11 But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? 12 Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons— 13 would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!”
Naomi continues to encourage her daughters in law to stay in Moab. She laments her circumstance and the lack of any sort of future she perceives exists in their coming along with her. She believes the Lord’s hand has turned against her. She is in a dark and lonely place.
Weeping aloud, the two girls listen to her hopeless words.
Naomi believes she is unworthy; she has nothing to give these girls she loves – the remnants of her broken family.
Ruth and Orpah seem to have an easy choice. They can stay in Moab with their support system and a hope for a better future…or they can go with their mother in law to an unknown place with absolutely nothing; no money, no husband, no child, no heritage, and no idea what will happen.
Full of tears, Orpah chose to stay. The sacrifice is too much. She loves Naomi, but she isn’t willing to follow her. Perhaps this is exactly where God wanted her to be. Perhaps God’s plans for Orpah are in Moab. We never hear where her story goes.
Ruth, on the other hand, decides to stick with Naomi. She simply can’t leave her. She chooses not to take the easy route, but instead risk the familiar of home to remain side-by-side, hand-in-hand with her mother-in-law. Ruth loved her for more than what was taken from her, and saw that she was in a despairing place and needed comfort.
Ruth doesn’t know it yet – we never really know what the future will hold – but God has plans for Ruth in a little town called Bethlehem. Plans that will blow her away and surpass anything she could have hoped for back in Moab.
Loyal, compassionate, and full of sorrow, Ruth clings to Naomi.
What do you think made Orpah stay and Ruth decide to go?
How do you generally decide when to stay or when to go?