Kissing or Cleaving?

Pastor Meyers

Ruth 1:11-14 And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? 12 Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons; 13 Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD is gone out against me. 14 And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.

The story presented in the book of Ruth is one that is well known to us. It's a story of a lack of faith by a man named Elimelech and his wife Naomi. In a time of famine, Elimelech takes his family down to Moab, something that was commanded by God not to be done. While they are living there, he dies. Afterward his sons get married to two Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth. In the course of time both of the sons die leaving Naomi and her daughters-in-law alone.

In the process of time Naomi comes to understand that the famine is over in her homeland. She decides that it is time to finally go home. She has been decimated by the loss of her husband and sons. They had originally left in a time of famine to go to a place of plenty and she is now going home empty. She then speaks to her two daughters-in-law encouraging them to go back to their homes. She has in her estimation nothing to offer them, but the hard life of widowhood.

Initially both of the daughters-in-law agree to go back with her. But as she presses them to stay back the two make their decisions. The decisions were verified by their actions toward Naomi. Their decisions were quite different one from the other. The Bible tells us that Orpah kissed her mother-in-law and then went home, while Ruth clave unto her and stayed. One was willing to commit to staying with her mother-in-law, going through the good times as well as the bad, while the other made an emotional gesture and then went on her merry way.

There was a depth of relationship in Ruth that caused her to cleave to her mother-in-law while there was a shallowness in the relationship of Orpah that caused her to kiss and move on. There was a commitment to action in the relationship of Ruth to her mother-in-law, and a shallowness of emotion that caused Orpah to go home. Both of them were daughters-in-law and had the same legal relationship with Naomi, but they didn't both have the same commitment to her.

The point that can very easily be applied to our relationship with Christ is are we a kisser or a cleaver? Do we have an emotional relationship and yet move on quickly, or are we concentrated and stick it out through good times and bad? Is there a depth of commitment to our walk with God or just an occasional visitation? Are we committed to action through our obedience to God, or do we just follow our emotions and are doubleminded? Are we just saved and on our way to heaven, or are we striving to be sanctified in the daily life in which we live?

The name of our blog is Direction for Disciples. Far too many Christians are satisfied with salvation while neglecting to be a disciple. Those who are saved without striving to live the life of a disciple are kissers. Those who are saved and are committed to living the life of a disciple are cleavers. Too many are satisfied with living the life of faith by their emotions and not by their actions. Emotions are fine, but they change at the drop of a hat. It takes a life of commitment to be one who will cleave to Christ from the day of their salvation to the day of their homegoing. I hope we would choose to be like Ruth and not like Orpah.

Pastor Meyers

Pastor and his wife, Alma, have seven children—Jessica, Allison, Stephen, Hannah, Jack, Josiah, and Emily. They also have 12 grandchildren.

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