200. NO TURNING BACK, NO TURNING BACK

(The Information & Edification Series – Batch 4)

I’ve been thinking lately, that I’m not prepared to compromise my beliefs and what I know to be true, for the sake of getting married. I want to marry and still have hope of having a family of my own, yes. However, I’ve realized that I want Jesus and the truth of his Word more. I’m not prepared to let go of any of God’s truth, in order to marry.

I therefore resolved that I cannot, for example, marry someone belonging to a purported Church denomination that holds and embraces without repentance, doctrines that I believe to be false, like those that are preoccupied with promotion, advancement, blessing and breakthrough, that preach that you can declare things in your power and bring it to pass by your power, that tell people that they are the head and not the tail but don’t let them know that that portion came from a scripture that was conditional on the Israelites being obedient and was followed by a series of curses that would befall them if they chose to disobey (Deuteronomy 28) and denominations that are in blatant and unrepentant disobedience to God’s Word by allowing women on their platforms, allowing them to teach, lead and even Pastor the congregation which includes men or otherwise usurping the authority of men.

I realize that my decision reduces the so-called ‘pool’ of possible suitors for me even further, as the Church I attend is quite small in size and I being somewhat of an introvert, I don’t socialize much. I realize this may mean having to give up my dream of marriage but I have weighed the cost. If it comes to that (although I am still believing God for a husband), I have resolved, that so be it. Jesus is more precious to me than having a man to spend my life with on earth.

I feel strongly about this, as I have observed Christian women who were courted by men from other denominations with questionable doctrines. These women then got married to those men, left their Churches for their husbands’ and I’m not convinced that today, their marriages and families are reflecting God’s glory. I refuse therefore, to let go of my walk with my Lord and the truths contained in his Word and to sacrifice this precious treasure for the sake of marriage. I don’t ever intend to let go of what I believe or to shove truth under the carpet, just so that I can walk down the aisle and say to society and those who have often nagged me about when I will be getting married, that I have finally made it and am married.

For me, marriage is honourable. It is something that I greatly desire but it is not an idol. It is not marriage at all costs with me, even to the point of letting go or compromising what I know to be true.

If I am to marry, my husband-to-be and I, while we will not see eye-to-eye on everything, MUST be agreed on the fundamentals. How else can we walk together? (Amos 3:3).

With eternity in view (after all, this life is temporary), this resolve to choose singleness over compromise (if it comes to that), so as to prevent my being led away (under the guise of marriage) with false doctrine, has remained on my mind even up to this morning.

I thought of some professing believers that I knew who were now married women, who left their denomination and embraced that of their husbands’. They have set up their household, some have even gone on to have children and to society and even many in the Church, they have won. They have made it! After all, they have attained the prize of marital status!

But have they really obtained a prize? And at what cost? Are their husbands truly dividing the Word of God rightly and washing them in water by that Word? Is he setting a good godly example in the home and outside of the home and is that family governed by leadership that embraces and submits to true doctrine? When God looks down is he pleased with that family and the practices of the Church that they now attend? Are they both still attending or has he since stopped?

For some women, theirs may have been a success story but for others, I am not so sure. One thing I’m sure of though is that by the grace of God and through his divine protection, I am NOT going down the road of doctrinal compromise. I hold my beliefs dear because I know them to be true and I refuse to align myself with a man who says he is a Christian but embraces strange doctrinal beliefs, strange music, strange practices and attends a Church that does the same.

I want no one but a God-sent and I am convinced that if God is sending me a man, it will be a man that will love, embrace, uphold and promote doctrinal truth, not undermine it and lead me down a path to compromise it. I know therefore, that unless God intervenes to bring me a husband, I will be remaining single forever. Its either HIS CHOICE or nothing. I will never wear a ring on my finger and get all dressed up in white and walk down that lovely aisle, unless God wills it and brings it to pass. For, only he knows the heart of man, so I cannot choose for myself. He must choose for me, orchestrate a meeting, put it into the heart of that man to pursue me and then cause me to make the same choice that he (God), has already made for me.

Having given that backdrop, this morning, at about some minutes after 9, I was busy on the computer trying to get some work done, while the Harbour Light Radio Station (which is daily turned on by my mother in the kitchen area) was playing.

There was a Pastor on and about to deliver a Sermon but I wasn’t really paying attention. However, when he turned to the book of Ruth and began reading that part of the story with the three widows: Orpah, Naomi the mother-in-law and Ruth and in particular, the part where Naomi tried to get Ruth to change her mind and to return to her native country Moab, a thought suddenly hit me. I therefore stopped what I was doing and started jotting it down, as I usually do when beautiful truths from God’s Word come to mind.

Ruth 1:1-18 reads:

  • “Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons. And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehemjudah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there.
  • And Elimelech Naomi’s husband died; and she was left, and her two sons. And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years. And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband. Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread.
  • Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah. And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, GO, RETURN EACH TO HER MOTHER’S HOUSE: the Lord deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me. The Lord grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept.
  • And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people. And Naomi said, TURN AGAIN, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? TURN AGAIN, my daughters, GO YOUR WAY; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons; Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord is gone out against me.
  • And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; BUT RUTH CLAVE UNTO HER. And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is GONE BACK UNTO HER PEOPLE, AND UNTO HER GODS: RETURN THOU after thy sister in law.
  • And Ruth said, INTREAT 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.
  • When she saw that SHE WAS STEDFASTLY MINDED TO GO WITH HER, then she left speaking unto her.”

It dawned on me (perhaps faintly before but very emphatically in the moment when the Pastor read these verses), that Moab represented the world and its ungodly system, whereas Judah and all that was associated with it, represented a faith walk through covenant with Jesus.

The world was where we started and had our navel strings, so-to-speak. For, we were all born in it as sinners, not knowing God and knowing only the world’s system. Like Moab was the place of Ruth’s upbringing therefore, the world is where we started.

When Naomi, looking at the prospects for Orpah and Ruth’s life and anticipating the difficulties ahead for her own, raised an earthly case as to why her widowed daughters-in-law should return to Moab, as enticing as her argument may have seemed, Ruth was resolute in her decision. Orpah gave in to the pressure, apparently thought on her future, considered where Naomi was going to be too difficult a path and returned to Moab. Yet, standing alone in her decision, Ruth refused to do so.

She understood full well that going forward with Naomi to a place that she had never been and with a whole different culture, meant embracing a whole lot of uncertainty. She understood that it most likely meant that she would have to resign herself to a life of perpetual singleness, no children, financial difficulties because there was no male breadwinner, dangers and poverty. However, considering the cost and the sacrifice that would be required, knowing full well what she would be giving up, she made up her mind to go the path of Naomi and to serve the true and living God which she served, no matter what. For, her love, respect and devotion to her mother-in-law Naomi was greater than her desire for a family of her own.

Similarly, although we are born into the world and its ungodly system, we must all make a choice as to whether we will turn our backs on it and follow Jesus. We must determine if we love him enough to leave it all behind.

Even after we have made that choice and commenced our walk with him, there are things that will happen in our lives: Heartache, disappointment, rejection from opportunities, pain, persecution, adversities and mishaps of all sorts. When these things come (as they surely will), in our pain, we must consider whether to continue on with the Lord or go back into the world’s system. We have a choice to go the way of the cross (which will involve suffering) or to go back to the world, where there are seemingly many allures, pleasures, comforts and opportunities for self advancement.

In fact, people will tell us that if we continue on with the Lord and stick with his rules, that if we refuse to budge or to compromise just a little, that we will lose out in the end. They may think that we are crazy for choosing the path that we have and for turning our backs on the world forever. They may look at us as people that could have had so much potential, could have reached so far, could have acquired so much of what the world had to offer, if only we had not chosen Christ.

For example, they may say or think, that if we continue on with the Lord and insist on obeying his Word, like the one that commands that we are not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers, that this will significantly reduce the pool of men available to us and that, the path that we are determined to take, may well result in us ending up single forever. They may think, even as Naomi must have thought of Ruth’s decision: How foolish! To deprive themselves of a family of their own and instead, confine themselves to a path of loneliness!

Of course pursuing Jesus and his path of righteousness is the most beautiful thing that we could ever do for ourselves but they don’t see it that way. Blinded by the world’s deceptive shades, they will tell us, that pursuing after Jesus and not turning back, will reduce our employment prospects, as there will be many jobs that we cannot accept and some that we may even have to leave, so as to not compromise. They will tell us that this path will not be good for our pockets, our bank account, our status or our progression in life and that to serve Jesus without wavering, while turning our back on the pleasures of the world, means that we are signing up for a life of difficulty, poverty and possibly singleness.

YET, the Word of God says, “Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right” (Proverbs 16:8). Proverbs 19:1 also reminds me that “Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips and is a fool.” Psalm 37:25 also states, ” I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”

When we pursue Jesus and stay on his path of righteousness, he never abandons us but provides supernaturally for us, even as he did for Ruth and Naomi when they were in Judah. We may not have riches but he provides sufficiently for our needs and sometimes, he blows our mind with his provision by going beyond and exceeding abundantly, what we could have ever thought or imagined (Ephesians 3:20).

Like Paul in the Bible, we therefore state, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2) and “…God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom THE WORLD IS CRUCIFIED UNTO ME, and I unto the world.” (Galatians 6:14)

Yes, this covenant that God’s children have with him through Jesus Christ, means that this world and all its wiles are CRUCIFIED unto us and we unto it. We may have been tempted to go back and there were even times when we may have slipped but now, we are at that point where we have made up our minds and we are resolved to follow Jesus to the end.

We realize the cost. It is a path that comes with much ridicule from others but as the song we’ve sung of old goes: “I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back. The world behind me the cross before me, no turning back, no turning back!”

Come what may, we are NOT turning back. Whatever may be our portion, we will face it head on with the Lord. If we lose out on marrying and having children, then so be it. God is able to provide but if he doesn’t, then so be it. If we end up limiting our revenue making ability, then so be it. If we are laughed, scorned and condemned for our actions or thought to be utterly foolish and wasting our lives, THEN SO BE IT!

HE is worth it. No turning back. Absolutely no turning back!

(Written on 19th October, 2021)

ADDENDUM

Having written the above Article in points this morning, tonight, at around 11.00 p.m., I was listening to Caribbean Radio Lighthouse from my laptop, half asleep, half awake, when the topic for a Sermon that was about to be aired, caught my attention. It was by Dr. Kevin Schaal of Northwest Valley Baptist Church and he suddenly mentioned Ruth, entitling his Sermon: ‘COUNT THE COST BEFORE TAKING THE RISK’.

My ears immediately perked up and I could hardly believe it. For the past few days, I seemed to be hearing some aspect of the story of Ruth and Boaz being preached over and over again by different teachers. This was about the fourth time in the space of a few days!

Maybe it was not a big deal but having experienced how my God has operated in the past, I wondered what he was up to now. I had not a clue but I did not think this ongoing theme to be coincidental.

The Pastor read Ruth 4:1-13 and centred his Sermon not on Ruth but on the conversation with Boaz and the kinsman, that was nearer to Naomi than Boaz. He said that Boaz counted the cost of buying Naomi’s land and taking Ruth as his wife in the process and he decided to marry her, thinking it a privilege. He also spent time discussing the kinsman who had refused to marry Ruth, stating that he too had counted the cost and refused to take the risk.

The scripture reads:

  • “Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat him down there: and, behold, the kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by; unto whom he said, Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down. And he took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, Sit ye down here. And they sat down.
  • And he said unto the kinsman, Naomi, that is come again out of the country of Moab, selleth a parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech’s: And I thought to advertise thee, saying, Buy it before the inhabitants, and before the elders of my people. If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it: but if thou wilt not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know: for there is none to redeem it beside thee; and I am after thee. And he said, I will redeem it.
  • Then said Boaz, What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance. And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it.
  • Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbour: and this was a testimony in Israel. Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy it for thee. So he drew off his shoe.
  • And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people, Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, of the hand of Naomi. Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day.
  • And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are witnesses. The Lord make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel: and do thou worthily in Ephratah, and be famous in Bethlehem: And let thy house be like the house of Pharez, whom Tamar bare unto Judah, of the seed which the Lord shall give thee of this young woman.
  • So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the Lord gave her conception, and she bare a son.”

I found the Sermon online (it was apparently initially preached two days earlier and recorded on the Church’s Website) and so I searched for a specific statement that the Pastor had made, to share here. He spoke of how the world hates taking risks and have even developed strategies and mechanisms to avert or avoid risk, as much as possible.

He also considered the possible thinking of the kinsman that was closer than Boaz and Boaz himself, as they both evaluated the cost (against the benefit) of taking the risk to purchase Naomi’s land and marry Ruth. Based on this, there are lessons and comparisons that can be drawn in our own Christian faith walk.

The Pastor stated:

  • “A Christian that is committed to Jesus Christ, will take risks. Service, a life of service to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, demands that we take what we call (on the Christian side of it), steps of faith, what they call out there in the world…risks….
  • The cost of the risk is the loss of the earthly thing. I might lose my inheritance. I’ll put my inheritance in jeopardy. Maybe its the loss of personal comfort…Or maybe its the loss of personal status or the loss of present safety.
  • Whatever the loss is, when we take that risk for Christ, there is some kind of loss. Either loss of income, loss of finances, loss of time, loss of prestige, loss of personal pleasures. Whatever it is, when we’re counting the cost, this is the potential of what I might have to give up for Christ…
  • There is another type of loss. (There) is the loss associated with the risk but there is also a potential loss in playing it safe. What’s that loss? The loss of (not) being in God’s will and the present blessings that go along with that….What about the risk of not being in God’s will? What about the risk of feeling like you can’t ask God’s blessing on your personal finances because you walk in disobedience…What about the loss of the intangible joy of being a blessing to others?…The loss of a future reward?
  • For really, it comes down to OBEDIENCE: Taking a step of faith associated with obedience. And we have no idea, the ramifications of that obedience in the future.
  • Boaz had no idea that taking Ruth to be his wife would result in Ruth becoming the great grandmother of king David, through whose line the Messiah would come one day. He had no idea of this, this big, eternal picture. That wasn’t in his thinking at the point (that) he’s making this particular decision.
  • Do you understand, that the most important decisions that you make in your lives are being made in a particular point in time, sometimes every day, yet they can have eternal ramifications? Determine your motivation. Count the cost. Make a commitment.”

CONCLUSION

In summary, I think the very words of Jesus in Luke 15:26-33, sum up the whole issue of counting the cost before making a decision, like Naomi’s nearest kinsman and Boaz did and as Ruth did when she decided to not go back to her parents’ house and to her homeland in Moab but to forsake them all and the prospect of a husband and children, so as to be with Naomi and to serve her God.

Of counting the cost in following him, Jesus said:

  • “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
  • For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and COUNTETH THE COST, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.
  • So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.”

(Addendum started late on 19th October, 2021 and completed in the wee hours of the next day)

FINAL ADDENDUM

This morning, I turned to a random portion of scripture and read Philippians 3. In this scripture, some of what Paul wrote to the saints at Philippi, resonates with the theme of the above Article, of not turning back and counting the cost of moving forward with Jesus.

Speaking of his earthly accolades, upbringing, influence and position and how (like Ruth who counted the cost of going to Judah and turning her back on a life of earthly comfort in Moab), he willingly gave up all of that as futile so that he could follow Jesus, who was far more precious, Paul stated:

  • “Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. BUT WHAT THINGS WERE GAIN TO ME, THOSE I COUNTED LOSS FOR CHRIST. Yea doubtless, and I COUNT ALL THINGS BUT LOSS FOR THE EXCELLENCY OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST JESUS MY LORD: FOR WHOM I HAVE SUFFERED THE LOSS OF ALL THINGS, AND DO COUNT THEM BUT DUNG, THAT I MAY WIN CHRIST…
  • but this one thing I do, FORGETTING THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE BEHIND, and REACHING FORTH UNTO THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE BEFORE, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:5-8,13-14)

Paul then encouraged his fellow believers to adopt a similar mentality and perspective, telling them in verse 15, “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded…”. Even as he told the saints at Colosse in Colossians 3:2, his call to the body of Christ was to “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” For, he knew, as Jesus had pointed out to his disciples earlier on, that, “…where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21)

(Final Addendum written on 22nd October, 2021)

Dear Reader, if you found the above Article to be interesting, informative, edifying or beneficial, you may also be interested in reading the following:

  • Note 38 – ‘Blessings – When We Refuse To Let Go’
  • Note 316 – ‘Married, At What Cost?’

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *