#53 Women of the Bible: Orpah
Updated: Sep 19, 2021
Sometimes when you are faced with a choice, you can make the worst decision and lose your chance forever. Whether it’s not taking the opportunity of a job, marriage partner, investment, it may mean that you will live with regret for the rest of your life.
When Israel was in severe drought Naomi had gone to live in Moab with her husband and 2 sons. Her husband died and the 2 sons took Moabite wives, Ruth and Orpah. The 2 sons died so Naomi decided to return to Israel. At first both daughters in law wanted to go with her but Naomi argued that they were better off staying in Moab.
Orpah listened and returned to her people and her gods and obscurity. Ruth, however, clung on to Naomi saying “Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God” and ended up going to Israel with her. Ruth went on to marry well and produce a son who was in the lineage of King David and, later, Jesus.
Orpah had the opportunity to be a part of God’s eternal plan and purpose but she rejected it for the comfort and familiarity of rich and prosperous Moab. She wanted to be with Naomi’s people but the allure of her culture held her back- she was like a double-minded person unstable in all her ways (James 1:8).
Ruth knew her goal and spared no effort and cost in pursuing it. She would’ve known that Moabites were hated by the Jews but that didn’t daunt her. The prospect of poverty didn’t stop her. The possibility that she may live out her days as a lonely widow in a foreign country didn’t faze her. She was single-minded in her pursuit of God.
Paul exhorted us to forget everything behind us, to count everything as worthless in our pursuit of Jesus, to make Him our chief focus and goal. He wanted only to know “the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings” so that he may “attain to the resurrection from the dead”. He warned that many “are the enemies of the cross of Christ”, “whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame--who set their mind on earthly things” (Phil 3:7-19 NKJV).
We can be like Orpah and turn our backs on God, or be like Ruth, not knowing what the future holds, but trusting that everything that God plans is good.