She had seen something—something which moved and stirred her to lay hold, to leave her heritage and relatives, and to invest in that which lay under the wings of God.
“And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.” (Ruth 1:14)
They all wept. Orpah kissed, but Ruth clave. What a difference between the kiss and the cleaving! There were no hard words, no hard feelings, when Orpah left. The parting was friendly and affectionate. But it was a parting all the same.
“The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.” (Ruth 2:12) Boaz stated the difference between the way that Orpah took and the way that Ruth took. The one trusted, the other did not. The one found herself under the wings of the Lord God of Israel, while the other found herself under the wings of her father and mother. What an enormous difference! The God of Israel meant something to Orpah, but it meant everything to Ruth. So she clave.
The word clave is exceedingly powerful. It is not a common, everyday word, nor is it a common, everyday occurrence in the common things of life. We find the word clave in the Bible in description of King Hezekiah. “He clave to the Lord, and departed not from following him.” (2 Kings 18:6) In Acts 17:34, we read of some in Athens who escaped the philosophies and idolatries of the city. They were just a few, but they “clave” to Paul. In Matthew 19:5, the word cleave is used to describe how a man should be joined unto his wife. The word could be used to describe the actions of Jacob when wrestling with the angel, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.” (Genesis 32:26)
And so it was with Ruth. She had seen something—something which moved and stirred her to lay hold, to leave her heritage and relatives, and to invest in that which lay under the wings of God. Now she could have followed the mind of Orpah. She could have reasoned that God loved her people, too. (He did.) She could have reasoned that God worked in Moab as well as in Israel; that He was fair with everyone and merciful. She could have concluded that God works outside of His wings as well as under. And she would have been correct; He does. But she wanted more. She wanted the best of what God had, so she ventured all that she had. She clung to her mother-in-law, and she said, “Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.” (Ruth 1:16-17)
With Orpah, the God of Israel was preference; but with Ruth, the God of Israel was all that there was. She was in it for life. She had “enlisted in the service”* (of God) until she died. She would no more leave Naomi than Elisha would leave Elijah (2 Ki. 2). Argument on this point was a waste of time with Ruth. Her heart was fixed. She shut out the memory of where she had been in Moab, and set herself to go to a people strange to her, who were the people of God. It had to be this way. “And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.” (Hebrews 11:15) This is the language of consecration. It shuts out everything else that does not fit in the cleaving. The effect of the singleness of eye is the Lord’s recompense and full reward. The gain is worth the pain.
“Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:42)