Ruth or Orpah
As children of the Lord, we are permitted by God to come
into trying circumstances. In them we are called upon to make
important decisions which greatly affect our spiritual development
and destiny in the Kingdom of our Lord.
In the Book of Ruth, we have the record of two women bereaved
in their youth, and of their choices: one, Orpah, chose to
return to her own people, and to her own way of life. But
Ruth chose differently. She pleaded with Naomi, “Entreat
me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee:
for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest,
I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my
God.” (Ruth 1:16)
Though completely unknown to her, only as Ruth left behind
those things that were dear to her would she become the bride
of Boaz, her kinsman-redeemer. So also, only as we make our
choice to conform to God’s choice for us, can we in
the highest sense please the heart of our heavenly Bridegroom.
This incident brings to mind Leviticus 25. In this passage
we have a picture of two men bound in servitude to an Israelite
to pay off past debts. The year of Jubilee had come when their
bondage was ended and their property was to be restored to
One of the men expressed his deep appreciation of the master
and, being so happy to be free, took what was his and departed
to live his own independent life.
The other man through the years of servitude had come to
love his master and was loath to leave him, so he stepped
up on the post of the door and holding the lobe of his ear
against it, asked his master to pierce it. This made him a
bond, or love slave for the rest of his life. Jesus was a
bond slave of His Father. Psalm 40:6 reads, “Mine ears
has thou opened” (or pierced). Paul was surely a love-slave
of the Lord Jesus.
We have these two types of Christians ever with us. The one
type, Orpah, is in the majority who chooses their own independent
way. The other type, Ruth, chooses the sovereign purposes
of the Lord Jesus for their life through an abandonment to
the Holy Spirit.
In the Kingdom of God, there is no place for a spirit of
independence because it leads to other sins. Many times a
person is brought to a realization of his own independent
attitude when he is faced with his sad failures and mistakes.
Recognizing this, he seeks a “fig leaf covering”
to hide his failure and so continues on in his independence.
But this is rebellion against God. We too often see this type
of man in Church government and responsibility. Instead of
giving Jesus His place as rightful Head, he assumes a place
of leadership. Human government is either autocratic or democratic;
divine government is theocratic and requires complete submission
to His headship.
True, the independent man will often ask the Lord’s
blessing on his ways and efforts, but he will seldom step
out of the way so the Divine Leader can take over the reins.
On the other hand, the love slave, having undergone an inner
crucifixion of his self life is delivered from his own independent
desires and ways, and he most gladly submits himself for the
True and Living Head.
Today’s trials and God’s dealings will show us
which of these two types are a picture of us. Is God, by His
Spirit brooding over you to bring you out of your own independent
ways and into the life and leadership of Christ by His Spirit?
Though yet a green fig, Israel is stepping forth as a nation,
and the entire world is aware of her presence and importance.
And the vines with tender grapes give a good smell.
The Body of Christ is both experiencing and expressing the
spiritual life and ministry that the Lord desires. Now, those
in whom the Spirit of the Lord is moving can truly say, “The
winter is past . . . the flowers appear on the earth.”
A people are being called from the world into the Church.
Great blessing and growth is taking place in the Church through
this outpouring of the Spirit. But there is yet another call.
In the midst of this visitation, a singular and personal call
from the Lord is being heard by many of His people”
“Rise up and come away.” These are being called
into a realm of spiritual life and identity with the Lord
Pressure for participation in some program loudly beckons
to many who are finding a new and richer experience in the
Lord as they respond to this call. These wonder where their
loyalty should be placed as they hunger to come into all that
the Lord has for them.
The Lord reveals Himself as standing outside of the door
of all this activity. He is knocking, calling to those who
have an ear to hear. “Behold I stand at the door and
knock, if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will
come in and sup with him, and he with me.” (Rev. 3:20)
John heard this call. A door open in heaven, and He heard
a voice as a trumpet (prophetic revelation) talking with him,
which said: “Come up hither, and I will shew thee things
which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the Spirit;
and, behold, a throne . . . and one sat on the throne.”
(Rev. 4:1-2) This call was to the Lord Himself.
There is much that the Lord desires to reveal concerning
things to come. Yet, He did not place the emphasis on these
things, but rather upon Himself; for the revelation which
follows is that of the Lord Himself in all of His glory, with
the overcoming Church caught up to His throne. Jesus said:
“If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to myself.”
In this day of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and of manifold
demands upon our time, let us again meditate on the true purpose
for the outpouring of the Spirit. “My beloved spake,
and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come
Our Lord is calling a people to Himself to fulfill His purposes
for this day in which we live.