We are suddenly transported from the scene with Orpah returning home and Ruth vowing to stay with Naomi to arriving in Naomi’s hometown, Bethlehem. There is no mention of the journey itself, which leaves me with several questions, but since it wasn’t referenced it is obviously not something that is important, so we will not dwell on it.
Bethlehem, like any small town, buzzed with the news of Naomi’s return. In other words, news traveled quickly through the village that she had returned. The women came running out wanting to see for certain that it was really Naomi. This was their friend that they hadn’t seen in years. Time had past and with all Naomi had endured, both tragedy and the journey itself, she had undoubtedly changed.
At this point in the story, Naomi just falls apart. She no longer wants to be called Naomi, which means pleasant or delight; instead she chooses a new name, Mara – bitter. However, Naomi does not stop there, no, she continues on and puts the blame all on God. Before we start throwing stones at Naomi, let’s pause for a moment. Consider the last time you felt down, defeated and just plain miserable; did you look for someone or something to place the blame on? I know that when I have been in the downward spiral of self-defeating thoughts, I would search for a reason or someone else to blame. I am not saying all of this to condone the idea of placing blame. I just want you to understand what is going on in Naomi’s mind. Now, that we have a better idea of her mindset, let’s move on.
Whether we feel bitter or not, we must remember that God loves us. Yes, we will face trials, difficult circumstances and maybe even tragedy, but we have to keep in mind that God’s “intent is never to make us bitter – only to make us better” (60). At times, it is hard to wrap our minds around this, but these are the times when we have to trust that God has everything in control.
At this point I am going to leave Naomi and shift the discussion to Ruth. She has been silent the entire time. I am not certain I could have quietly stood by while Naomi keeps saying that she returned home empty-handed. Ruth isn’t questioning her decision, she is simply waiting on the Lord because she put her trust in Him. God has changed Ruth’s heart.
As we draw a close on the first chapter of Ruth, I love how it leaves the reader with such hope. The chapter starts with a famine in the land and ends with a harvest on the horizon. Things are about to change for Ruth and Naomi. Don’t you just love that about God?
Questions to Consider:
- Are you able to still love and trust God during the times of trials and tragedies?
- Ruth is patiently waiting. How easy is it for you to wait?
- What take away do you have from Ruth 1:19-22?
First of all, I would like to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for the wonderful comments on the various blogs as well as facebook. I am thrilled that this message is touching so many women’s lives. I pray that each one of you will let your true identity in Christ shine through. This is who God made you to be – take off the mask, drop the insecurities and show the world your true identity in Him.
Melissa Taylor’s winner – firstname.lastname@example.org
Donna Bostick’s winner – BJ (sorry I don’t have a last name or email)
- You have both won a copy of my book, Get REAL. Be sure to email me your name and address, so I can get the book in the mail to you.
I also have a winner for my Starbuck’s gift card – Lori Krause Austin
- Lori please email or message me your address, so I can mail this out to you.