When was the last time you put any time into thinking about Elimelech? Who’s Elimelech? He’s that guy in Ruth chapter 1, you know the guy who wanted to provide for his family so he moved them to Moab away from the famine area near Bethlehem.
Oh, yeah! So?
When was the last time you thought about moving? Moving yourself (as a single person) or moving your family (as the head of your home). – Probably more recently than you’ve thought about Elimelech for any significant period of time.
One of the most unusual things I see Christians do on a fairly regular basis is move geographically and NEVER even consider whether there is a good, solid, Biblical teaching & practicing church where they are moving. It happens all the time. Even recently I have heard the following in relation to families moving:
- I can buy twice the house for half the money there.
- I own my own business and the taxes are much more favorable.
- We will be closer to our kids while they are in college.
- This is too good of a promotion to pass-up. I may never see an opportunity like this again.
What is more interesting is these statements are made by people who grew-up in Christian homes, often multi-generational. It is not like these people are new believers or something. Church has been a part of their lives since they were in the nursery, but now that they are looking to make one of the most significant decisions of their lives church is not even on the radar.
What is going on? Well, really it is the same issues as that facing Elimelech.
First of all, we must remember two things:
- In the Old Testament it is NEVER a good thing to be out of the Promise Land! NEVER! The Land is the most tangible evidence of God’s blessing and promise to His people.
- Even though God was a work in Elimelech’s move, so that one of his sons marries Ruth who then travels back to Bethlehem with Naomi and eventually marries Boaz and is the great-grandmother of Kind David and in the line of Christ, does not make Elimelech’s decision to leave The Land right. The ends do not justify the means. What this reveals to us is just how great and sovereign our God is! Elimelech’s sinful choice was even part of God’s plan! (Pretty awesome, but not the point of this topic.)
Elimelech looked around him and saw difficulty, or at least not everything he wanted or dreamed of. He looked somewhere else and saw what he “needed.” What his family “needed.” He then moved his family out of God’s promise actually thinking he was taking care of his family!
Christians today can do the exact same thing.
When we consider a move to a new location and that decision is based on changing or improving our temporal circumstances with no consideration of sustaining or even propelling the spiritual environment for ourselves and/or our families, we are looking to take our family out of the place where God can bless us most, while actually thinking we are going to better provide for our family.
Yeah but, how would they have survived, there was a famine? Don’t know, but Boaz did! Boaz not only survived, but thrived! He was a godly man in an ungodly generation surrounded by the same famine as Elimelech.
The next time you consider a move or know someone who is remember Elimelech.
For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.