The great idol!
(George Everard, "Backwards or Forwards — Which?" 1882)
"Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye. But Ruth clung tightly to Naomi." Ruth 1:14
If you are faithful, if you live godly in Christ Jesus — you will find that the reproach of the cross has not yet ceased. In some shape or other, you will have to bear this burden for Him, who bore the terrible burden of your sin.
Orpah was unwilling to give up the idols of Moab — Baal, Ashtareth, and the like. She preferred them, to the thrice holy Jehovah whom Naomi worshiped.
With the professor now, as with Orpah then, it is no easy thing to give up the idols which hitherto have reigned in the heart. Bear in mind that . . .
whatever you love best,
whatever eclipses the Sun of Righteousness in your soul,
whatever rules on the throne of the inner man
— that is your idol, that is your God!
With Lot's wife, it was the society of Sodom.
With Balaam, it was Balak's silver and gold.
With the young ruler, it was his "great possessions."
With Demas, it was "this present evil world."
With you it may be one or other of these, or it may be something widely different. It may be . . .
a friend or a relation,
success in a lawful calling,
the comfort of your own happy fireside,
the praise of man, or
some of the varied pleasures which the world offers.
But there is one idol more hard to part with than all these — I mean the great idol SELF! Self, in its thousand shapes, is ever claiming the first place in our hearts. Self-love, self-will, self-wisdom, self-importance, self-righteousness — all these are not easily cast out, and rise again and again to re-assert their power!
Be assured, my reader, that if any of these are uppermost, the day will most likely come that you will very plainly renounce that Savior whom you profess to have chosen. Or if you should carry the name of Christian even to the end — yet you are not Christ's. He reckons you not one of His. You have not chosen that good part which can never be taken from you. He has said, "Whoever does not forsake all that he has — he cannot be My disciple." Luke 14:33. That is, unless Christ is so preeminent in your affections, that you are willing to forsake all, even life itself, when it comes into competition with Him — you cannot be numbered among those who follow Him.