Sunday, December 8, 2013

Book of Ruth Series - Tragedy Strikes - Lesson 5

In a place outside of God’s will, tragedy struck the family of Elimelech.

“…they went to the country of Moab and remained there. Then Elimelech, Naomi's husband, died; and she was left, and her two sons.” (Ruth 1:2-3)

As a woman, I can imagine Naomi’s pain. Not only was she grieving the loss of her husband, her lover, friend, and provider, but now she is the breadwinner needing to stay strong for her sons. Unfortunately, a single mom's life is hard in any time.

How did Naomi feel about the move to Moab in order to feed her sons? Was she excited for the new adventure, or was there extreme conflict in her soul, anguish and apprehension?


Was it Naomi fueling Elimelech’s decision to move to Moab, or did she just follow orders?

Surely, this tragedy never entered her mind. What will they do now and how will they survive?

Since God’s word does not tell us how long they dwelt in Moab before Elimelech died or about the age of their sons, again we can only speculate. They could have been about marrying age, because sometime soon after, “…they took wives of the women of Moab: the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth. And they dwelt there about ten years.” (Ruth 1:4)

Did Naomi agree with this or did it grieve her heart?

While she may have had a limited understanding of God, Naomi knew Israelites were to keep themselves separate especially from Moabites. God, through Moses had warned, “An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter the assembly of the Lord; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the Lord forever,” (Exodus 33:16; Deuteronomy 23:3-6).

Had ten generations passed by now and was God keeping it at ten, or did forever mean forever?

Obviously, Naomi had no say in her son’s decisions to marry Moabite women, but she did as she always did and responded with grace. The love of God in her heart expanded making room for two daughters and the hope of grandchildren. Even with the pain of losing her husband, Naomi lived up to the meaning of her name – “pleasant, delightful, or lovely”

Sadly, tragedy struck again. “Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died; so the woman survived her two sons and her husband.” (Ruth 1:5)

We are not told how these boys died, though the meaning of their names may give us a clue. Mahlon means “weak, sickly” and Chilion means “failing or pining”. Elimelech and Naomi may have thought they were giving their sons a chance to live long, healthy lives by moving to Moab. Nevertheless, God knew exactly how many days He had fashioned for them. (Psalm 139:16)


With both her husband and sons gone, there was no reason for Naomi to stay in Moab. Her family, friends, and the field they had sold remained in Bethlehem. If she had to be alone, why not be alone at home. Therefore, with a broken heart, Naomi made the decision to return to Bethlehem.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I would love to read your comments and try to answer any questions. Let's learn together.