R uth 1:1-6
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 sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons. And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehem-judah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there. And Elimelech Naomi's husband died; and she was left, and her two sons. And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years. And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband. 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 how that the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread.
What a paradox! There was a famine in the land. The land is Canaan, the promised land. The land of mountains and valleys, the land of milk and honey, the land of grapes so enormous that two men had to carry one bunch, the land of plenty, the land that many assert is a picture of heaven: and it isgripped by famine! The very thought is unthinkable.
And yet the New Testament parallel fares no better.
Amos 8:11-13 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord,and shall not find it. In that day shall the fair virgins and the young men faint for thirst.
Think of it! A famine of the hearing of the words of the Lord. And yet how very true this is today.
There are "revivals", "moves of God", and "refreshings" in signs, wonders and miracles. There is an abundance of "visions", "dreams", "prophecies", and "God speaking to people", yet a dearth in hearing the words of the Lord.
The famine came in a time when the judges ruled: a period immediately prior to the establishing of the prophets and kings. (A king in the Old Testament equates with an apostle in the New Testament).
Apostles and prophets, together with the Lord Jesus Christ, form the foundation of the Christian Church.
Ephesians 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
What an accurate picture of this day. The judges are ruling. Every one is doing his own thing. Myriads of voices and echoes sound throughout the land. Confusion reigns supreme.
Judges 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
Bethlehem-judah means the house of bread and praise.
Elimelech: My God is King
Naomi: My Delight, Pleasant
Moab: of His Father
Elimelech died. Mahlon died. Chilion died.
Ruth's husband died! Now she is free to marry another.
Romans 7:1-4 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? For the woman which hath a husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from the law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
Our first husband (firstborn nature) is dead. We have been set free to marry another.
Colossians 3:3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
Naomi, Orpah and Ruth returned to Bethlehem-judah. They had heard in the country of Moab how that the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread.
This was a visitation! It was not times of refreshing. It was not mercy drops. It was not seasons of renewal. It was a visitation. It was a visitation of bread!
God has not visited His people with bread since 1948.
Bread is a symbol of the Word of God.
Matthew 4:4 Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Hebrews 6:1-3 [Ampl. Vsn] Therefore, let us go on and get past the elementary stage in the teachings and doctrine of Christ (the Messiah), advancing steadily toward the completeness and perfection that belong to spiritual maturity. Let us not again be laying the foundation of repentance and abandonment of dead works (dead formalism) and of the faith [by which you turned] to God. With teachings about purifying, the laying on of hands, the resurrection from the dead, and eternal judgment and punishment. [These are all matters of which you should have been fully aware long, long ago.] If indeed God permits, we will [now] proceed [to advanced teaching].