And again they wept together, and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye. But Ruth clung tightly to Naomi. “Look,” Naomi said to her, “your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods. You should do the same.
Ruth became resolved despite Naomi repeatedly urging her to leave her. Orpah on the other hand, after a little resistance turned back.
I think it's important to remember how critical crossroads are:
"Crossroads represent a place of decision. The plan of the enemy is to keep believers stuck at spiritual crossroads so they will not know the way to go in life... The enemy loves to confuse us at the crossroads of life so we'll go in a direction that's contrary to the will of God for our lives."
Kimberly Daniels, Breaking the Power of Familiar Spirits
I read Ruth 1, and I wonder why Orpah turned back but Ruth stayed with Naomi... Why was Orpah's commitment not as firm as Ruth's?
Maybe Orpah forgot to count the cost.
“But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’
'But Ruth clung tightly to Naomi.'
Bonding is required for our destiny, a deep level of commitment not only to people in our lives, but to the dream God has for our life.
At some point, we need to come into agreement with the plans God has for us within our own hearts and souls.
We need to become like Ruth.
But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!” When Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said nothing more.
Ruth was determined.
That word in Hebrew is AMES means to be strong, alert, stout, solid. It can also mean to be steadfastly minded or to be strong in the feet, swift-footed.
It's the same word for 'courage' that Moses used time after time as he charged his successor, Joshua, who was preparing to take his place of leadership.
So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
In fact, "be strong and courageous" is repeated at least 7 times to Joshua during the time of his transition to leadership.
'Be strong' is HAZAQ in Hebrew, which means to bind bonds strongly, to be constant or earnest, to be urgent, or to make firm.
It is as if God was saying:
Bind yourself firmly to this promise I give you this day Joshua. Firmly settle it so your heart will be secure and strengthened, and your feet will be swift to run. Settle any doubts, hesitancies and fears now. You can't bring that into conquering the territory. Spirits of fear will attract defeat. Make a firm decision to agree with the word and charge I give you this day to go forward and lead my people. For the promise I gave their fathers will become fulfilled through you. Be strong Joshua. Be courageous. Be firmly determined in you heart and decided in you mind that you'll not only go forward, but that you will win. Because it's already written.
If you've walked with God long enough, you will learn you can't even trust your own resolve. Truly, we can't do it on our own. Even in this, God help ups.
Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!
Psalm 27:14 NKJV
'Strengthen' here is AMES.
What does this all mean?
As we wait before Him, and spend time with Him, He will strengthen our hearts. He can bring them to a place of wholeness, and calmness and peace. He can slay double mindedness and doubt. He can bring us to a place of acceptance of His word and His will and belief in what he said. A place of willingness that we can say come what may, I won't leave you, a Ruth. A place where we make our vows, and fulfill them.