Sermon in a nutshell: Ruth 1:1-5 “There was a famine in the land.”
God wants us to have an abundant life. We should enjoy all the things that God provides for us. However, many times we do not have such joy in our lives. Why? What went wrong? Where did it start?
The Bible says that “there was a famine in the land.” This is a statement that describes the situation of many people. The land was called Bethlehem. Do you know what the word, Bethlehem, means? It is a combination of Beth (house) and Lehem (bread). Bethlehem is the “house of bread.” In other words, there was a famine in the house of bread! It was an irony.
We have to find out why there was a famine in the house of bread. The Bible says that it was the time “when the judges ruled.” When the judges ruled, people did not believe in God. Actually the last verse of Judges describes the characteristics of the times like this: “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.” (Judges 21:25)
Actually, there was a king in Israel. Israel always treated God as their King. God was the King. So the last verse of the Judges actually means that even though God was the King of the Israelites, they did not regard God as their king and they did as they saw fit. They did whatever they wanted to do, ignoring God’s words! The consequences? “There was a famine in the land.”
Sometimes a financial crisis comes when we stray from God’s will. A lack of resources can be one of the symptoms of a broken relationship with God. When we do not live according to God’s words, we may face a financial crisis.
When our relationship with God is broken, we lose more than just sustenance. In the case of Elimelech, he had to leave his hometown and go Moab. Moab was a place that the Israelites did not want to go to. Israel and Moab were enemies. They did not get along well historically. The Israelites did not want to live with the Moabites. If we consider this historical context, we can say that Elimelech was really desperate. The whole family had to go to a place where they did not want to go.
Here is another irony. Elimelech is also a combination of Eli (my God) and Melech (king). Elimelech means “My God is King!” This concept was carried to Moab! The faith (that is, Elimelech) left Israel! Not only that! He died there! And his two sons “Mahlon and Kilion” also died there after ten years. And his wife, Naomi (which means Joy) was left without a husband and sons. Joy was not joyful!
Naomi left her hometown and lost her past. She also lost her husband and faced hardship in a foreign land. Her two sons died and she did not have a future. She was helpless and hopeless. That is the situation of a people whose relationship with God is broken.
How can we reverse this situation? We cannot transform the world all at once. However, we can start with ourselves. We can first reconnect ourselves with God and start from there. So, how can we reconnect ourselves with God? That is the theme for next Sunday’s sermon. We will explore the topic next Sunday. However, during this week, I want you all to reflect on your relationship with God. Do you follow God as your King? Do you live according to God’s words?
Let us spread this principle and words to others so that they can have an abundant life.
- What is a practical way for you to express that you believe that God is your King?
- What have you experienced when your relationship with God is shaken?