Excitement is not a big enough word for the direction I feel in my spirit that the path is taking so far. The word "redemption" has triggered an extra sensitivity in my heart recently, like the Lord is holding the magnifying glass over the word and saying, "Come here, look closer." With that said, please look between the books of Judges and 1 Samuel and find the familiar, beautiful and many-layered story of Ruth.
While this story is very familiar, I pray that it is not discounted simply as a sweet love story. I just read again the first handful of verses and have been overwhelmed by all that the Lord can freshly show me. Just like a good steak dinner, may we taste and savor every portion to allow nourishment to our soul in the deepest way.
Setting the stage, we must look at the context of when, where, why, and who. According to the first verse of the first chapter, this account took place during the time of the judges. There was no king in Israel as of yet; however, it is not stated which judge was leading at the time. The family focused on is headed by an Ephrathite, Elimelech. Naomi, Mahlon and Chilion - his wife and two sons - rounded out the family living in Bethlehem, Judah.
The very first thing mentioned is that there was a famine in the land. Now, it doesn't state specifically that the famine was due to the sin of the nation, but it is recorded countless times in Scripture that the Lord did send famine as a means of judgment at times. It causes me to wonder the spiritual climate of the nation. Regardless, we see quickly the attitude Elimelech dons in facing this struggle...let's get outta here. He packed up his family and went to "dwell" in the country of Moab.
We are just gonna hover here today. This man saw that provision of the Lord was cut off, so he left the nation entirely and went to set up residence in a foreign land. In Jeremiah, Moab's "pride" is mentioned as the Lord is declaring judgment of the nation. This is what is standing out to me so hugely right now: did Elimelech choose pride over humility as a means of dealing with what he couldn't deal with right then? It isn't recorded that there was any prayer involved in his decision. It isn't recorded that he cried out in repentance or in seeking the Lord to halt the famine. He gathered his family and his things and skipped town.
How do you deal with famine in your life? Times of drought affect each one of us...sometimes because of sin, and sometimes just because. What do you do when there is nothing left in the spiritual cupboard, and you become desperate? Please note that Elimelech and Naomi lived in Bethlehem before moving to Moab. They lived in the "house of bread"!! How would it feel to live in the house of bread without bread? I challenge you today to take note of his response and determine in your own heart not to choose pride. I challenge you to stay in the house of bread - stay in the Word - and trust in the Lord's faithfulness.
Pride truly goes before destruction, so seek humility. As in Elimelech's case, our responses to the struggles affect more than our own lives. May we choose Him always.
Father, I long to be filled by You, not my own pride. I don't want to seek out my own solution in times of testing and pain. Help us to be still and know that You are God. In Jesus' Name. Amen.