Hope Deferred

Elimelech had a fine name.  It meant ‘my God is King’.  The only problem is that he did not live out the reality of his name.  Elimelech and his wife, Naomi lived in Bethlehem.  Bethlehem literally means ‘the place of God’s provision’.  Naomi means ‘pleasant’.  She just wanted to be pleasant and not cause problems and just go with the flow.  Elimelech should have been the spiritual leader of the home, but he wasn’t.  Naomi went along with everything Elimelech did or didn’t do.  She could have made gentle appeals, however, there is no evidence to suggest that Naomi ever said anything to Elimelech about the spiritual direction of their home.

Lim and Naomi had two sons.  Evidently, Lim already felt guilty about where his life was headed. He named the first son, Mahlon which means ‘I am weak’  He named his second son, Chilion which means ‘I am a failure’.  Through a gradual process of not regarding spiritual issues, Lim had failed to live up to what a child of God was supposed to do.

This family was living in Bethlehem, the place of God’s provision, when a famine hit the land. So what did Lim do when a famine hit?  He should have stayed put in the place of God’s provision.  He should have waited for God’s provision, but he didn’t.   He moved his whole family to the land of Moab.

Psalm 108:9 Moab is my washpot. Old Testament Jews were extremely concerned with cleanliness. Wearing sandals in the hot and dusty environment, their feet would become filthy and, upon entering a home, would be washed. In their cleansing and purification rituals they would not put their feet into a bowl, but instead  they held their feet over the bowl and poured clean water over them.  The bowl, or washpot, would be used to catch the filthy water and therefore was a symbol of disgusting filthiness. The phrase “Moab is my washpot” alludes to God’s contempt for this enemy of Israel.  We learn from Jeremiah that God was displeased with the nation of Moab because of her pride and conceit.

Lim did not stay with God and His provision but he ran to the world…to Moab.  We do the same thing when we make decisions without consulting God or when we fail to wait on God’s answer.  The consequences of this decision are always disastrous.  Lim’s two boys married Moab girls which was strictly forbidden by God.  Then Lim and his two sons both died in Moab leaving Naomi and two daughters-in-law as widows.

Forced to make a decision, Naomi decided to go back to Bethlehem. She encouraged her daughters-in-law to return to their family and relatives in Moab, but Ruth was committed to  Naomi and went to Bethlehem with her.  At some point in time, Naomi remembered  the principle of the ‘kinsman redeemer’  which stated that, in the event of  a death of a husband, the nearest male relative to the deceased would step in and take care of the widow.  Naomi clung to this promise for Ruth.  Look at the advice she gave to Ruth:  Ruth 3:18 Then she said, “Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out; for the man will not rest until he has concluded the matter this day.”   She told her to wait for the ‘kinsman redeemer’.  Ruth waited and eventually married Boaz, her kinsman redeemer.  She waited for God to provide and as a result, God rewarded her by allowing her to be the great grandmother of David, which is a privileged position in the lineage of Jesus Christ!

Remember the verse we mentioned last week on Friday of Passion week:  Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick.  It is true that a lengthy wait on God can make the heart sick.   I did not give you all that verse  Here it is:  Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick,  but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.  If the object hoped for  is delayed for any length of time, the mind becomes uneasy, the heart sinks, and the man is dispirited and ready to give up all hope of enjoying the desired blessing.  But  when that which has long been hoped for finally comes, it is as good as the tree of life was in Eden’s garden; it gives an unspeakable pleasure and delight.

Those of us who are heart sick must keep waiting on God,  for the desire will come!!!!

We love yall.

Billy and Sheilah Daws

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