Faith or Famine?
And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehemjudah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there. ~Ruth 1:2
The wiser we become, the more we realize the importance of making good decisions. Our decisions not only affect us as individuals but also our family and those close to us. In the complexity of making a right decision, we can be thankful that God enables us as long as we commit our situation to Him to direct our steps. This morning, we are studying a man named Elimelech and a costly decision that he made without God’s approval.
We see a patriarch.
Elimelech was a husband and father of two sons. His name means “my God is King.” His very name implies that God had rule and veto power in his life. He was married to a sweet lady whose name was Naomi. Her name means “pleasant.” He resided in Bethlehemjudah, which means “the house of bread and praise.” He was a man who was versed in the Scriptures and the importance of faith in God. Based on his family and faith background, he seemed to have everything in place for God’s blessing on his life, but he lived contrary to his name.
We see a pressure.
There was a famine in the land. The famine was God’s chastening on Israel for worshipping other gods. There had been no rain or dew for a long time, and as a result, they could not grow sufficient crops or care for their animals. There was food shortage, starvation, job loss, and economic downturn. As the leader of his home, there was immense pressure on him for the care of his family. Pressures bring out the best or worst in us.
We see a practice.
Elimelech decided to move his family down to Moab. His decision was based on the practice of his people in that day: every man did that which was right in his own eyes. He made a financial decision and not a faith decision. He made a selfish decision and not a spiritual decision. He looked at Moab, saw material gain, and thought that he was better off in Moab than in Bethlehemjudah. Moab is a picture of the world. He did not once ask God for His approval. He did that which was right in his own eyes. The Bible warns us that there is trouble ahead for us when we trust in the world and not in Him.
We see a passing.
After a few years, Elimelech died. The husband and breadwinner died in Moab. He died a victim and not a victor. He was a victim of his own thinking and did not make his family any better off by moving to Moab. Worse than the famine in Bethlehemjudah was the famine in his soul. His passing placed the burden of the finances on his two sons. Not many years after, both his sons died in Moab. Naomi was bereft of all her breadwinners in a pagan land. His dream of a big payoff in Moab was a big disaster.
We see a principle.
First, decide to commit everything in your life to God. Pray for God’s leading before making a decision. Second, don’t bow to the pressures that you face in life. God has the right path for you to take as long as you have faith in Him and wait. Third, it is never wise to make a major move during times when you are under stress, discouragement, or any circumstance that blinds your judgment. Have faith that God will take care of you, even if it means you will have less. Don’t allow materialism, gain, or worldliness to be criteria in your decision making. Always let your decision be that which will give God the most glory.
Have a God-glorifying God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Isaiah 36-41