It’s really amazing how Ruth made it to having a book named after her in the bible, I have nothing against her but I’ve just always wondered the criteria used to decide how books were named because if it was a show of strength and resilience, Deborah should’ve come first, if it was by leadership and devotion to God, Miriam would’ve come first and if it was by mere obedience and trust, Sarah, Abraham’s wife should’ve come first, not in any way demeaning the amazing strengths and characters displayed by Ruth really.
Another named woman in that book is Orpah, we seem to only remember Ruth and Naomi in discussions over the book of Ruth and most times people speak like Orpah was the disloyal one who left her mother-in-law to go back to her country.
Heroic Ruth decided to stick with her even to death and the place Naomi was going to be buried.
It’s also weird we hear nothing again of Orpah after this scene, and my thoughts as I meditated on this was that God had destined the root of Jesus to come through Ruth.
I want us to remember that Naomi had called both daughter-in-laws to honestly advise them to go back to their countries because she had lost everything and was also returning to her country. Remember she even said that “even if I did marry again and bare children, would you both wait till they were grown to marry them?”. She saw that these girls were both young and could still make much of their lives if they returned home.
After a little back and forth, the bible says that Orpah then kissed her and went, this kills every argument of Orpah being disrespectful because all she’d done was reason and see that Naomi spoke truth and her conviction led her to leave to go back home.
Ruth on the other hand was convicted to remain with Naomi no matter what! For her it was a do or die affair and this was her own conviction.
We can’t judge people’s conviction on the basis of how we see it because a conviction is what it is, a personal resolution that is come from deep within a person. For us as Christians now, the Holy Spirit will usually convict us on various things in our lives, can we say that same Holy Spirit convicted both Ruth and Orpah?
Maybe not, because Christ hadn’t come yet and neither had He sent His spirit to dwell in His children.
But as we’ve always seen, God has always made provision for keeping His children in step with Him, sometimes it’s the conscience, those days it was the law and prophets and today were in that era of the Holy Spirit, so Ruth and Oprah’s convictions emanated from somewhere which my spirit tells me was pure.
Now, thinking on the flip side to when they did get to Naomi’s home in Bethlehem, how many women was Boaz going to marry? If Orpah had followed back too, do we see that there could’ve been some levels of conflict and issues over which one of them Boaz would redeem?, seeing that both of them might have been sent to glean in His field as well. God purposed Boaz to end up with Ruth and if that purpose was manifested in the conviction of Orpah by leading her to go back to her home, I see obedience and trust, rather than disloyalty and fear.
This morning I heard the Holy Spirit tell me that some are Orpah’s and some are Ruth’s, sometimes your conviction will lead you to go and other times it might be to stay, what matters in both occurrences is your obedience.
We can’t interpret the absence of Orpah’s name in the bible after that chapter to mean that she did something wrong and was removed, it could just be that it is Ruth’s life, which we still read about that God was bringing someone out from, which is the Messiah.
Note however that not everything is recorded in the bible and sometimes the Holy Spirit gives insight to what might have happened that wasn’t recorded.
The point in this post is to be sensitive to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, don’t think of the “best ideal option” and stick with it, just be open to whatever option He might lead you to, even if it is going home as in the case of Orpah.
God isn’t judging you against anyone else, however similar your situation might have been, He’s looking at your obedience to Him in any and every situation.
So please drop the expectation and desires of others over your life, or better still, subject those expectations and desires to the spirit of God so He can sieve and filter through them.
Your obedience will always come first before the thought of any human or even yourself. We read Orpah’s actions sometimes as disrespectful and disloyal, but for all we know, it could’ve been her own conviction which stands tall even in the mirror of Ruth’s conviction to continue with Naomi.
I hope you don’t feel uncomfortable knowing that you might be an Orpah and not a Ruth because you’re just as awesome x