Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

What Convinced Ruth?

(Ruth 1:16 NKJV) But Ruth said: “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.
Orpha and Ruth
When Elimelech left Bethlehem in Judah because of a famine, he went to Moab.  Moab was a country populated by a people that descended from Lot, Abraham’s nephew, and was always an enemy of Israel as a nation.  However, there must have been food in Moab and people will generally do anything for food.  One wonders how many others from Bethlehem sought food in Moab.  How many just stayed where God had planted them and waited for Him to provide?  The story does not tell us.  However, I think of Elimelech and Naomi when I hear people say that they are not getting “fed” in their local church.  
Naomi lost her husband and her two sons who had married women from Moab both died as well.  That left Naomi and two daughters-in-law–all without husbands.  When Naomi heard that there was “bread” in her homeland, she decided to return and both Orpha and Ruth started back with her, but Naomi encouraged both of them to stay in Moab. She told them to go back to their people and to their gods.  What a testimony to Naomi’s faith that must have been.  I am sure that she wanted the best for both of these daughters-in-law, and in that day and in Jewish tradition, that included having a husband and having children.  It appears that Noami never really learned that God could provide for her and her daughters-in-law.  So she told them to go back.  Orpha followed the logical solution and went back.  But Ruth did not, she wanted Noaomi’s people to be her people and Naomi’s God to be her God.  What did she see in Naomi and perhaps in Elimelech and the two boys that Orpha did not see?  They both seemed to have the same experiences and the same sorrows but Ruth was converted to the worship of Jehovah while Orpha was not.  
Practical Implications
Ruth is a picture of a new testament convert to the Lord Jesus.  Orpha is a picture of a Christ-rejector.  As a Gospel preacher it always amazes me to see who responds to the message of the Gospel and who does not.  Often the ones we assume would never become believers do and those that we think will become believers, become Christ-rejectors.  In this story we have two women with the same backgrounds and with the same experiences in life who make different choices.  In my mind those choices cannot be explained.  I do not believe that God chooses people to believe but instead He chooses new testament believers to be His chosen people.  I believe that means that each person will bear the consequences of their own decisions.  One wonders if Orpha ever found a husband,  Did she ever have children?  Ruth through the providence of God was blessed with a husband and with children and became a great grandmother to King David.  As a result she was in the lineage of the Lord Jesus.  And she was a foreigner.  Whatever she saw, she saw by faith, and she was blessed because of it.  
We often make decisions logically based on what we “think” will work even when those decisions are contrary to Biblical teaching and principles.  This keeps many people from being blessed with God’s salvation.  It also keeps many Christians from enjoying His miraculous leading and provision in their earthly life.  If a Naomi can produce a convert like Ruth, think of what spiritual fruit could be produced if we who are saved were all walking in fellowship with the Lord and if we would allow Him to actually work out HIs purposes in our lives.  
Bruce Collins
Meditation for the week of June 6, 2021

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