Let me just taste it.
Have you responded this way to something… then down the line, you find yourself glued to it?
That’s what happened to Elimelech and his family.
Verse 1 of Ruth (see yesterday’s discussion) tells us they went to sojourn in the country of Moab.
“Let’s just stay there a few months, and then we return”, Elimelech probably told his wife. I know this may not be the best line of action… but let’s save our head for now. Temporarily. Then we’ll return to our land.
You’ve done something like this before, right?
“I know this isn’t the truth, but I’ll say it to save myself the shame, and then repent later. I know this relationship is immoral… but I can’t resist it now. Let me just taste it and repent afterwards. I know these videos and images aren’t good for me to feed on… I’ll just watch it this time, and then repent.”
How has it been so far? Did you cut it off, truly repent and return after that “first time?”
Most certainly, “No”.
Why The “Just Once” Of Sin Doesn’t Work
Sin has ripple effects. Sin is sticky. You can do it once, and cry, and promise yourself not to do it again. But you don’t play pranks with the devil, you know. He’s been in this business for decades. He knows how to come after you and pull you back into that mess… Again and again.
He’ll give you all the reasons why you should continue.
“You look so appealing in these revealing dresses. Don’t you see how heads turned and people complimented your physique… You felt proud of yourself and elated, right? Good! That’s how it should be.
No, don’t beat yourself up. It was just one lie, and you asked God to forgive you. You can do this one more… and the ever loving God will still forgive you.
Com’on girl! Pick yourself up. That boy really loves you, makes you feel important and special and will take care of your needs. Some of these church-going people also do the same, so don’t think you’re alone. It’s a natural feeling. The main thing is that he loves you. Don’t lose him… ‘cos you may not find another person so special.”
All the lies of the devil. The conversation he draws you into – showing you every reason to continue your new sinful lifestyle.
I guess, one way or the other, he had that conversation with Elimelech.
Because in verse 2, we see a new plan: they continued there. They remained. The strange land had become home. They felt relaxed.
We’ll be discussing what followed today:
3 And Elimelech Naomi’s husband died; and she was left, and her two sons.
4 And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years.
5 And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband.Ruth 1: 3-5
Sin Has Harvest Time
You know, when the devil flashes the savouring things you’ll get from the strange land, he won’t tell you the consequences attached. He won’t tell you that “the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6: 23)
He told Eve that her eyes will be opened. He didn’t tell her they’ll lose their fellowship with God. And will be sent away from the pleasant life they enjoyed in the garden of Eden.
The Devil always tells half stories. Just one side of the coin.
Can you think of the lies the devil dragged you into, and the bitter experiences from believing and obeying those lies. Do you see how the devil just told you a part of the story?
So what happened to Elimelech for continuing there? He died.
We weren’t told what killed him. He just died.
The wages of sin is death. How sad for Naomi and her two sons.
We don’t know if Naomi agreed to this plan of moving to Moab. Or if she just came along because her husband said so. Whatever the case was, now her husband had died. To me, that should have been a signal for her to rise with her sons and return to Bethlehem-Judah.
But oh, they remained. Not just remaining. Sin pulled them down the slope. Her two sons took them wives of the women of Moab – Orpah and Ruth.
Moab. What do you know about this nation and people?
You remember Lot, Abraham’s brother’s son, who journeyed with him, and later dwelt in Sodom and Gomorrah. And you remember how he and his family escaped from Sodom – losing his wife on the way. He was left with his two daughters.
And these ladies did something awful: each took turns to sleep with their father. The firstborn got pregnant, and bare a son called Moab. The same is the father of the Moabites unto this day. (Genesis 19: 37)
What a lineage.
But that’s not all.
The Moabites did something that made God command the Israelites to draw a line between them.
In Deuteronomy 23: 3-4 – An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the Lord for ever:
4 Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee.”
The Moabites weren’t true worshippers of God. They had their gods…
Yet, these two sons of Naomi married their women. A typical example of unequal yoke in marriage. And we see the same today. From keeping an ungodly man as just a friend, to a close friend, and the line of intimacy draws closer till you get bent on marrying him. Some girls even claim they’ll convert him to the Lord after marriage. (When did you now become the Holy Spirit that convicts of sin?)
So they got married. And what followed? Barrenness. “… and they dwelled there about ten years.) No children.
More tragedy. Mahlon and Chilion died. Oh, what sorrow Naomi… and these two wives experienced.
Again, I think of the consequences of acting against God’s will.
And on the other hand, the blessings from obeying God, and walking in His perfect will.
Where are you today?
Walking on sin’s slippery slope… as you slide down from one sin to the other.
Why not return today. (We’ll see how Naomi took that step in the next topic.)
I wish she had done it earlier. Before her husband died. Or before her beloved sons died. Even after the marriage, when she saw the lingering barrenness – a sign to ask for help from God… she would have led these daughter-in laws to God, and journeyed with them back to Bethlehelm. But she lingered. Till she lost everything!
Do you want that to happen to you?
A song we sing says:
Before the Saviour calls again
You may cry a million tears
Before He call again
You may waste precious years
He’s calling now the door is open
Come inside while you can
You may suffer needless heartache
Before He calls again
Even if you’ve not outrightly wandered into sinful lifestyles, how about other areas of your life?
Are you in the center of God’s will for your career, education, relationships, residence, business…? Those seemingly small details of life. Do you seek God’s guidance? Or do you just do what appears right to you?
Staying outside God’s will keeps you away from His Fatherly arms.
Don’t relax there.
- What ONE step did you take outside God’s will and word that has kept you in sin’s bondage today?
- From this beginning story of Naomi’s family, what do you learn about the consequences of remaining outside God’s will?
- List the areas of your life that you need God to restore you, and set you on the right track. Ask God to forgive you, help you stay in His will always.
- Memorize – Psalm 119: 10 “With my whole heart have I sought thee: Oh let me not wander from thy commandments.”