Halfway on the journey back to Bethlehem Judah, Orpah kissed Naomi goodbye and went back. Going only halfway is a personal decision. No one forces you to go halfway. Going halfway meant there were old practices she did not want to give up. Going halfway meant that she felt more comfortable being around unsaved people than saved people. Going halfway meant that she trusted in her own ability to take care of herself and not in God’s ability. Going halfway meant that she had other gods to which she chose to give her time and worship.
We see the fatal DANGER.
There is no further mention about Orpah after she made her decision to turn around. Naomi said that Orpah went back to her people and to her gods. Going halfway takes us out of the will of God. Going halfway deprives us of God’s best in our lives. Going halfway results in nothing great being done for God. Going halfway never brings true peace and happiness. Going halfway brings us into the company of people that will lead us further from God, and not closer to God. Going halfway is walking in the counsel of the ungodly, standing in the way of sinners, and eventually sitting in the seat of the scornful. Are you at the halfway mark, and the pull of the world is trying to make you turn away from God? There is a danger of only going halfway!
We see a faith DETERMINATION.
In spite of Orpah’s decision to return to Moab, the Bible says Ruth clave to her mother in law and said, “Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge…Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried.” Ruth made a faith determination. She made a wise decision to go all the way with Naomi. Her faith determination resulted in being blessed with a husband, a home, an heir, and a heritage. The story has a truly happy ending because, by faith, she went all the way.
Don’t allow circumstances, false rewards, or disappointments convince you to go halfway. Have faith in God and go all the way.
Have a determined God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: 2 Kings 9-11