'...for those who honour me I will honour, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed.'
1 Samuel 2:30
Quite often it takes me a considerable amount of time to make a choice. Even something as simple as choosing what cereal to have for breakfast. When making choices, big or small, about how we live, it comes down to two options:
a) make a choice which obeys and follows God
b) make a choice which disobeys and turns away from God
It's as simple as that. You've been given the choice.
The book of Ruth, found in the Old Testament of the Bible, gives us an example of what it's like to choose between these two options. The book begins with the family of Elimelech, his wife Naomi and their two sons, Mahlon and Kilion. There is a famine in their home country of Bethlehem forcing Elimelech and his family to Moab. Elimelech dies and Naomi is left with her two sons, who marry two Moabite girls, Orpah and Ruth. Later both of her sons die and Naomi is left alone with Orpah and Ruth in a strange land. Naomi decides to return to Bethlehem when she hears the Lord is providing food there. It is now time for Orpah and Ruth to make their choice (Ruth 1:11-17). Their options:
a) make a choice which obeys and follows God ~ go with Naomi, look after her, go to Bethlehem where the one true God is worshipped
b) make a choice which disobeys and turns away from God ~ return back to Moab their home country where false gods are worshipped and leave Naomi alone
Ruth chose option (a) and Orpah chose option (b). Interestingly, we don't hear anything more about Orpah after she returns to Moab but we do hear about Ruth.
Let's jump to another verse for a second.
Ruth chose to follow God, she chose to honour Him. The rest of the book of Ruth tells of how God honoured her. God brings Boaz into her life who becomes her husband. God provides food and money to look after and support Ruth and Naomi through Boaz. God gives Ruth a son named Obed and Ruth gets to be part of the family line of the Saviour of the world - Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:5). Just as the verse in 1 Samuel says, Ruth honoured God in her choice and so she was honoured by God.
I believe the Bible is true and if the Bible is true then we all have that choice to make - follow God in how we live or turn away from Him. If you are a Christian you have chosen to follow God and your reward is eternal life in Heaven. If you're not a Christian you have your back to God and are not following Him. This is what the second part of the verse in 1 Samuel is talking about. Every person who has not chosen to follow God and honour Him before their life on this earth ends or before Jesus returns to this world will spend eternity separated from God in Hell - they will be 'lightly esteemed'. Are you sure of your choice?
One of the Fruit of the Spirit is faithfulness.
When you choose to follow God, He wants you to be faithful to Him. That means honouring Him in how you live. When it comes to making a decision, are you following what the Bible says or going against it?
For Ruth, option (b) seemed the easiest - going back home to Moab and her people, but that didn't mean it was the right option. More often than not making the choice to obey God is the hardest, that's because it means going against sin which is very tempting. But it's worth it because God promises to honour those who honour Him. He will give you the strength and courage to go through with the choice that honours Him - just ask Him.