Book of Ruth Series - Arriving In Moab - Lesson 4

Moab’s bountiful marketplace beguiled these hungry travelers and immediately they felt as if they had made the right decision.

Sure, crafted altars with a graven image of Chemosh adorned almost every corner, but what did they care as long as they had food. Every new place takes a little getting used to.

They’ll find a house with the money they have left and just live.

If Moab doesn’t work out, they can always go back to Bethlehem.

Even though it looked good, Moab was a place outside of God’s will. Sadly, Elimelech had left Bethlehem because his faith was weak and he couldn't trust God to provide.

Maybe famine wasn’t only in the land, but also in his heart.

Amos 8:11 speaks of this famine, “…not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.”

The word translated hearing in Amos 8:11, is the Hebrew word shama, pronounced shaw-mah’. It means, “to hear intelligently”.

However, hearing intelligently more than the ear hearing a sound. Isn’t it also perceiving, understanding and believing?

If so, spiritual famine like physical famine, doesn’t happen overnight either.

What do you think halted the refreshing rain of God’s love in Elimelech’s life, causing him to dry up so famine occurred? Was it having sons who were not as healthy as most? Was he angry, too busy, too many cares of this life that crowded in and required his attention, or was there willful disobedience and rebellion?

Truth is, if we are not in right-relationship with God, every problem of life seems to fall on our shoulders and we become the fixers. As such, we’re isolated, feeling as if there’s no one to share the burden. Under this load, we easily become discouraged. Then when we see green grass in the distance, we don’t realize it’s only a mirage. So, like Elimelech, we make decisions to take us farther away from the only One who can help. (Matthew 11:28-30)

In his heart, Elimelech may have run away to spiritual Moab a long time ago and just now, his body arrived.

Too bad, he hadn’t heard the words King David penned years later, because they might have changed his mind. David said, “I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread.” (Psalm 37:25)

Unfortunately, we can only speculate about Elimelech. Yet, by his actions, it seems he had been away from God for quite awhile. I wonder if he ever realized he made a bad decision. Did he ever fully understand what caused Bethlehem’s famine? Did he then repent and call out to the Lord?

If in his trouble, Elimelech truly turned to the Lord God of Israel, he would have found Him. (II Chronicles 15:3-4)


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