“In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land” (Ruth 1:1)
The book of Ruth is set in the days when judges governed the people of Israel, before they had a king. The book of Judges describes this period at length. It was characterized by spiritual decay. The people turned their backs on God and the land fell into chaos. “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25).
It is not by chance that there was a famine in those days. The Lord had already warned of this when the Israelites entered their land. If the people would serve Him, they would be blessed abundantly. Their land would provide plenty of food. But if they left the Lord and went to serve other gods, all these blessings would be turned into curses. God would cause the people to suffer from famine, disease, and enemies — with the goal that they would return to Him.
This Bible story connects natural events with God’s intervention. Do you believe that God controls things on earth? Do you see similarities between the time in which the book of Ruth plays out, and our own time?