Summary: The Book of Ruth gives us a picture of what could happen when a child of God turns back to the world of sin.
GOING BACK TO MOAB
During a tour of a large manufacturing plant, a visitor noticed a man using a torch to cut through some sheets of steel. His pattern was carefully marked on the steel plate and he was very carefully following those lines so that his work would not be in vain. There was a specific purpose and a special design in the work that he did.
As he continued to cut the steel there were times when the flame would not make any impression. No matter how high he turned the torch it seemed to have no effect. After a few tries the workman reached over and found a bottle with a chemical substance that was applied and, after a few moments, the cutting could be resumed. The worker explained that although the torch was able to go through clean steel 8 inches thick, if it encountered the slightest film of rust on the surface, the flame would not penetrate it.
This is a picture of the Christian. The Holy Spirit is seeking to produce in us God’s perfect design. If the life is unblemished, He is able to continue His efforts; but if we become carnal or backslidden, His work of shaping us is hindered and stopped until the sin has been thoroughly cleansed."
Then story of Ruth has a similar tale to tell; at least in its beginning chapter.
Read Ruth 1:1-18
The story of Ruth takes place during the period of the Judges, the four hundred and fifty years between the death of Joshua, who conquered the land of Canaan, and the coronation of Saul as Israel’s first king. It is a period that the Bible describes as "the days in which there was no king in Israel and every man did that which was right in his own eyes". You will find that stated in Judges 17:6.
This was a time when all the Children of Israel were ruled by only one thing; the “Big I”. What do I want? Where will I go? What do I like? Their whole life was governed by self-centeredness.
They gave little thought to what the will of God was. They quickly forgot the great deliverance that God had given them, and the victories that God had given them over every enemy that they had faced in Canaan.
Because of their rebellious attitudes, and the same attitude being in most of the hearts of God’s people, God had brought upon them a severe famine. He used the wind by blowing the hot air and churning the desert sands to destroy their crops. God allowed the hot temperatures and drought to bring His correcting hand upon His people who had forsaken Him. God didn’t desire to bring judgment to Israel, but when God’s people won’t listen, then we leave him little choice than to chasten us.
Because the Land of Canaan was in famine, a man named Elimelech, with his wife, Naomi, and their two sons decided to leave Canaan and go back across Jordan to the Land of Moab because he heard there was food for them there.
People of God, let me tell you that we had better be very careful of the choices we make for our families. I wonder if Elimelech had spent time in prayer before God and asked God for direction and provision in his life? I really don’t’ think that he did. He simply lifted his eyes and saw that the grass looked greener in Moab.
Where was Moab? Moab was the land where Moses had brought the Children of Israel when they sent out the 12 spies to check out the Promised Land and it was the place where all of Israel, except for Joshua and Caleb, were doomed to die in the wilderness.
Moab was also the same place that Israel came to the second time when they faced the River Jordan under the leadership of Joshua. Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land that he had longer for. God allowed him to see over into it but Moses died on the top of Mount Nebo never having the opportunity to set foot on the land that was promised to his Israel.
Moab is a picture of the life that we leave behind. It represents that place where we finally decide, once and for all, to lay down the desires of the world and the desires of the flesh and step over into the Promised Land of Salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The problem that so many Christians have is that they cross over Jordan, and step into the Promised Land with Jesus, but, like Lot’s wife, they are ever turning back to stare over into the Land of Moab. They want Jesus and all the blessings that come with living for the Lord, but they also want to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season with the Moabites.