Elimelech had left Bethlehem with his wife Naomi and their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, to the land of Moab to escape the famine that had come upon the land.
There at Moab, where the economy was better, things suddenly took a new and ugly turn when Elimelech died. Not long afterwards, the two sons who had married also died and things became difficult for Naomi. To survive, with her two daughters- in law, she sold off most valuables, yet…
Going back to Bethlehem she said:
“I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?” – Ruth 1:21(KJV)
They had fared well in Bethlehem before the journey to Moab. The famine forced them to move. Had they looked back to what they were before God picked them and filled them with testimonies, perhaps the tragedy that befell them could have been averted.
Some lessons could be learnt here as we approach the end of the year. We need to look back from the beginning of the year till now to see the mighty hand of God at work in our lives. This will help us humble ourselves.
(1) They could not see the hand of God at work. They must have attributed their success to their own efforts. So when the famine came, “common sense” dictated to them to move.
Let’s remember that whatever we may have become is the doing of the Lord. And if He delights to bless us in any land, no famine can overtake us as the Lord will be there to deliver us.
(2) They did not see God where they were. Jacob said, “God is here and I knew it not.”
“And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.” (Genesis 28:16).
They did not appreciate where God planted them.
We can be so busy we fail to see God in the place we are and consequently, not appreciate Him for the place He has placed us. Let’s learn not to think or talk evil or negative of the place we are. Neither should we agree with people who run down where we are.
It is only when we praise God that the land will open its treasure to us.
(3) The fact that God is there does not mean you cannot have a famine; headaches, and challenges.
Where God was Jacob slept on hardness; without comfort: on a pillow of stones!
“And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.” (Genesis 28:11).
Stick in there through thick and thin!!! God is there!!!
Your bones may be screaming and your joints shouting their protests, stick in there!!!
Your stay at the place proves your faith in Him. Naomi and her family proved faithless despite God’s blessings to them before their journey to Moab. And without faith, it is impossible to please God or receive from Him. No wonder they lost everything and she came back empty!
(4) Joy does not come because you have things you want! No! Joy comes when you thank God for the things you have now!
“But godliness with contentment is great gain.” – 1 Timothy 6:6
Great gain; joy!
As we look back to the outgoing year, let us be mindful of where we met with God and return there again and again; if possible like Peter would say, make the place our dwelling.