by Ivor Powell

The Widow...who Made Up Her Mind
Ivor Powell
Ruth 1:16-17

Along time ago three women quietly wept in a cemetery; each looked at the grave of her husband. Naomi had her memories, Orpah, her misery, and Ruth, her musing. They were about to make their greatest decision. Naomi was determined, Orpah was doubtful, Ruth was deciding, and God was waiting and watching.

Naomi with Her Memories

For years circumstances had been difficult, and they were getting worse. Recurring famines in Bethlehem had destroyed the faith of Elimelech, and hoping to prosper in Moab, he took his family from their homeland to reside in an alien land. The struggle had been long and grim, and eventually Naomi's husband died and was buried in Moab.

Orpah with Her Misery

This young woman married Naomi's son, Mahlon. It must have been love at first sight, for intermarriage between the two nations was not encouraged. Her dreams of happiness were shattered when she became a widow. Her world became empty, and she was troubled by the news of Naomi's intention to return to Bethlehem. Of course, she would accompany her- but!

Ruth with Her Musing

She also lost her husband, but a new faith was beginning to fill her soul. Chilion had died, but his mother remained. Life as a widow would be difficult, but without her mother- in-law it would be impossible. The three women shared their sorrows but then, taking a last look at the graves, commenced their journey to Bethlehem.

Somewhere close to the border of Moab, Naomi paused to counsel her companions. She was elderly; the girls were young, attractive, and desirable. They were loyal, but had no future in Israel: Girls, go home. Return to your families; maybe you will find new husbands and raise families. Unfortunately, I am unable to help you. They wept together on the dusty road before Orpah returned to her people. Ruth refused to accept Naomi's advice; her thrilling reply may be considered under six headings.

A Resolute Decision . . . ...

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