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Text: Ruth 1:1-22

This happened in the days when judges ruled: needless to stress that the rule of judges and not kings as should have been the case was brought about as a consequence of the error of a man called Judah, the son of Jacob. This error denied ten generations of kings access to the throne because a father satisfied his lust.

Elimelech was a man in the lineage of the Messiah from the city of Beth-lehem-Judah. (Bethlehem means the house of bread or the place of food.) It was an irony that there was famine in the house of bread and Elimelech whose name means “My God Is King” would relocate to somewhere else, and of all places, Moab; outside of the Commonwealth of Israel. He left with his wife and two sons to live in Moab.

Soon after, Elimelech died leaving his wife Naomi ( Naomi mean” pleasant, lovely” hence -“my pleasant one or “my lovely one”) and their two sons Mahlon (meaning “weak, sick”) and Kilion (meaning “frail”)

The two boys married Moabite ladies Orpah (“back of the neck” or ” to turn back”) and Ruth (“friendship”). Within the space of a short time, the two boys died leaving no children. Having been in Moan for ten years, Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem having heard that the famine was over (Vs 6). Orpah ‘turned back’ to her people while Ruth befriended Naomi to the end (vs 14).

In vs 13, Naomi said, “…the LORD is afflicting me!” (NET). Why would she claim so and not that the hand of the LORD was against her husband and children by killing them? Obviously, she knew she was in the heat because it was her decision to relocate in the first place. Don’t ever undermine the power of a woman: if a man is tired of a place or church and desires to move and the wife does not consent, trust me, they will remain there. If the woman got tired and decided to move and the man does not want to, still trust me, they are moving. For whatever reason Naomi wanted out of Bethlehem during the ‘temporary’ scarcity, I cannot say: maybe she thought she was smart, or she wanted her ailing children treated abroad or maybe, she was just an impatient person. Whatever the reason, DO NOT MAKE PERMANENT DECISIONS OVER TEMPORARY SITUATIONS.

When Naomi got back to Bethlehem, she met the same people she left behind, they did not die. Rather she suffered losses. She said “I left here full, but…return empty (vs 21). Her decision to relocate did not pay her.

How many people have left the churches where God planted them at the slightest provocation or offences. Whatever the offence, if God planted you there stay there (Ps 92:13). You don’t resign from your job because of provocation or offences, do you? Why leave the church? Why leave your country or city for a reason that might not stand the test?’ The LORD Jesus said “offences must come” (Matt. 18:7). Patience and self-control are the fruit of the Spirit.

Elimelech should have been the great-grandfather of David and a progenitor of the Messiah but he lost it to a woman who could see beyond the mundane and attached herself forcefully and by faith into the genealogy of the Lord Jesus Christ. Ruth was a woman of the Spirit, willing to go to where Naomi ran away from. She became the mother of Obed, David’s grandpa through Boaz, Elimelech’s brother. Elimelech lost it and his brother had to raise the seed for him through Ruth. Even if Obed bears Chilion’s name, we know the seed is Boaz’s.

Elimelech’s one mistake erased his entire generation from God’s program for them. Let’s be careful about our choices and decisions in life.

Final Note:

That interesting four-chaptered book was not dedicated nor named after Elimelech, nor Naomi, neither Boaz nor Obed but to a total stranger, a gentile woman, a Moabitess, RUTH, who knew to plug herself into God’s program when those for whom it was prepared failed.

Seek To Know And Stay In The Centre Of God’s Will.

The sermon, Don’t Miss Your Place In God’s Program, by Pastor Peter Yakubu, founder, Prevailer’s Arena, Lagos Nigeria, was delivered on August 5, 2018.