Shamillah (the classy girl up there) grabbed me after service on Wednesday. She was so excited telling me about how her Bible reading/prayer has greatly improved in recent times. She went on and on about something she learned from the story of Ruth. At first, I was not getting her but after about 3 minutes, I was HOOKED. She broke the story of Ruth/Orpah down in a way that had me opening my mouth (I’m not even exaggerating at all!).
Let me give you a breakdown of the story of Ruth with reference to the point Shamz made. Ruth was a babe. As a young lady, she married her heartthrob, Chilion aka Chilly. Chilly had a big brother, Mahlon who was married to Orpah. Naomi and Elimelech were the parents of Chilly and Mahlon. There was famine in their own land so they had had to move to Moab from Judah. It was in their new abode that Chilly and Mahlon met and fell in love with Ruth and Orpah, both Moabitesses. Elimelech died and sadly, after ten years, Chilly and Mahlon died too living behind an aged widowed mom and two young widows.
Naomi was embittered, as you can imagine, and decided to up and leave. She decided to leave the land of Moab and go back to her own people since she had received word that the famine was now over. Ruth and Orpah loved her so much that they wanted to go back with her. Despite Naomi’s pleas that they return, they remained determined to go with their mom-in-law.
Ruth 1: 8-9 says 8 And Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each to her mother’s house. The LORD deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. 9 The LORD grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband.” So she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept.
After much pleading, urging, begging, Orpah decided to go back home, kissed Naomi and left. However Ruth aka Abokoku aka Kusibe (thanks to Gbenga Awomodu for teaching me this word, lol) blatantly refused to return. She clung to Naomi. Naomi told her, ‘see,your sister-in-law is going back to her people, her gods, her family’s idols, her home, you better follow her instead of going with me seeing that I don’t even know where I’m going’. Ruth responded with something that touches my heart (I’d like to say it to my husband as part of my wedding vows, from the ‘for wherever…’ part). She 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.
17 Where you die, I will die,
And there will I be buried.
The LORD do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me.
Aren’t you moved? Lol. Anyways, Ruth ended up marrying the oga patapata in that land, a business mogul, an entrepreneur and an employer of many. Jesus can be linked to this union which means it was a success in every sense of the word.
Shamz had so much to tell me about this story but what strikes me the most is the fact that Naomi herself was urging the two young women to go back to Moab. Moab?!!! Moab is historically known to be a place of sin, sorrow, idolatry and nothing but sorrow had befallen them whilst there. In fact, the Bible makes it clear that Moab was an enemy of God (Judges 3:28). Isaiah 16: 6-8 says, ‘We have heard of the pride of Moab; he is very proud; of his haughtiness and his pride and his wrath; but his lies shall not be so. Therefore Moab shall wail for Moab; everyone shall wail. For the foundations of Kir Hareseth you shall mourn; surely they are stricken’.
The judgement was pronounced in verses 13-14:
This is the word which the LORD has spoken concerning Moab since that time. But now the LORD has spoken, saying, “Within three years, as the years of a hired man, the glory of Moab will be despised with all that great multitude, and the remnant will be very small and feeble.”
The point is that Moab was a cursed land and it was to this that Naomi was telling the ladies to return. In life, evil counsel might not necessarily come from an evil looking face or a mean heart. Sometimes, even those who love you can advise you wrongly and cause you to err if you heed their counsel. Orpah was not as determined as Ruth was and ended up going back to the cursed land. She went back to her idols. And that was it. We never hear of her again, ever!
But Ruth, on the other hand, has become a household name and Jesus can be traced to her lineage. Due to her determination in the face of temptation and pressure coming from a loved one. In life, temptations will arise. People will tell us to return to our individual Moabs. But like Ruth, we have to be strong.
This type of strength however is not innate in any man. Only through God can such strength be acquired. They that know their God shall be strong, and do exploits (Daniel 11:32b). Through praying, reading the Bible, we gain strength so that when the wiles of this world arises, we are well equipped to battle.
No matter through whom the pressure to return to the world is coming from, we have to remain steadfast, because He who has called us is faithful to see us through. Moreover, no temptation will come your way which God has not given you the grace to handle.
Another important lesson I picked from Shamz is the importance of your name. Yoruba people will say ‘oruko eni ma n ro ni‘ which translate to ‘you will become your name’. Ruth means ‘compassionate’ whilst Orpah means ‘stiff-necked’ which probably explains why she stiff-neckedly went back to the idols and the sins of Moab. This means her destiny has already been pre-determined without her even knowing. Please find out what your name means and if it is anything evil, kindly prayerfully rename yourself. Even God renames those He calls. Abram became Abraham, Sarai became Sarah, Jacob became Israel, Saul became Paul.
Shamillah’s excitement at the revelation she received from reading her Bible is interesting. I was listening to Joyce Meyer the other day and she explained the difference between revelation and knowledge. Knowledge is good. But revelation is even better. Revelation is that which you discovered YOURSELF and no matter what, it can not be taken from you. I hope you’ve learned something new from this and you are encouraged to stay strong in the Lord and explore His Word even more. His grace is sufficient.
That’s all folks (for now)