Summary: The time of the Judges have been referred to as “Israel’s Dark Ages.” Yet nestled in this awful, violent period of Israel's history is a beautiful love story. A story of romance, restoration, redemption.

Famines and Failures

Series: Sermon 1 of the book of Ruth

Chuck sligh

June 2, 2019

NOTE: A PowerPoint presentation is available for this sermon by request at Please mention the title of the sermon and the Bible text to help me find the sermon in my archives.

TEXT: Please turn in your Bibles to Ruth 1.


Today will be the first sermon in a series on the book of Ruth. Unquestionably, Ruth is one of the most beautiful and captivating books in the Bible. It is special and loved in a unique way because not only is it a splendid spiritual narrative, and a beautifully written piece of literature, but it is also an exquisite love story.

The book of Ruth takes place during the historical period of the Judges, as the author of Ruth tells us in the very first verse of Ruth. The period of the Judges was one of the darkest periods in Jewish history… a time when, as Judges 21:25 says, “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”… a time of worldliness, apostasy, sin, immorality and idolatry; a time of God’s discipline upon his wayward children, but also a time of God’s deliverance when His people repented and turned back to God.

It was in this dark, violent period of Israel’s history that a beautiful love story takes place between a man named Boaz and a woman named Ruth. The author begins the story by telling us about the family into which Ruth married, what happened to her husband, how she eventually went to mother-in-law’s land, where the love story takes place, and how this literally changed the course of history.

Today’s sermon is titled, “Famines and Failures.”

Let’s now read our text: Ruth 1:1-5 – “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 Bethlehemjudah went to live in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons. 2 And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlón and Chílion, Ephrathites of Bethlehemjudah. And they came into the country of Moab and remained there. 3 And Elimelech, Naomi's husband died; and she was left with her two sons. 4 And they married Moabitess women; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other was Ruth: and they lived there about ten years. 5 And both Mahlón and Chílion died, so that Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.”

This passage of scripture is a picture of famines and failures in the lives of believers, God’s dealings when we fail and backslide, and the consequences of wrong decisions.

I. FIRST, CONSIDER WITH ME THAT THERE WAS A FAMINE IN THE LAND. – Ruth 1:1 – “Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land.…”

In Western countries, we fortunately are no longer experience famines. But we all face personal famines in our lives, don’t we?

1) You can experience a famine in your SPIRITUAL LIFE.

We can lose the excitement of the Christian life. The old fire can fade so that we lose the thrill and joy and expectancy of earlier days serving the Lord. We find ourselves in a spiritual rut, so to speak. We don’t share our faith with the same frequency as we used to; we neglect spending time in God’s Word as we should; our prayer life becomes stale. Maybe it’s caused by sin (Psalm 51:9) or maybe God is just testing you (Psalm 13; 143), but, either way—it’s a famine.

I think we’ve all had such experiences before. What do you do when you face a famine in your spiritual life?

* First, examine your heart and confess sin.

Sin will make your spirit dry up. Confession opens the door again to close fellowship with the Lord.

* If no sin is hindering your fellowship with God, then just keep serving Christ, remain faithful, keep reading God’s Word, and keep praying.

Do all the things you are supposed to do. Yes, sometimes we face these famines from God, not because of sin in our lives, but because God is wanting to make us thirstier for Him—to cause us to cry out to Him.

2) You can also experience a famine because of SUFFERING OR SORROW.

In this world broken by sin, we cannot escape at least some of these things that can bring a famine to our souls. Perhaps you’ve been sick. Maybe pain has been your daily companion. You know what it is to hurt—to REALLY hurt and to hurt often. Or maybe you went to the doctor and he said those dreaded, terrifying words, “Cancer! Malignant!” Or perhaps you have lost a loved one in death.

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