Ready or Resistant?
‘Tis the season of CHANGE! We either love it or not, but, one thing life promises? Is sometime there will be change. Personally, I like change – good, positive changes. I realize we have talked about Ruth before but today we are going to go in a different direction. Ready? Let’s go!
Am I an Orpah or a Ruth?
Then they wept aloud again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law [good-bye], but Ruth clung to her. Ruth 1.14
Are you, am I, an Orpah or a Ruth? The Old Testament book of Ruth is a study in Life Change 101. Do we welcome change, or, are we resistant to it? The God we serve is a never-changing God – His Word states that in Hebrews 13.8; however, He will require changes in us and for us.
Naomi and Ruth Experience Change
Look at Naomi and Ruth. Naomi experienced change in many forms. A Jewish woman with a Jewish husband and two sons lived in Bethlehem (land of bread) Judah until a famine struck the land; Naomi’s husband, Elimelech moved his family to Moab, a pagan country. The two sons married Moabite women, and after (perhaps) just a little time passed Elimelech died and following his death, the two sons died. Naomi’s life radically changed, in what is thought, a fairly brief period of time.
Talk About Change
Naomi found herself alone in a pagan country without family or friends. She had heard rumors that the famine in Bethlehem Judah had ended and she decided to go home. Naomi and her two daughters-in-law began their journey – but soon after they began walking Naomi must have thought, Why ruin their lives? I have no more sons and I am too old to have more sons. She insisted that Orpah and Ruth return to their own mother’s homes. No, no, we will go with you, they said. But Naomi was unrelenting in her request. Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye and Ruth hung on to her.
This is where the rubber met the road for Ruth. This was her crossroad – her crisis of belief so to speak. Understand, Orpah may have embraced her husband’s faith for a little while, but when the going got tough? She fled back to her old life. Ruth, on the other hand, not only embraced her husband’s faith but now she chose to ‘go all the way.’
Don’t make me go back, Naomi, to those other gods…to my old life. I will follow you wherever you go. Your people will become my people. Your God will be mine.”
It didn’t matter the hardships Ruth would face or the rejection she would encounter – she was determined to go.
Are We Willing?
The Word of God meets us where we live. There is nothing old-fashioned or outdated about it. It challenges us, motivates us, and CHANGES us IF we allow it. Does God want to bring change into our lives? Absolutely! He is into “new things” – read Isaiah 43.18-19. Are we ready? Are we willing to accept the change?
Several principles come to mind.
- Do I have a teachable spirit?
- Am I submitted to the authorities that God has placed over me?
- How can God change me if I’m stubborn and immovable?
- Am I faithful to do the small things He has asked of me?
If I am not faithful in the small things, I shouldn’t be surprised or disappointed when He doesn’t give me big responsibilities. Many of us see ourselves as leaders in a big ministry – yet we cannot even get to worship service on time. Why would God entrust me with a ministry?
What type of clay am I made of? Study Jeremiah 18.1-6 and decide for yourself. The Potter can only work with moist, pliable clay – forming it into the vessel of honor for HIS use. If we are hard clumps of clay, The Potter has the ability, and the authority, to squeeze submission into our dry clay. And, ONLY The Potter has the authority to decide what the clay is formed into. Some of us desire to be the awesomely beautiful bread dish on the communion table – the dish that everyone sees and admires in reverence, yet, The Potter has planned for us to be a soap dish in the restroom. The dish that gets all gooey and no one notices its appearance when they plop the bar of soap into it.
Ruth didn’t give her future a second thought – she wanted to follow Yahweh, wherever He led her. And, wouldn’t you know it – because she was ready and willing to change, the God of Israel walked her right into the blessing of a lifetime and into the lineage of Jesus Christ, Yeshua the Messiah.
Change…Are We Ready or Resistant?
This is the first in a series of teachings I taught in Women’s Ministry 2001-2002.