Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 92:1
Read the “0328 Evening and Morning” devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?” – (Ruth 1:20-21)
“And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the LORD, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel. And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him.” – (Ruth 4:14 & 15)
Did you ever have a day like the man in the picture is having. Nothing seems to go as you wanted it to. Sometimes life is that way, and often it may be more than just a day that goes poorly; it may be many days, even years. But hang in there. Stay faithful. Don’t lose hope. God may just turn things around.
I have read this story of Ruth and Naomi many times, but every time I have written or preached on the subject my focus would either be on Ruth or Boaz, the kinsman redeemer. However, this morning I got to thinking about Naomi. Naomi was a great lady, who in many ways was a victim of circumstance. Things just didn’t work out for her in life as she had probably hoped and dreamed they would. I can relate to that. Sometimes I reflect on my own life and wish that I could re-do some things; perhaps make some better choices. Hindsight always reveals the wisdom of our choices. Anyway, Naomi left the land of Canaan with her husband and two sons many years prior to the time of our text. They intended only to sojourn in the land of Moab for a short time, until the famine was over in their homeland. I appears that they stayed a lot longer than they intended. While living in Moab, her two sons marry women from Moab, which was also not according to God’s perfect plan because these women were not worshippers of the God of Israel. To make matters worse, her husband, and both of her sons die while she is there. Now she is left in a strange land with two daughters-in-law that were in many ways still strangers to her.
Naomi is faced with a decision. Life is not working out for her in Moab, and she realizes she needs to get back to her people; to the worship of her God. Good decision. But what was she to do with her daughters-in-law? She understands that feel obligated to her, and in a very real way, both of them had become very attached to her. She must have demonstrated much love toward them, because both of them loved her; and one of them (Ruth) was willing to forsake her own happiness in order to go with Naomi. In facy, Ruth was willing to become a worshipper of Naomi’s God. It appears that Naomi represented her God very well.
The point of all of this is that though Naomi didn’t make all of the right decisions through the years, and although things did not work out for her as she would have hoped, God was still very gracious to her, and was willing to use her. She left Canaan full: full of dreams and full of hope. She left Moab empty: empty of a husband, empty of her sons, and empty of material possessions; but she did have Ruth. God had graciously given her a wonderful daughter-in-law in, Ruth, who proved to be more of a blessing to her than her sons ever were. I bet if there were another chapter to the Book of Ruth we would hear Naomi say, “change my name back to Naomi, I was ‘Mara’ for a while, but things are looking up.
Can you notice a pattern here that you and I can relate to? Life sometimes starts with hopes, dreams, and ambitions. They rarely work out the way we want them to. We make many mistakes along the way that further complicate things. But, God just may turn our lives around before it’s all over. We may find that delight (Naomi means delight) after all; and it may just come through an unexpected source. Don’t lose hope. Keep following God. Better days are coming.
Posted in Thoughts from Ruth by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.