The Lord keeps close watch over the whole world, to give strength to those whose hearts are loyal to him.
2 Chronicles 16:9
God is looking for a loyal generation.
As He advanced closer towards the cross, Jesus withdrew further from the large demanding crowds and devoted more time with His disciples. It was during this time of covenantal commitment with His disciples that Christianity was established. There was the one who kissed His cheek but betrayed Him for money. And then there was the one who denied Him at first but went on to become one of the leading forerunners of the Christian faith.
Are you a Kisser or a Cleaver?
Bible passage: Ruth 1:1-17
In a time where the economy was recuperating, a certain Naomi had unfortunately lost both her sons and husband. Having nothing left for her in Moab, she decides to balik kampung for good to Judah. Unable to provide any more sons for her two widowed daughter-in-laws; Ruth and Orpah, she gives them leave to return to their own mothers, holding nothing against them.
At this they wept aloud again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her.
The difference between the two is a Kisser will say goodbye, but a Cleaver will stay loyal despite inconveniences.
The Kiss-or-Cleave response in every relationship will be tested at one point or another. No relationship, discipleship included, is real until it has stood the test of loyalty.
This test will come under 4 considerations:
Every major relationship breakdown (Between spouses, friends, colleagues, siblings, etc.) has had money play a part. Bear in mind women were not bread winners during Ruth’s time and even more so with Naomi and her being widows.
Jews and Moabites were enemies by culture at the time. Would Ruth be loyal to someone her background taught her to hate?
3) Crisis of faith
With both her husband and children dead, could Naomi keep the words “Where is God?!” from being uttered upon her lips? Could Ruth choose to stay loyal with Naomi in a land that served a God who had allowed the life of her husband to be taken away and threatened to leave her mother-in-law desolate?
4) Stress of Criticism
Loyalty meant that Ruth had to be in a place where the chances of her not fitting in comfortably with her surrounding was a high possibility.
But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”
Interesting fact: The part of the wedding vows that go, “Till death do us part” is actually inspired by this verse.
What could possibly drive Ruth to that kind of loyalty?
Genuine love is built on a covenant that will never say goodbye.
Rev Dr Kong Hee
That’s what makes the difference between fair-weather friends and loyal ones.
In the face of uncertainty of a foreign land, distance from the familiar, no guarantee of a husband or financial security, Orpah had more to lose than gain by being with her mother-in-law. It just made more sense to kiss and leave.
Side note: Did anyone else notice the moment she walked out her name does not appear in the bible ever again?
We backslide, lose our patience, lose our passion and spitefully ignite God’s jealousy by worshipping idols. Sometimes our journey with God gets to a point it just makes more sense to walk away in the opposite direction; it’s just easier to leave. But
If we are faithless,
He remains faithful;
He cannot deny Himself.
2 Timothy 2:13
Ruth goes on to remarry a powerful man and becomes the ancestor of King David; the greatest king to have walked the earth.
Orpah is said to have remarried as well, becoming the ancestor of Goliath, King David’s greatest enemy.
Life’s ironic. Nuff’ said.
Interesting fact: Television host Oprah Winfrey was named after Orpah at birth, but her family and friends’ inability to pronounce “Orpah” caused them to put the “P” before the “R” in every place else other than the birth certificate.
Inspired by Reverend Dr Kong Hee
The finale of the conference was everything it was cracked up to be. Maybe even more.
I hope those of you from HGC reading this post have been blessed.
Camp was. Sigh. Awesome.
Thinking of: Go West’s Faithful, Pirates of the Carribean: On stranger Tides and how unpredictably beautiful camp was.