Summary: “The greatest thing that God gave to man, besides Jesus, was the power of CHOICE.” Today’s lesson will focus on a wrong choice by a godly man that led to disastrous results…not only for him, but for his family as well.

The Tragedy of Famine

Ruth Series - Ruth 1:1-5

Soul’s Harbour Ministry

Conway, S.C. - 1/20/02 – A.M.

“The greatest thing that God gave to man, besides Jesus, was the power of CHOICE.” Today’s lesson will focus on a wrong choice by a godly man that led to disastrous results…not only for him, but for his family as well.

I. The People and the Setting

A. The Ideal Setting - Bethlehem-Judah

1. Bethlehem – “House of Bread”

2. Judah – “A place of praise or worship”

3. Characterizes life as a place of bountiful provision and joy

B. The Ideal Family

1. Elimelech – “My God is King” (his name was a representation of God)

a. He represents a godly man rearing his children in the place of provision and praise…a place where God’s bounty was always evident.

2. Naomi – “Pleasant”

a. This is one of the fruits of the Spirit

b. She filled her home with vivacious life for the entire family

c. She was a catalyst in her family – never a dull moment while she was around; happiness exuded from her…the Jewish people, many times, took on the character of their name.

d. Her name carries great allegorical significance as it relates to scripture (Note: Naomi dwelt in The Word)

1. Prov. 2:10-11 “When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:”

2. Prov. 3:17 - “Her ways [are] ways of pleasantness, and all her paths [are] peace.”

a. Filling our lives with the wisdom of God will not guarantee our circumstances to be pleasant, but inside we can experience joy and peace even in difficult situations.

3. The two sons were the fruit of living in the presence of God’s provision

a. This family is a picture of the complete provision that believers have in Christ

C. Allegorically speaking - Our lives are to be Houses of Bread and Temples of Worship

1. 1 Cor. 3:16 - “ye are the temple of God…”

2. Absorb the Word, allow it to “dwell” in your home; as it takes its place it will transform you, then you can

respond individually…then corporately.

II. Famine’s Tragedy

A. They Sojourned in Moab (Moab = The Washpot [Ps. 60:8], the Garbage Can)

1. Moab was filled with idolatry…they were the enemies of Israel

2. Moab Allegorically = A Type of the carnal life; the self-life of the believer

a. A believer who is still making decisions without the benefit of the Word of God

b. It’s a land where God does not reign as king

c. Today, many accept Him as Savior[a deliverer], but not as theirKing)

1. King = Lord (Grk. Kurios = Supreme controller, Master)

d. It’s a land full of idols…but the biggest is SELF…must get rid of to reach spiritual maturity

3. Moab is NOT Egypt = Egypt => A type of the believer’s sinful “life before salvation”

4. Elimelech chose to take his family to Moab

a. He exposed himself and his family to foreign gods and a life of idolatry

b. When a believer or his family runs off to a far country, they always get a whipping in the far country

1. Elimelech died; he didn’t plan it this way!!

· “Some of you won’t plan it this way, either. He just wanted an easier way of life, and he thought he’d find it in Moab.”

2. His sons married foreign wives; they died shortly after.

3. When you get away from God, that’s when trouble comes.

III. The Causes of Famine

· What would make famine come to a place of bounty, violating the very character of its name?

A. Wrong Government – v. 1 “In the days when the judges ruled”

1. Judges were ruling the land when God allowed the famine to come

a. Inhabitants leave to try and find another source of food

1. Your God (Elimelech) dies when you leave

2. You become bitter in soul (Mara)

a. Your joy dies (Mahlon)

b. Your song / revival dies (Chilion)

2. During this time, “…every man did that which was right in his own sight.” Jud. 17:6

3. They fell into idolatry and intermarried with pagan…lived in spiritual confusion

4. Fuchsia Pickett – “It was never God’s intention that His church be governed by boards, committees and “the vote of the majority.”

5. He chose to govern His Church by the particular giftings that He gives to the Body of Christ

6. “If we choose to follow another method…we will experience a famine of the presence of God in our churches.” F. Pickett

7. The gov’t of God must be restored according to Biblical pattern in order to enjoy the blessing of God.

B. Idolatry

1. “Whatever becomes our ultimate concern is what we are worshipping.” Dr. Dutch Sheets

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