WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
SEPTEMBER 20, 2021
TOPIC: DIVINE LOCATION
BY T. O. BANSO
“Then Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died; and she was left, and her two sons. Now they took wives of the women of Moab: the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth. And they dwelt there about ten years. Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died; so the woman survived her two sons and her husband” (Ruth 1:3-5 New King James Version).
The beginning of the problem for Naomi and her two daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth, was the decision by Elimelech to relocate to Moab because there was a famine in Bethlehem.
Elimelech means “my God is King” and Bethlehem means the “house of Bread” Unfortunately, Elimelech probably could not believe his God who is King to provide for him and keep him throughout the period of the famine in a land that God had committed Himself to make provision available.
Sometimes even in “the house of bread” there may be a shortage of bread! That is not a reason for us to quit. Your present condition may contradict God’s promise – that is not a reason to give up on God; that it is a temporary condition.
Ruth 1:1-2 says, “Now it came to pass, in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem, Judah, went to dwell in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech, the name of his wife was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion — Ephrathites of Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to the country of Moab and remained there” (New King James Version).
We should be careful that we don’t leave our safety no matter the temporary hardship for a so-called greener pasture that has green snakes under it! Indeed, there was bread in Moab, an idol-worshipping nation, but it was also a nation that harboured death.
Ruth 1:3-5 says, “Then Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died; and she was left, and her two sons. Now they took wives of the women of Moab: the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth. And they dwelt there about ten years. Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died; so the woman survived her two sons and her husband” (New King James Version).
Shouldn’t it have been better to suffer a temporary lack and hunger and be alive to eat abundance when the famine is over than to eat only for a brief period in the land of abundance and die prematurely?
Paul said, “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:12-13 New King James Version).
Unfortunately, some children of God don’t know how to starve even if only for a short time; they only know how to enjoy plenty! They are quick to quote scriptures to tell you that there is no suffering for them in Jesus’ name! Such a position contradicts the Christian life that the Bible promises us and which the apostles lived.
Elimelech and his two sons ate and died. What a tragedy! The problem of that family was that they were outside divine location; they could, therefore, not enjoy divine protection. But God is a faithful God. He still kept Naomi alive to hear that the famine, which made the family flee to Moab, was over; the Lord had visited Bethlehem once again and blessed His people.
That is usually what will happen to us if we can put our faith in God if we can wait on God. The famine will not destroy us though it may bring temporary hardship. Paul prayed, “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you” (1 Peter 5:10 New King James Version).
Naomi did not just wake up, pack her baggage, and return to Bethlehem. She decided to return having heard that the Lord had visited Bethlehem. “Then she arose with her daughters-in-law that she might return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the country of Moab that the LORD had visited His people by giving them bread” (Ruth 1:6 New King James Version).
Some people today move from place to place without hearing from God. They are at the mercy of the vagaries of life. Your situation will not change just because you are tired of your current experience, and you decide to move to the next place that catches your fancy. Your situation will not change by changing your location.
Has God said your time is up where you are? Have you found out whether your current discomfort is a divine sign that God wants you to move forward? If yes, have you confirmed where God wants you to move to? It is not all that glitters that is gold. Remember that Moab was good, and that was why Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, decided to relocate there but he didn’t see premature death there. But he and his two children died in Moab.
Have you forgotten about Jericho? Anyone looking at Jericho would conclude that it was a good place to live in but that would be deceptive. Any prospective immigrant would change his mind after hearing the elders of the city. “Then the men of the city said to Elisha, ‘Please notice, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord sees; but the water is bad, and the ground barren’” (2 Kings 2:19 New King James Version). Who wants to live in a barren or unproductive land?
Things never changed until the man of God, Elisha, stepped in to perform a miracle redeeming the destiny of that land. “And he said, ‘Bring me a new bowl, and put salt in it.’ So they brought it to him. Then he went out to the source of the water, and cast in the salt there, and said, ‘Thus says the LORD: I have healed this water; from it there shall be no more death or barrenness.’ So the water remains healed to this day, according to the word of Elisha which he spoke” (2 Kings 2:20-22 New King James Version).
Naomi returned to Bethlehem not because she was tired of living in Moab because of the frustration of the vicissitudes of life but because she had heard that the Lord had visited Bethlehem once again and had blessed His people.
Make sure you hear from God before you relocate. Don’t wake up one day and relocate. Things won’t just change because you have changed your location. You have to be at the right place at the right time doing the right thing. Lot chose by sight. He chose for himself all the plain of Jordan and journeyed east (Genesis 13:11). He ended up dwelling in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent as far as Sodom whose men were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the LORD. Lot was wrongly located.
Lot’s uncle, Abraham, had to intervene to rescue him after he had been captured along with others by the armies that attacked Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 14:1-16). Also, probably because Lot was living in Sodom, Abraham showed interest in the city and interceded to God not to destroy the righteous with the wicked (Genesis 18:16-33).
Eventually, the city together with Gomorrah was destroyed because God could not find ten righteous people there. However, Lot and his two daughters were saved but his wife became a pillar of salt because she looked back contrary to the instruction of the angels that rescued them (Genesis 19:15-26). Don’t choose by sight; be guided by the Holy Spirit.
If you’re not sure that you’re where God wants you to be, go to God in prayer today and ask Him for divine direction. Relocation should always be in light of divine location. The will of God is most important.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, help me to always seek and do Your will. Let me be clear about Your will. Deliver me from making decisions without finding out Your will or by acting contrary to Your will that You have revealed. I shall not relocate outside of the divine location in Jesus’ name.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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