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.
A famine in the land of Canaan, that land flowing with milk and honey. A fruitful land is turned into barrenness. Elimelech decides to leave Israel and flee to Moab.
How far Elimelech was justified in fleeing, even under the pressure of the famine, from the land of Jehovah to a land of Moab where pagans were worshipped may well be doubted. It was disobeying the spirit of God’s law, and holding of little value the blessings of the land of promise that is the cause of concern.
Elimelech ‘s care to provide for his family, was not to be blamed; but his removal into the country of Moab could not be justified. And the removal ended in the wasting of his family. It is folly to think of escaping that cross, which, being laid in our way, we ought to take up. Changing our place seldom is mending it.
It seems there was plenty in the country of Moab when there was scarcity of bread in the land of Israel. Elimelech goes, not to settle for ever, but to sojourn for a time, during the dearth, as Abraham, on a similar occasion, went into Egypt and Isaac into the land of the Philistines.
What reason had Elimelech to want more than any of his neighbours? By those who stayed back in Israel it appears that the famine was not so extreme and that there was sufficient to keep life and soul together; and his family was but small, only two sons.
But if he could not be content with the short allowance that his neighbours took up with, and in the day of famine could not be satisfied unless he kept as plentiful a table as he had done formerly, if he could not live in hope that there would come years of plenty again in due time, or could not with patience wait for those years, it was his fault, and he dishonoured God and the good land He had given them.
God has given everyone a free will; we have the freedom of choice. With this freedom we have to make choices, we are not forced by God. Elimelech was in a situation where there was not much food for his family. He knew that nearby Moab had plenty of food. He made a choice and decides to head for Moab. He failed to trust God and relied upon himself. This choice causes him and his sons to die.
God has said in Deuteronomy 30:19 —– I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.
God then gives us a hint to choose life. With this freedom we can receive God or reject him, we can honour God or despise Him. Elimelech made a choice based on his physical situation not the spiritual. Elimelech’s choice was important; it was the choice of eternal life or eternal damnation.
Do we live by faith or do we live by sight? Do the desires of this world motivate us to rely on worldly pleasure or are we confident about GOD as our PROVIDER?
THE BIBLE NEVER ONCE SAYS, “FIGURE IT OUT” BUT OVER AND OVER IT SAYS, “TRUST GOD”. HE’S ALREADY GOT IT ALL FIGURED OUT.