Ruth 1:1 “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 Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.”
A man’s health and wealth are temporary but his soul is eternal. Elimelech had made an eternal decision based on temporal circumstances. Many years ago while searching for God’s will regarding my life’s work in the ministry I found myself sitting in a hotel room in Powell, TN. The phone rang and the person on the other end informed me that the pastor for whom I was working had a heart attack. I was stunned but then thought, “Lord, you must want me to stay at that church.” The next day my phone rang again, same person on the other end, but this time I was told, “It was not a heart attack, only a bout of angina.” I said to the Lord, “You must want me to move on to another ministry.” It was at that moment the Lord seemed to say in my heart, “Bart, do you think that is the way I work? Do I use circumstances to determine My will for your life? Didn’t I write that My Word was to be the lamp to your feet and light to your path?” It was then that I knew my trust had to be in God and not circumstances.
In our text Elimelech made a decision based on temporary circumstances. He moved his family from the House of Bread to the land of Moab. To remove your family to an environment owned and operated under idolatry was an unguarded and ill advised decision. Not only did he expose his sons to idolatry but he also positioned his wife to be assaulted by loneliness. As Elimelech sold her on the idea of moving from the congregation of the Lord to the culture of Moab she gradually came to agree with him. Now she is in a strange land among strange people that did not love her God. She had no idea what heartache lay ahead. When her husband died she knew precious few people that could minister to her in her grief. Leaving God’s congregation exposes you to needless suffering.
Pro 17:17 “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.“
As the songwriter wrote “You Can’t Make Old Friends.” How lonely must Naomi had been? Sure, she had her boys and their new girlfriends but she needed the love and support that only God’s people can provide. This was all due to Elimelech’s decision. Today as you work out your own salvation with fear and trembling remember to consult God’s Word for the path you should take. You and your family will be the better for it!