“And they lifted up their voice and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law; but Ruth clave unto her. And she (Naomi) said, Behold, thy sister-in-law is gone back unto her people and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister-in-law.” – Ruth 1:14-15
Naomi, Ruth and Orpah were heading back to the land of Israel, but en route Naomi stopped and tried to send them back to their mother’s houses. Orpah returned, but Ruth stayed.
These two verses never cease to inspire me every time I read them. They are the summery of love, devotion and loyalty. I can’t help but wonder what kind of person Naomi had to have been to elicit such dedication from Ruth. The more I read the book of Ruth, the more I see Naomi as a type of the Holy Spirit.
Think about these correlations…
1 Naomi left the safety of the people of God to go out and dwell in a heathen nation. (Moab.) The Holy Spirit, which is a part of the Trinity, left heaven to come to earth and woo people to Christ.
2 Naomi lost the dearest thing to her while she was in Moab – her husband and her sons. For the Holy Spirit to have come, Christ had to lose His life on the cross, rise again on the third day and ascend to His Father’s hand; then the Spirit was commissioned to dwell in Believers.
3 Naomi began to bring her two daughter in-laws back with her to Israel…the Bible says that it is the Lord’s desire that all would come to the saving knowledge of Christ.
4 BUT, as God does not force anyone to be saved, so Naomi did not force Orpah and Ruth to continue with her. Just like the Holy Spirit nudges and prods and gives every human being a choice, so Naomi gave her daughter in-laws a choice. Ultimately, it’s our decision.
Just like one followed and one did not, there will always be those who accept Christ and those who reject Him. Now, to those who follow, we are the Ruth’s in the story. Take a peek at some of these words that are used to describe Ruth in verse 14… “And they lifted up their voice and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in-law but Ruth clave unto her.”
Wept – Could you imagine what it would be like not to have the Lord in your life? I hear folks say all the time, “I don’t know how people get by without the Lord!” But, what difference does it make if we live like He’s not present in our lives? …In the things we say, do, watch on TV, etc.? Do we weep when something threatens to replace Him in our lives?
Clave – The Hebrew word for clave in this verse is דָּבַק (dabaq) and means: cling, joined together, keep close. The behavior exhibited by Ruth was not that of someone who merely believed a certain truth (that she should stay with her mother in-law) but acted on that belief (by a physical act of clinging to her). We know the verses that say, “I am with you always,” and “I will never leave thee or forsake thee.” Our Savior cleaves to us, but His power displayed in our lives is not fully demonstrated until we cleave to Him.
So, how would one cleave to the Lord? It is important to remember that this cleaving is not something we can add to a list of good deeds that we try and remember to do every day. But you say, “I’m confused! If it’s not something we do, than how do we cleave to the Lord?” By trusting Him, laying all our problems at His feet and resting in His promise that He will take care of it. The most clear picture of “cleaving” I can think of is a small child being held by its father. Who is doing the actual work in this picture – the child or the father? The father! The parent is the one holding the child up, making sure no harm comes to the child and giving the infant a place to rest. That’s what cleaving is! That’s what Ruth did. She didn’t know the future – but she knew she trusted her mother-in-law and she didn’t try and fix her problems by herself. In a few posts, we’ll even look at how Naomi told Ruth to “rest” and “sit and be still!”
But next time, we’ll take a look at Ruth’s response…