By wilderness here, I mean – a place of dryness, a place of lack, a place of no results, a place of unusual silence, a place of unfruitfulness, a place of waiting, a place where your patience is stretched. The house of bread (Bethlehem) at this time, was experiencing famine (hunger) and as a result, a call for decision-making was prompted. The bible says,
Ruth 1:1 (NIV)
In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab.
Because of the wilderness situation, in his hometown, Elimelech made a decision for himself and on behalf of the family, to go and live/settle in Moab. It was a temporal decision and I say so because, when situations changed in Bethlehem later (Ruth 1:6), Naomi returned to Bethlehem but this time around, Elimelech was already dead. He died in Moab.
There is no doubt that Elimelech’s decision was influenced by the famine (the obvious existing conditions of Bethlehem at the time). Just maybe, if Elimelech had paused and reminded himself that although there is famine in the land, it does not permanently change the house of bread to a house of lack and perpetual hunger. Bethlehem remained Bethlehem even in a famine. Just maybe, if he reminded himself of whom his God is, he would have known that the king cares for his citizens even in a famine. Better still if he had paused and reminded himself that a place of praise (Judah) and potential fruitfulness (Ephrah) is better than a place of idolatry, he should have reconsidered his decision.
What is your wilderness situation? What does your famine look like? What is the decision or what are the decisions you have made or are planning to make as a result of the temporal famine you are experiencing? How far will you go because of the lack of food (hunger)? Elimelech made one decision as a result of famine and that decision cost his life and the life of his two sons.
Here is my encouragement to you, irrespective of your wilderness situation or famine;
-do not compromise in decision making (Elimelech left from a place of praise to a place of idolatry, because of famine). If where you are, had once been a place of abundance, hold on to that potential, trust the Father for a change in your situation. Do not be misled by the temporal situation you see.
It is better to hold on to potential abundance and trust the promises of God than settle in an environment where idolatry is the order of the day. Moab was a land of idol worship. Amen.