Elimelech's Departure and Death
Ruth 1:3
And Elimelech Naomi's husband died; and she was left, and her two sons.

I. THE CAUSE OF HIS DEPARTURE. "There was a famine in the land." Famine cometh from God. It was threatened in the Mosaic law, as a punishment from Heaven for disobedience and sin (Leviticus 26:18-20). See how many arrows Jehovah hath in His quiver! In how many ways He can wither our comforts — blast our enjoyments. See how dependent we are upon Him. If famine and its calamitous consequences be occasioned by sin, let us be thankful to God that they are not inflicted upon us. We cannot deny that our sins are great and numerous, considering the precious advantages we enjoy. Still God loadeth us daily with His benefits. "He hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities." Let us learn to be thankful. Let us flee to the Redeemer's Cross for pardon, on account of our past forgetfulness of God. If famine and its accompanying horrors were experienced so frequently in the land of promise, we may gather that we cannot be free from adversities in any station or in any portion of the earth. When we are encompassed by difficulties — when we are ready to wish that we were in the situation of some of our neighbours, did we but know how bitter the ingredients which the hand of Providence not unfrequently puts into their cups, we should murmur less at our own crosses, and endure with a more satisfied mind our own tribulations. Let us learn, then, to be satisfied with the station which Providence has assigned us, and seek for relief under the trials which are inseparable from it, in the holy Word of God. Religion is the only effectual soother of human woe. It does not, indeed, remove miseries from those who are under its hallowing dominion, but it mixes the sweet with the bitter, so as to render the burden supportable. By directing the eye of the troubled Christian to that heavenly Benefactor who was suspended for him on the Cross, and thereby opened for him a way to the realms of unending blessedness, it deprives the trials of this temporary scene of much of their bitterness, and imparts new energy to the sinking soul. Again, if the sore effects of famine were felt in Canaan, while there was abundance in Moab — if Israelites suffered want, when Egyptians, and Philistines, and Moabites suffered it not — the possession of many earthly comforts is no evidence of spiritual safety, no sure sign of Divine favour and love. The only heaven which the despisers of the Saviour shall enjoy lies on this side the tomb; therefore they often receive more of the blessings of Providence than the heirs of glory.

II. WHITHER ELIMELECH DIRECTED HIS COURSE when he departed from Canaan. By this conduct this man evinced too great a regard for terrestrial bliss, and too little for that which is heavenly. He slighted Divine ordinances and the privileges of the Lord's sanctuary. The grace of God has, indeed, enabled His servants to keep their garments clean in the midst of the greatest pollutions, as Joseph in Egypt and Obadiah in the household of wicked Ahab; still it is oftener the case, under such circumstances, that the Christian suffers more of evil than he imparts of good. "The companion of fools shall be destroyed." "Lead us not into temptation." If intercourse with the ungodly be so replete with danger, let us carefully avoid it.

III. WHAT BECAME OF ELIMELECH IN HIS NEW DWELLING-PLACE? "And Elimelech Naomi's husband died, and she was left, and her two sons." We are not informed how soon he died; but that he finished his life shortly after his settlement there is clear from his death happening before that of his two sons, who lived only ten years after their arrival in Moab. How short the period he escaped from the pressure of famine in the land of his nativity! And if he had greater abundance of earthly comforts in his new habitation, how quickly were they all taken from him! If he had remained in the land of religious advantages, he would not have had to sustain adversities and hardships there long. Rather than resort to unlawful, or even questionable, measures, to get rid of our troubles, we ought to implore aid from heaven, that we may "endure" the "chastening" of the Lord — that we may bear the afflictions which His providence allots to us with patience and humility — being fully persuaded that our heavenly Parent doeth all things well — and likewise with earnest supplications for the accompanying influences of the Divine Spirit, by which they become greatly instrumental in meetening our souls for the habitations of the blessed. Learn:

1. That adversities and troubles should not be allowed to weigh too heavily on our minds.

2. That we should be very moderate in our estimation of, and desire for, earthly blessings.

(John Hughes.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And Elimelech Naomi's husband died; and she was left, and her two sons.

WEB: Elimelech, Naomi's husband, died; and she was left, and her two sons.

Comfort in Bereavement
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