I’m kind of glad that we don’t have a clear picture of the circumstances that lead Elimilech and Naomi to move their family to Moab.
We know a few things that help frame the story.. Enough to understand the context but little enough to be able to see ourselves in the story.
There was a famine and we know that Moab must have had opportunities… We know that for some time during the time of the judges that the King Eglon of Moab was king over Israel which also may have been the time this family moved to Moab or had connections there. I actually like that you can sense the reasons but not really know. This helps me put myself in the story.
It helps me look at my own life and how easily any sort of ‘famine’ can lead me to move away to a place that ‘looks’ better than ‘here’. Here is where I am called but Moab seems better than here. I have been called to settle ‘here’ but when it gets tough there is always a Moab to move to and settle in.
Moab is not always physical. My HERE can be my wherever I find discontent. It be where ever I find frustration or where I am not experiencing harvest and fruitfulness or fulfilment. Here can be a relationship, my job, my church, the season I am in, my marriage, my call, my health. ‘Famine‘ can happen to any of us and can be really difficult to deal with. How often does MOAB look better than here and we have no idea that Moab could be the ultimate destination of death, trauma and deep bitterness.
What is my Moab?
what sort of famine leads me to find a MOAB?When Jesus is not enough I go seeking sustenance and provision and opportunity in a variety of Moabs that look nothing like where I am meant to be. Many families didn’t leave Bethlehem. Many of Naomi’s friends stayed, remained…. There are plenty of people who choose NOT to go to land of Moab!l why do I find myself there???
How long had Elimilech and Naomi talked this move…was it spontaneous?
Was it well planned?
Was there many late night conversations or did Elimilech just make a decision and Naomi had to follow?
Did their neighbours care or visit them after they left?
What made the think about Moab as a destination?
Was it the possibility if new beginnings?
Was it simply physical hunger?
Maybe they were invited?
Maybe they had friends who were there?
Maybe local Moabites had enticed them and convinced them?
Maybe they simple saw opportunity?
Maybe their kids needs came first?
Maybe they were sick of people coming to them to get help?
Maybe they lost sight of God?
What leads us to seek joy, peace, provision, freedom, hope, some where other than HERE….? Famine is never a great reason to move from HERE…
Do I respond to famine spontaneously or is it something I process slowly?
Do I seek wisdom in famine or make decision based on my own wisdom?
Is God king in in the midst of famine or only when I feel his blessing?
How can does moving to Moab impact on my kids and what they believe about God and life and choices?
What is my HERE? Where has God asked me to settle that doesn’t feel like it is where I will prosper? If God leads me to ‘here’ he is always leading me back to the House of bread.