The next crisis faced by Naomi and her family was that of distrust, unbelief, apostasy. Naomi’s family included her husband, Elimelech, and their two sons, Mahlon and Kilion. Because of the famine, Naomi and her husband forsook the promised land to live in Moab. This was a clear symbol of turning away from God, of turning to the world. How can this be said? Because they abandoned the people of God and their inheritance, the promised land of God. They turned away to live among the enemy, in the land of the enemy.
Warren W. Wiersbe says this:He [Elimelech] honored the enemy and not the LORD. By going fifty miles to the neighboring land of Moab, Elimelech and his family abandoned God’s land and God’s people for the land and the people of the enemy. The Moabites were descendents of Lot from his incestuous union with his firstborn daughter (Genesis 19:30-38). And they were the Jews’ enemies because of the way they had treated Israel during their pilgrim journey from Egypt to Canaan (Deuteronomy 23:3-6; Numbers 22:25). During the time of the Judges, Moab had invaded Israel and ruled over the people of Israel for eighteen years (Judges 3:12-14); so why should Elimelech turn to them for help? They were a proud people (Isaiah 16:6) whom God disdained. “Moab is my wash pot,” said the LORD (Psalms 60:8, KJV), a picture of a humiliated nation washing the feet of the conquering soldiers….The name Elimelech means “my God is king.” But the LORD was not king in Elimelech’s life, for he left God completely out of his decisions. He made a decision out of God’s will when he went to Moab.
Naomi and Elimelech had already received their inheritance in Canaan, the promised land of God. But here they were abandoning, forsaking their inheritance and the promises of God. They failed to trust God, to trust His care and provision during this crisis. God had promised to take care of His people no matter what they had to face. But Naomi and her husband were gripped by a spirit of unbelief and distrust. They were not living closely enough to the LORD to lay claim to His promises, to believe His Word, that He would do exactly what He had promised. Consequently, they turned away from the people of God and abandoned their inheritance. They chose to live in the world among the enemies of God. Naomi and Elimelech’s crisis of distrust and unbelief led to apostasy.
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