(We are currently having a lot of phone trouble here. As I write this post, the phones lines are out, so I am not even sure when I will be able to post it.)
The book of Ruth serves two primary purposes. The first I believe is to show us a beautiful picture of redemption. The second is the important genealogy that is given in the book. I am amazed at how the redemption of Ruth pictures our own redemption in Christ.
There are a lot of amazing people and lessons in the book of Ruth. The book primarily focuses on Ruth. Before we look at Ruth though, I would like us to look at the very first person we are introduced to in the book, Elimelech. Elimelech lived in Bethlehem with his wife and two sons. A famine had come to Israel and he decided to leave town. He did not seek the Lord before making this decision. Instead of trusting the Lord and seeking wisdom from God, he rushes off to a place where, he has heard there is food. What place has he heard there is food? Moab! A place he has no business going to. Israel was to have no dealing with the Moabites. They were to “not enter into the congregation of the Lord.” His decision would cost him his life and the life of both his sons. He thought the country of Moab would help his family, instead it destroyed his family. Many times, we too run to a “Moab” for help instead of trusting God. (By our “Moab” I mean anything or philosophy that is against scripture or the will of God.) The results are devastating. The devil likes to paint “Moab” as a place that has the answers. As a place that can help. How often do we get ourselves into trouble by taking matters into our own hands? Elimelech tried to protect his family, but because of a very bad decision he ended up destroying his family. Beware of the “Moab’s” in your life.
Based on his name, I believe Elimelech was a good man who did desire to follow the Lord. However, as we all know, even the best of men can fall if we are not constantly guarding. His name means “my God is King.” The day he lived in was much like our own. He lived during the time of the judges. A time when “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” A time when people were running away from moral absolutes. A time when people did not want to submit to the authority of the Bible. Elimelech finds himself compromising when trouble hits and following the philosophy of his day. He followed a path that was right in his own eyes, but not right in God’s eyes. Oh, how we need to be careful and guard ourselves against sin.
No doubt, when Elimelech left Bethlehem, he reasoned in his mind why this was the right move. Why it was necessary to go to Moab? Just this last week I counseled with a newly married man who was getting ready to make a horrible decision that would have hurt his marriage. He had his reasoning of why this was the right move for him. However, his reasoning, just like Elimelech’s, was directly against scriptural principals.
We all need to look at the example that Elimelech provides for us, and see the danger of not trusting God. Even when we are in the midst of a “famine” in the will of God, we still need to follow the Lord. He will bring you through it! It is better to be in a famine in the will of God, then to be in the most abundant place on this earth outside of the will of God! Proverbs 3:6 is always true! “In all the ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.” Elimelech should have acknowledged God and followed Him.