The Book of Ruth is a wonderful story of a converted heathen maiden who won the heart of her earthly lord. I believe it is a prophetic story, a message that speaks powerfully to us today. For we win Christ in the same way that Ruth won Boaz!
But this story is more than just historic! Paul writes: “Now all these things happened unto them for examples; and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come” (1 Corinthians 10:11).
The story of Ruth begins with these words: “There was a famine in the land” (Ruth 1:1). Thus the Israelite Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, fled Judah for Moab. Elimelech died there, and Naomi’s two sons married heathen wives, Orpah and Ruth. They remained in Moab for another ten years.
But Moab was a place of idolatry—the congregation of the wicked, the seat of the scornful. Moab himself, after whom the region was named, was born of an incestuous relationship between Lot and one of his daughters. In fact, the name “Moab” stands for fornication. It was he who seduced Israel in the wilderness, after which 24,000 died from a plague. God forbade the Israelites to marry Moabite women, “for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods” (1 Kings 11:2).
In the spirit realm, this very same thing happens when a famine of God’s Word occurs: God’s people turn toward the world, yield to the seduction of idolatry, and mix with the ungodly. This kind of famine drives believers elsewhere to find something to satisfy their inner needs.
Christians today grow cold and backslide because they are not receiving true spiritual food. They go to church, but the cupboard is bare. The preaching they hear is shallow—no meat, no living water—just entertainment. Starvation abounds right in God’s house!
This is why our churches are being overrun with adultery, divorce, rock and roll, unbiblical psychology, a New Age gospel—with our young people using drugs and becoming promiscuous. The famine in the church has driven them to Moab, the place of idolatry. And Moab is a place where young men die, just as Naomi’s sons had died in Moab!