This week began a bible study I’m participating in at Fellowship Bible Church Dallas. For the next 6 weeks, we’ll be going over the book of Ruth and discussing how God uses relationships to help us grow spiritually and emotionally.
Most people are familiar with the story of Ruth and Naomi, but for those of you who aren’t here’s a brief summary of our first study (Ruth 1:1-13).
Naomi is a Jewish woman who has 2 boys. These boys marry woman from Moab named Ruth and Orpah (Not Oprah!) When Naomi’s husband passes, she lives with her sons and daughters-in-laws. 10 years later, Ruth and Orpah’s husbands also pass away. Naomi, Orpah, and Ruth are left without husbands and must now decided their futures. Naomi decides to go back to her culture in Judea and her daughter in laws begin to go with her. She encourages them to go back to their own families as she doesn’t have anything to offer. Orpah agrees and goes off on her own. Ruth stays with her and they begin their own journey.
One of the interesting points I took away with me this morning is related not to the two main characters, Ruth and Naomi, but to the one character who (literally) walked away; Orpah.
One of the ladies in class mentioned that we all, hopefully, have a Ruth in our life; that one person who’s been by our side during the ups and downs of life.
For me, my husband is my Ruth. (Sorry Tim!) I’ve known him since I was 16. He’s been by my side as a friend, as a boyfriend, and as a spouse. Even before we started, I referred to him as my best friend, and he still is. He’s been with me through parental troubles, relationship troubles, work troubles, and everything in between. We’ve survived breakups and moves. I can’t imagine another person I’d like to travel down my life’s path with than him.
But the one thing we need to look for are the Orpah’s. That person who will turn their back on you when need them the most. This sounds harsh, but in a way true.
Although it’s important to value all friendships, it’s important to remember who the Orpah’s are and who the Ruth’s are. Make sure you identify those people who are in your life for the long haul and will stand by your side even when everything seems to be going down hill.
I have had a few Orpah’s in my life. (They shall remain nameless.) We’ve all had those friends who are there just because we happened to be in the same place. Friends in your class who you got to know over a semester and then never saw again or someone you saw only at work and were never a part of your personal life. I feel this was Orpah is the book of Ruth. She married into a family, and was friends with Naomi for this reason, but once her marriage was no longer their connection, she was gone.
I sometimes struggle with identifying “Orpah’s” and spend a lot of time developing these relationships only to find out they were “situational.” I need to identify more “Ruth’s” and begin to foster these friendships. I’d love more people who will be there in my life during all the happy moments and for when times get rough.
*On a side note, I can’t believe I wrote this whole post without spelling Oprah instead of Orpah! Go me!