Orpah and Ruth


“And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her. And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law. And Ruth said, 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 1:14-16).


   Orpah, was a Moabite woman who married Chillion, one of the two sons of Elimelech and Naomi. When Elimelech and his sons died in Moab, Orpah accompanied Naomi, her mother-in-law and her sister-in-law Ruth, part of the way back to her town of Bethlehem in Judah. But then she turned “back unto her people, and unto her gods” in Moab.


   Orpah made the decision to go back home and to her false gods and idolatry. And when she goes back, she walks off the pages of scripture into silence and oblivion. We never hear of her again. Orpah stands for the Gentile that never gets saved and born again by Christ – that hears the gospel but never becomes a new creature in the family of God. When the Lord Jesus saved me out of Roman Catholic idolatry, I left my family’s Catholic religion and there was a separation between me and my unsaved family and relatives.


   Like Ruth, the Jewish God became my God and my Savior, and I became a part of the people of the true God. Like Ruth, I made the most important decision of my life. I’m now a part of the family of God, and God is my Father and this sin-cursed earth is not my real home anymore. Like Ruth, I married my kinsman redeemer, the Lord Jesus, who redeemed me by His precious blood. I’m now a part of the church, the bride of Christ. I’m redeemed by the blood of Christ. I’m heading for the promised land of heaven. In the redemption of Ruth the Gentile and bringing her into the pedigree of Christ in (Mt.1) we have a type of the calling of the Gentiles in the N.T. by the precious Redeemer on the cross into the church of Christ, both Jew and Gentile. And let us remember the scene is laid in Bethlehem, the city where our Redeemer was born. It was also the city where King David was born and grew up. Not the big city of Jerusalem, but the little town of Bethlehem a few miles away. How God has exalted that little town since Jesus was born there.


   But Ruth stands for the saved Gentile and Orpah stands for the unsaved Gentile. I want to draw your attention to a well known celebrity today named Oprah Winfrey. She was supposed to be named Orpah but it was misspelled and became Oprah instead. She’s just another worldly unsaved Gentile Hollywood star and billionaire. And she is now tremendously helping Barrack Obama to become a President of the U.S. – or should I say celebrity-in-chief. Oprah talks and millions of women foolishly listen.


   Oprah and Obama, the big double O’s, are an exceptionally vivid example of the intersection of show business and politics. Not only does it illustrate the degree to which presidents and celebrities occupy the same social plateau, it also shows a shift in the presidential job description. As a baseline requirement of the position, a modern chief executive must now be able to present a version of himself that is as audience-friendly as the persona of an entertainment star – he is expected to perform the functions of a professional showman. In show business terms, the president of the U.S. is the ultimate name above the title. No matter how successful, mere actors can never match the firepower of a sitting chief of state.


   Like the elite name of Hollywood, modern presidents surround themselves with hair stylists, make-up artists, lighting technicians, set designers, location scouts, voice coaches, script writers, producers, and directors. A major part of the White House today is a Washington-based branch of the entertainment industry. Our gods and goddesses of politics and showbiz combining together should be a warning to all of God’s people. When the number one idol of politics in the world, the president of the U.S. becomes the number one Hollywood idol as well, the idolatry of the Beast – Mr. 666 is not very far off. Celebrity worship will produce the Antichrist.


   Oprah Winfrey herself is called a goddess, a talk show goddess. Tragically, America is obsessed with celebrity idol worship and Oprah is a female idol worshipped like a goddess. Millions of women idolize her talking image every day on TV. Many of her favorite guests are New Age authors and Oprah helps to sell millions of their books. She’s been called “The African mother goddess of us all.” Her religion is being called ‘Oprahism.’


   The Obama-Oprah show had 18,500 people show up in Des Moines, IA and 10,000 in Cedar Rapids, IA, and 29,000 at Columbia, SC and 8,500 in Manchester, NH on Dec.8 and 9 – 2007. They give their performance on stage and the people love it like they do evil rock concerts – it’s showbiz.


   Yes, Ruth stands for the Gentiles who choose the true religion and the true God Jesus Christ as their Kinsman Redeemer and Orpah stands for the Gentiles who choose false religion and false gods and Antichrist instead. And only God’s born again saints have the Holy Spirit discernment to hear the voice of truth today. Are you listening in these end times? “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” – (Rev.3:22).


   Don’t follow the Orpahs of this world. Be redeemed by the blood of the Kinsman Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ like the Gentile Ruth. Make the decision for Christ, the Jewish Savior of the world, the only true God. “And we know the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols” – (I Jn.5:20,21). Be a Ruth not an Orpah – be redeemed by Christ. “…for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by the blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” – (Rev.5:9).


   The book of Ruth is the only book in our Bible of 66 books, named for a Gentile and so it’s very important to us Gentiles. The primary purpose of the book of Ruth is to show Gentiles, that our redemption is possible only through a Kinsman Redeemer who is the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom Boaz is but a type. This little book of Ruth comes down to our level and tells the story of a Jewish man and Gentile woman who love each other. And their love story is a mirror in which we can see the divine love of our Jewish Savior-Redeemer for us Gentiles. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” – (Eph.5:25). And one day soon, all of us who were redeemed by the Lord Jesus will have the greatest mass wedding in the universe – “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready” – (Rev.19:7). O, Gentile, don’t be an Orpah and spurn the love of God for you in His only begotten Son on the cross. Be a Ruth and be redeemed and born again into the family of God. “And if ye be in Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” – (Gal.3:29).


   As the Gentile Ruth became a part of the Jewish family of God, so we can also by faith in Christ – “And Salmon begat Booz and Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth…” – (Mt.1:5). Both of these Gentile women, Rahab and Ruth, were Gentile brides of Jewish men and were our example of promise of becoming the Gentile bride of Christ, the Jewish Redeemer.


   Orpah and Ruth also show us two kinds of commitments that are made to Jesus Christ. Many times you will find that two people who at the same time and under the same circumstance, being confronted by the truth of Christ, will make a commitment to Jesus Christ, but one truly gets saved and born again and the other doesn’t. The Orpahs do not truly believe in their heart. They are emotionally stirred for the moment. They are drawn by some superficial view of the Lord, or something they hope to gain from their commitment. At the moment you can’t tell the difference between the Orpahs and the Ruths – they both look alike. But as the two walk on in the Christian life, one begins to hang back and at last, like Orpah, comes to the place where she says –“I can’t go on any longer.” We read that Orpah turned and went back to her own people and her own gods. It was only a superficial change that had occurred; they had always been her own people and her own gods.


   Ruth and Orpah demonstrate the two kinds of church members – the professors and the possessors. Orpah made only a profession of faith, but was never saved. Ruth produced genuine faith which produced fruits and work. Ruth was a descendant of Lot’s incest with his two daughters after God destroyed the wicked homosexuals in Sodom. Ruth brings us back to the faith of godly faithful Abraham. “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple” – (Lk.14:33). “And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life” – (Mt.19:29).


   It is written – “Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her” – (Ruth 1:14). Orpah with a respectful kiss left her mother-in-law and her people and her God, and went back to her idolatrous friends, while Ruth with all her heart gave herself up to the God of Naomi. It’s one thing to love the Lord when all is fair, and quite another to cleave to Him in difficult times. The kiss of outward profession is very cheap and easy, but the practical cleaving to the Lord, which must show itself in holy decision for truth and holiness, is not so small a matter. Have you counted the cost? Are you ready to suffer all worldly loss for Christ’s sake? The after gain will be an abundant recompense, for Egypt’s treasures are not to be compared with the glory to be revealed. Orpah is heard of no more; in glorious ease and idolatrous pleasure her life melts into the gloom of death. But Ruth lives in history and in heaven, for God’s grace has placed her in the noble line whence sprung King David and the King of kings and Lord of Lords, the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed among women shall those be who for Christ’s sake renounce all; but forgotten shall those be who turn back to the world. O that church members may not be content with the form of devotion and religion, which is no better than Orpah’s kiss, but that they get genuinely born again and cleave with their whole hearts to the Lord Jesus.


   The household of Elimelech immigrated to Moab in famine, and whether they were right or wrong, they were among the Gentiles as God’s witnesses. They were meant to be missionaries, and, in Ruth’s case, the purpose was fulfilled. Along with Rachab she became the first fruits of the Gentiles. Ruth shows us the N.T. and how the Gentiles would be strangers no more but become a part of the household of God through our Kinsman Redeemer, the Lord Jesus. Israel was to be God’s witness and light to the Gentiles. As it is written of Israel and Christ – “I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth” – (Is.49:6). The story of Ruth the Moabitess, whose blood flowed in David’s veins, was a standing protest against the pride of the Jews in Jesus’ day when they called Gentiles ‘dogs’ and hated Christ for preaching to the Gentiles.


   Are you an unsaved Orpah or a born again Ruth? Have you repented of your sins and by faith believed in the Lord Jesus in your heart for forgiveness of sins? Jesus said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again” – (Jn.3:6,7). No church membership or water baptism can ever save you. You must be baptized with the baptism of Jesus, the baptism of the Holy Spirit into the true church of Christ. “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jew or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit” – (I Cor.13:13). Be truly saved and become a new born again creature in Christ and quit following the unsaved Orpah-Oprah’s of this world. Be redeemed by Christ – be a Ruth.