“Now they took wives of the women of Moab: the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth. And they dwelt there about ten years.” Ruth 1:4
When I was briefly a Bible teacher at an Adventist boarding school one of the things I tried to do, in addition to my teaching responsibilities, was to talk to any senior students that I thought might have leadership capabilities and to counsel them to be careful about the influence they might have on those that were following them.
So many times I’ve seen it in churches, and other groups, that there are individuals who have a tremendous influence on others and are unaware of the impact they have, or could have, on other peoples lives simply because others are looking to them to follow them. This can lead to a lot of confusion and fruitless effort simply because the leader is u aware and therefore not intentional in their leadership.
One young man at first scoffed at the idea that he was a leader but later confessed that he thought that I might be right. Then he revealed that he was afraid of being a leader because he was afraid of leading others astray.
My answer to him was one of those times where I know that God was the one speaking, because I’d never thought or heard those words before and they were just the right words. I told him, “Just remember, you only lead people where you’re already going.”
Elimelech, exerted great influence over his sons. Such that even years after he’d died they continued to follow his example and the course that he’d charted for himself and for them.
Moab became their home. They took wives from the women of Moab. Mahlon married a woman name Ruth, whose name means “friend”, and she was a good wife to him, and a good daughter in law to Naomi. Chilion also married and his wife was named Orpah, and, since I’ve given you the meaning of everyone else’s name, her name appears to have meant “long hair.”
But that path that Elimelech had charted, and had hoped would give his family security, continued to bring them only death. Both Mahlon and Chilion also died leaving all three women widowed and penniless.
As we make choices we need to be careful and prayerful. Those choices will either lead us toward the blessings God wants to give us or away from them. We’ll bear the direct results of those decisions, and our families and any others that follow us will also bear the impact as well. We need to be careful where we’re going. We need to be careful who we’re following. We need to make sure that before anyone or anything else we’re following the course that Jesus is calling us to follow. If we do this we’ll always be sure of one thing. We’ll always be with Jesus.