Have we not many Orpahs?

(Horatius Bonar, "The Kiss of the Backslider")

"Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye. But
 Ruth insisted on staying with Naomi."  Ruth 1:14

Orpah was not prepared to leave Moab.

The ties between her and it were still unbroken, though
for a time a little loosened. Moab was still Moab to her,
the home of her kindred, the center of her affections,
the dwelling place of her gods.

Thus millions are not ready to leave the world,
though often in some measure broken from it.

They cling to their old haunts of...
  lust, or

They cannot think of forsaking these.

No, they soothe their consciences with the argument,
that it would not be right to break off from all these.
To them the world is still the world; attractive and
excellent. They cannot think of crucifying it, or
themselves to it. They have been born in it, lived in
it, their friends are in it; why should they leave it?

Their hearts are still here, their treasure is here;
and they linger in it, though at times they feel the
necessity of leaving it.

What would life be to them without the novel or the
ballroom, the theater, the gay assembly, the banquet,
the revel, the folly, the wine cup, and the song?

For the sake of Moab, Orpah was willing to part with
Naomi. She was not without longings after Naomi
and her city, and her kindred, and her God. But her
old longings and ties kept her back, and in the end
prevailed. Yet she wished to part in peace, to bid a
decent farewell to her mother in law. She kissed
that she might not cleave. Her kiss was a farewell;
a farewell to Naomi, her land, and her God.

Have we not many Orpahs?

They would sincerely have both Israel and Moab.

They would rather not part with either.

Their heart is divided.

They would sincerely cast in their lot with
God's people, and obtain their inheritance.

They are not scoffers.

They are not openly godless.

They are not reckless pleasure seekers.

But half and half Christians, or rather not so much.

They would be religious up to a certain point;
to the point when a choice must be made; and
then their heart speaks out.

They give up Christ, and turn back to the world.

Yet they do so quietly, as it were, and kindly.

They kiss at parting; but will that kiss avail them?

Will God accept the kiss as an excuse for turning
back, or as a substitute for the whole hearted
service which He desires?

God will not accept the divided heart.

He abhors vacillation and compromise.

If you prefer Moab, go dwell there!

Enjoy its pleasures, and worship its gods!

If you choose Israel, pitch your tent
there, and take Jehovah for your all.

"Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye. But
 Ruth insisted on staying with Naomi."  Ruth 1:14