Read Ruth 1:1-22.
Moab isn't very far from Judah. But to Elimelek, it was a world away—a world away from the chaos that plagued Israel during the time of the judges, a world away from the famine that had left his family hungry, a world away from the hard path of trusting that God would bring relief to His people in the land of promise. So, Elimelek packed up his belongings and took his wife and two boys around to the other side of the Dead Sea, into the land of Moab, where the grass was greener.
Biblical hope comes from the absolute confidence and trust that God has our best interests at heart.
Whenever we try to short-circuit God's plan for our life, there is initial comfort, followed by the inevitable consequences of disobedience, and finally—and thank God for this—an indisputable cure. God welcomes His wayward children home.
This is how things played out for Elimelek's family. At first, their short stay in Moab was comfortable, but before they knew it, they had been there for ten years (see v. 4), entrenched in the godless culture of Moab. During that time, Elimelek died, and sadly, Naomi's two sons also died in Moab. In the ancient world, a woman without a male relative to support her would be left destitute. Naomi was now far from home, without a soul to lean on—except for her daughter-in-law, Ruth.
Though Naomi had been living in a pagan culture surrounded by godless neighbors, though she had suffered much loss, she still believed in Yahweh. And there was something about Naomi's God that Ruth couldn't resist. So, as Naomi planned to return home, loyal Ruth declared, "Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God" (v. 16). God was at work to bring Naomi back home, not just physically to the land of Judah, but spiritually back to Him—and this redemptive plan included Ruth.
Perhaps you're in your own spiritual Moab—it could be a relationship that is not honoring to the Lord, a decision you regret, or a tendency to put your desires above God's wisdom for your life. You may be comfortable there now. You may even believe that God has forgotten about you. I want you to know He hasn't. He loves you too much to leave you in your Moab. Whatever your Moab may be, you can come home to Jesus.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your love that draws me out of my spiritual Moab. Thank You that You welcome me home. Forgive me for doubting Your promises and leading in my life. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"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" (Ruth 1:1).