Then they lifted up their voices and wept again, and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. Ruth 1:14
Ruth and Orpah were both mourning widows facing an uncertain future. They were at the threshold of two experiences; at the edge of the familiar and the unfamiliar, and at the boundary line of two nations – Moab and Bethlehem. Ruth however crossed the line and headed to Bethlehem. Why?
Moab represents the world without God. It is idolatry and sin. For Ruth, it also spoke of the familiar. Bethlehem, however, is the ‘house of bread.’ It is the birthplace of Jesus Christ. It is the place of being fed with the ‘Bread of heaven,’ of having Christ ‘born’ in you. In our walk with and commitment to Christ, there is a boundary line that separates Moab from Bethlehem. We all must come to this boundary line, where we decide whether we cross over with the Lord to Bethlehem, or like Orpah, return to the worldly enjoyments and idolatry of Moab, counting the cost of following Christ to be too much.
At this boundary line, we often have to experience the painful separation of friendships, relationships and associations, and sometimes, they are permanently damaged. The cost of crossing the line to follow Christ sometimes may be the loss of bright prospects, birthrights, job opportunities, a flashy life, an immoral relationship, a promise of wealth, etc.
The weakness in the Christian walk of many today is as a result of many coming to this threshold and, instead of crossing, have kept a foot each, across both lines. This is religion without sacrifice; it is Christianity without a cost. It helps no one, it reforms no one, and at best, it is mediocrity. Lifting up holy hands before God on Sundays and living like the world the rest of the week won’t take you anywhere. Those who are neither here nor there gets spewed out of God’s mouth.
Orpah went back to Moab because she couldn’t make the sacrifice; the price of going all the way to Bethlehem cost too much for her to bear. Don’t be like Orpah, follow through with your commitment to please God. True religion must cost you something – an immoral relationship that makes you compromise your faith, a job that exposes you to corruption, or a lucrative opportunity that makes you indulge in an ungodly lifestyle. Peter said to Jesus, “We have ‘left all’ to follow You…”
Elijah asked the children of Israel in I Kings 18:21, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” It is time to stop faltering between two opinions, cross the boundary line to the Lord’s side.
Pray for a heart that would chose to serve the Lord at all times and in all seasons; a heart that would commit to do what is pleasing and acceptable before the Lord.