Ruth 1:1-2 —– 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 Bethlehem, Judah, went to dwell in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech, the name of his wife was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion—Ephrathites of Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to the country of Moab and remained there.
The book of Ruth is an amazing story of commitment and dedication, trials and testing, deliverance and freedom. It’s got it all! The Holy Spirit has placed within the characters and story line, key elements and pictures that teach us today about our relationship with the true redeemer, Jesus Christ. Each of the four chapters gives us a glimpse of the progressive stages in our walk with the Lord.
The book of Ruth starts in the days of the judges, and in a time of famine. Elimelech and his wife Naomi are living in Israel, God’s chosen land, yet we read that their eyes began looking to the prosperity in the world. Ever been there?
The picture for us is clear and its one that we see often. It’s a picture of the Christian who, when times get hard, looks not to God but to what the world can provide. Ever been in that kind of famine? One where God doesn’t seem to care or notice the difficulty you are in and your thoughts turn to the provision and pleasure offered by the world? No? You will.
God allows us into these situations to teach us that we live by faith and not by sight.
Elimelech and Naomi were in such a situation and faced with running or trusting God – they chose the former and worse of the two options. It was a decision that would ultimately cost Elimelech and his two sons their lives.
They left Bethlehem and went to Moab. Why? Because Elimelech, doubted the love and fatherhood of God and steps out in willful disobedience to the Word of God, striving forth in his own strength.
Not that Elimelech had decided to take his family away from the land of Israel permanently. No way! This was only going to be a ‘sojourn’ – which means a brief stay. Not a great rebellion against God, but just a little dabble for a season in another land. Nothing wrong with that is there? When life got uncomfortable, he was willing to get connected to a pagan country in the hope that they could enjoy all that Moab promised to offer.
“TO TRUST GOD IN THE LIGHT IS NOTHING, BUT TRUST HIM IN THE DARK—THAT IS FAITH.”