Aug. 12, 2009
“And she (Naomi) said, ‘Behold thy sister-in-law is gone back unto her people.”
Ruth 1: 15, King James Version
“Orpah’s Choice” Part III
“What I live by, I impart.”
Could I be a representative of good even if I were asked by God to go to Moab to do His work?
“It is better to live for God than to be perpetually talking about Him”
“The smallest light still shines in the darkest night.”
The crying had stopped. The hugs were over with. The decision was made. Orpah turned and slowly began walking back toward Moab. As the Bible says, she was “going back.”
However, before our “diagnosis bias” kicks in, and we make the assumption, not verified by Scripture, that Orpah tossed the God of Israel over, let’s look at the phrase “gone back” as translated in the Hebrew.
Much to my surprise, I found that these two words come from one Hebrew word which shares the idea of returning, BUT – and here’s the amazing thought – “not necessarily with the idea of returning to the starting point!” WOW! This calls for our Transformation Garden trademark, STOP! Especially when we come upon a Biblical truth or thought that makes us STOP! in our tracks and take note! However, there’s even more! This phrase, “gone back” also means, “sent back, carrying back, delivering something.” Oh, we can way too quickly deduce that Orpah left Naomi to go back to her life in Moab with her heathen gods, the way it was before she was introduced to the God of heaven. But what a disservice we’d be doing, not only to Orpah, but to the God of heaven and earth who has a heavenly purpose for every one of His children. Someone once said that the two greatest days in a person’s life are the day they were born and the day they find out why they were born.
I believe that somewhere on a dusty, dirt road between Moab and Bethlehem, Orpah was called to go back to a land she knew and understood, carrying the message of the God of heaven that she held in her heart. As the phrase “gone back” is translated, Orpah was sent back by Naomi. And her “Father” had her “carry back” and “deliver” His message in a land she understood. I just love the fact that in this text, the “going back” means returning, but not to the point where one started. Where Orpah started was that she was a Moabite girl in a heathen country. When she returned to the place of her birth, however, she carried the knowledge and truth of God in her heart. What better person to share the story of God.
Why do I believe God used Orpah to be a witness to “her people?” Because, it wouldn’t have been the first time or the last God used an unlikely candidate! Remember how God used Rahab. Long before two Israelite spies arrived at her front door, in the center of the wickedness of Jericho, this brothel owner had witnessed the evidence of what God was like, and as she told the spies who came to her for help, “I know that the Lord hath given you the land…for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath” (Joshua 2: 9, 11, K.J.V.).
Right within the walls of the dwelling of Rahab the harlot, was a woman whose tender heart had been pierced with the truth about the God of heaven. Rahab came to the conclusion that she should stake her claim with the God of heaven and earth. Not only was she saved but her entire family and those within the walls of her home were saved, as well.
God needed Rahab in Jericho. He needed Orpah in Moab. And He may need you in a most unlikely spot, too.
Lest we think that because we don’t find the Bible telling us about the work of Orpah in Moab that her work wasn’t successful or vital. Let me take you on a journey to Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman in that area came to Jesus because her daughter was suffering. This mother was a foreigner. And for Jesus to come to her aid required three days of walking. Yet this is exactly what He did just to heal one girl. End of story. A long walk to help one foreigner.
However, when we turn a few pages over to Acts 21: 3, 4, we find that Paul and a group of traveling companions, “landed at Tyre…and finding disciples, we tarried there seven days.” Who I ask you, was working to build ‘disciples’ in a foreign land on foreign soil?”
What comes to my mind is a Canaanite mother and her daughter who had felt the healing touch and tender care of Jesus! WOW!
Before you and I are so quick in our assessment of others; before we classify someone as a heathen because of the god they worship; before we write-off Orpah from Moab, let’s never forget God has a bigger tent than you and I do. Sometimes I feel like we Christians would rather be cramped in our flimsy little “pup tents” than accept the fact that God’s daughters and sons reside in Jericho, Moab, and Tyre and Sidon.
How do you and I ever expect to be the light God has intended if we climb under a bushel that keeps us hidden within the walled area of some denominational confine or church institution instead of being open enough to follow the Man who said, “If I be lifted up, will draw ALL, unto Me.” In the words of Horace Bushnell, “The Bible calls the good (woman’s) life a light; and it is the nature of light to flow out spontaneously in all directions, and fill the world unconsciously with its beams.” I’ll add to this that this light is so bright, when set on a hill, there’s not one place where Rahab, Orpah, a Canaanite mother, or you and I can’t carry the brightness of our Father’s love and glory. In the words of John Henry Newman, “We are not sent into this world for nothing; we are not born at random; we are not here, that we may go to bed at night, and get up in the morning, toil for our bread, eat and drink, laugh and joke, sin when we have a mind and reform when we are tired of sinning, rear a family and die. God sees every one of us; He creates every soul…for a purpose.”
“Remember, a small light will do a great deal when it is in a very dark place. Put one little tallow candle in the middle of a large hall, and it will give a good deal of light.”
D. L. Moody
“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand – shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5: 14-16
The Message Bible
A Light in the Darkness
“Dear God, merciful Lord, I come to You as your humble daughter in need of Your wisdom, Your goodness, Your love, Your light. I want to thank You, my dear God, for Your love. I know that You want the very best for me. Now help me, my dear Lord, to be a light for my family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues, and even for those I do not know. They may be carrying a heavy burden; they may not be able to find their way. It is my prayer that I may be the light in their path. I want them to know that I can help them carry a burden that feels too heavy. You want me to help, Lord. You want me to be a friend, and I know that You will give me the strength and the love they need. Work through me, Lord, and I know that with Your help I can be a light in the darkness! Amen.”
Ms. Betty Torres
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