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. – Ruth 1:1
Here we see the story of the man by name Elimelech, a Jew who left his home country, the land of Judah because of famine for the land of Moab with high expectations that life would be better there. He fled his famine stricken land with the hope that he would stand a better chance of surviving in the land of Moab, where he believed there was plenty. We do not know what motivated these expectations, we do not know if it was done out of faith or out of what might appear to be simple economic decision based on reports coming from the land of Moab. But what we know is that his expectations did produce a result which ran contrary to what he had anticipated or desired, it all ended in tragedy for the family;
Then Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died; and she was left, and her two sons. – Ruth 1:3
Not only did he die in the land, but his two sons also died there as well (vs3). In the end what began with full expectation that life would be better in the land of Moab turned into an anti –climax as shown by the testimony of Naomi;
But she said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the LORD has brought me home again empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the LORD has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?” – Ruth 1:20-21
Why did Naomi feel that God had testified against her? We could speculate all day long, but the truth here is that they left the land that God had asked them to settle, to go and dwell in a foreign land amongst foreign people contrary to the will of God. You see their expectation was not motivated by the will of God and we can even say that it was not motivated by faith; rather it was simply motivated by the prevailing circumstances at the time. This I must say runs contrary to the manner of life which those who are God’s people are called to live. We are not moved by circumstances alone but by the very word of God, it must also be said that his decision ran contrary to one of the lessons that God taught them as a nation when they wandered about in the wilderness for forty years, the lesson which Moses summed up thus;
He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord – Deuteronomy 8:3
Elimelech, it must be said was not the only one whose expectations turned sour because it was not motivated by faith.
We will continue next week. Please email your contributions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Pastor Josh Laryea