Both of them had an affection for Naomi and therefore set out with her upon her return to the land of Judah. But the test came: Naomi unselfishly set before both of them the trials that awaited them and encouraged them if they cared for ease and comfort to return to their friends in Moab.
At first both of them declared that they would take their stand with the Lord's people; but upon further consideration Orpah with much grief and a respectful kiss left her mother-in-law, and her people and her God, and went back to her idolatrous friends, while Ruth with all her heart gave herself up to the God of her mother-in-law.
It is one thing to love the ways of the Lord when all is fair, and quite another to hold to them in the face of discouragements and difficulties. The kiss of outward profession is very cheap and easy, but the practical clinging to the Lord, which must show itself in holy devotion to truth and holiness, is no small matter.
How do things stands with us? Is our heart fixed on Jesus, our body a living sacrifice? Have we counted the cost, and are we solemnly ready to suffer the loss of all things for the Master's sake? The ultimate gain will be an abundant provision, for the treasures of Egypt do not compare with the glory to be revealed.
Orpah fades from view; in glorious ease and idolatrous pleasure her life melts into the gloom of death. But Ruth lives on in history and in heaven, for grace has placed her in the noble line that produced the King of kings.
Blessed among women will be those who for Christ's sake renounce all; but forgotten, and worse than forgotten, will be those who in the hour of temptation violate their conscience and turn back to the world. This morning let us not be content with the form of devotion, which may be no better than Orpah's kiss, but may the Holy Spirit work in us a clinging of our whole heart to the Lord Jesus.