The study started with the first few verses of the book of Ruth. I read the words on the page:
“So a man from Bethlehem in Judah left his home and went to live in the country of Moab.” (Ruth 1:1, NLT)
And so comes the introduction to Elimelech and his family. So often the focus shifts quickly to Naomi and Ruth. Yet as I spend some time looking at just the words above, I find myself asking this question, “Why do we think the grass is greener on the other side?”
Granted Elimelech was living during a time when famine was hitting the region. He had a family, a wife and two sons, for whom he felt responsible. His goal would logically have been to relocate where food would be plentiful and Moab was a fertile area with plenty of rainfall.
Sounds logical. Good motives. But if we dig just a little bit deeper …
Elimelech lived in Bethlehem. The name literally means, “the house of breadery”. How ironic – to be living in the house of bread when a famine hits and there is no bread. Relocating seems to be a good course of action and he moves them to Moab.
Moab, the town where Lot lived. Known for its loose morals and as a perpetual enemy of the Israelites. Yet it now becomes home to this family in the hopes of finding sustenance.
For two days I have been thinking about Elimelech as I pondered this concept of “famine”.
In times of scarcity, we often perceive the remedy to be change – change of location, occupation, or friends. We can overlook that which is right before us, perhaps even the very place where God wants us to be.
Elimelech was already living in the “house of bread” and when he starts looking elsewhere, he forgets where he lives. He entertains the idea that provision could be elsewhere.
The reminder whispers in my soul … We must be careful, using wisdom, when making changes.
Jesus called Himself, “The Bread of Life” (John 6:35). He will sustain us even when we are in those times of famine, of scarcity.
“Is anyone thirsty?
Come and drink –
even if you have no money!
Come, take your choice of wine or milk –
it’s all free!
Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength?
Why pay for food that does you no good?
Listen to me, and you will eat what is good.
You will enjoy the finest food.”
(Isaiah 55:1-2, NLT)
Perhaps the grass is not greener on the other side.
It may be green right where we are.
It is greenest in the very place where God meets us.