“Now it came to pass…that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehemjudah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.” (Ruth 1:1)
The story of Ruth is a beautiful picture of Christ’s love for His church. It is a story of redemption. Redemption can only take place if something is lost. The book of Ruth begins with a family who is experiencing a great loss as a result of a famine. Let’s look at this story and see how we should respond when we encounter a “spiritual” famine.
FIRST—The REASON for the FAMINE.
When it seems you are experiencing a spiritual famine, before running away from it, stop and examine what may be causing it. (v.1) tells us this happened “in the days when the judges ruled.” This was a time of about 400 years where there was turmoil in the land. In fact, the last verse in the book of Judges says, “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”
The fact that this family moved to Moab, tells us there was no famine there at that time, even though Moab was a wicked place. So if Moab was also wicked, but was not experiencing a famine, it is a good indication that Israel’s famine was a judgment from God on their sin. When a famine comes into your life, take some time to examine your life to see if there could be a reason why God would send it.
SECOND—The REACTION of the FATHER.
(v.1) says it was “a certain man” who led “his wife, and his two sons” away from the land of promise into a far country, much like the prodigal son did. Fathers, it is up to us to wait and get our guidance from God, not impatiently move our families on a whim just because circumstances are not favorable. He may have been trying to lead them away from a famine, but without thinking, he led them into a more wicked environment. Dad, it is up to you to make sure you keep your family living around God’s blessings, in the land of promise.
THIRD—The RESULT for the FAMILY.
Notice what happened next. (v.3) says that the father died and (v.5) says that both sons died, too! How sad to think that the very reason he moved his family there was in hopes of saving them during the famine. But, what a lesson we can learn from this! It is far better to remain in the land of promise where God has put us (even during a famine) than to try and make it by living among the ungodly. The famine would have only affected them physically. But the move to wicked Moab affected them both physically AND spiritually!
How sad when a family no longer thinks they need church. Something happens at church they don’t agree with (a famine), and they uproot their family and get out of church altogether!
Listen, don’t run from the place where God has put you. Sure, a famine may come. But just stay faithful where you are until God tells you it’s time to move, because the famine won’t last forever.