In the last post it was established that the land of Judah was in a time of famine. A consequence of choices made as a nation. This account in Ruth tells the personal story of the effects this famine had on a certain man and his family. (Ruth 1)
“The man’s name was Elimelech and his wife, Naomi. Their 2 sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Benjamin in the land of Judah. And when they reached Moab, they settled there.
Elimelech as a responsible husband and father knew if something didn’t change fast, his family could starve. He was going to do what he could to keep that from happening, which as he saw it meant re-locating to a different area. And may we not be too quick to judge Elimelech’s faith and standing with the Lord in his decision to leave. The famine was a result of the nation as a whole turning away from and rejecting God’s way. That does not mean that every person in the land had personally rejected God. Yet, its affect would be felt by all. Decisions had to be made. The famine seemed to leave no other choice. With heavy hearts they packed their belongings, headed out and re-settled in a new land. They would no longer be in close proximity to their homeland with the support system of family, relatives and friends already in place. Famine on top of famine.
One of the questions in the Love God Greatly study of Ruth personalized this famine in the land and asked: “Is there a famine of sorts in your life at this time?”
Famine: any extreme and general scarcity, hunger, starvation.
Is there any area of life in which you feel a scarcity of fulfillment, a hunger or starvation for something more? Be it relationally, financially, career wise, emotionally, physically, spiritually, or some other such way you feel as if you are in a mal-nourished, parched as a dry desert, soul-starved famine of life. And you find yourself faced with the same dilemma as Elimelech: what are your options? How do you survive? Stay or go? Make a change or not?
(As a side note I listened to an excellent message recently that was encouraging in this aspect of going through a season of life when all seems to be falling apart around you, which relates well with going through a season of famine. Hope Giving Love is the title of the message title by J.D. Greear, The Summit Church, NC.)
Before making any decisions go to the Lord. Through prayer as well as reading of His Word, ask the Lord for a verse to sustain you and keep you focused in going forward rather than allowing self to become paralyzed in fear or swept backward in doubt.
In writing the above paragraph the realization hits me – my writing comes across from the point of view of one who has been a follower of Christ for many years. The Lord and His Word are like old friends to me. But perhaps there is someone reading who is not as familiar with the Bible and it seems a daunting task to approach it to read. Let alone to ask the Lord for a verse to sustain you. May I encourage you to give it a try.
Maybe try reading one of the first books of the New Testament such as Matthew, Mark, Luke or John; or going to the Psalms in the Old Testament where many people find comfort, encouragement and hope. Read little bits at a time if that is all you can fit in. But read with intention and expectation. Whether you pick up an actual Bible, or pull one up on line, take the step.
Another option is to use a daily devotion book such as but not limited to Our Daily Bread, or Streams in the Desert or check out the list of devotionals on this page for man or woman; or at your book store or on Amazon. Jesus Calling is another good one. The options today are really quite numerous for digging into God’s Word whether for a quick word to focus on for the day or to study for life. OH, and there are audio versions as well!! No more excuses. 🙂
Whether a short time, long time or no time follower of the Lord I pray that you would not be deterred from giving the Lord a chance to meet you where you are at this time of life. Get to know Him or work to know Him better for who He is and experience firsthand how faith in Him will help navigate the ups and downs of this life to include times of plenty as well as times of famine.
To conclude: for me, personally, at this time the word ‘famine’ hit home. That is exactly what life has felt like this past year or so. With several questions and matters at heart for which I have been seeking direction and guidance about. Throughout my walk with the Lord He has given me various verses that have bolstered my courage and resolve to make it another day, another week, another month/year. And during this particular study an old familiar passage was brought to my attention as I searched for a ‘next verse’ to keep focus on in going forward through this famine of life. Isaiah 50:10 (as originally memorized from the KJV.)
“Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of His Servant, that walketh in darkness and hath no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord and STAY upon His God.”
Go or stay was a part of my dilemma. And fully impressed upon my heart was the need to stay the course as I stay upon my Lord.
And so I have kept this verse in my focus these past few weeks. Staying the course (of life at this time) while staying upon My God – trusting Him, relying upon Him to continue to guide even in the midst of a seeming famine. May you rest in whose you are; in your identity in HIM whether in a time of plenty or famine.
Remember: God IS good no matter…
And yes, there really is a woman named Ruth whose life shall soon be intertwined with this family.
Hope you’ll stay with me.