Most of us are familiar with the Book and story of Ruth. But most of us have more in common with Ruth’s mother-in-law, Naomi. Life had not been very good to Naomi. She had moved to a strange land (Moab) with her husband. She had two sons, both of whom married “local” girls (Moabites), one of them being Ruth. Naomi’s husband and both of her sons died, leaving her with two daughters-in-law, no grandchildren and no relatives in the area. Naomi decided to return to her native Judah simply in an effort to survive.
Although Naomi encouraged both of the daughters-in-law to stay with their families, Ruth returned with her to Bethlehem.
When the two women arrived in Bethlehem, the people said “Can this be Naomi?” (Naomi means pleasant))
|20 “Dont call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. 21 I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The LORD has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.” (Ruth 1:20-21)|
(Mara means bitter.)
Oh how easy it is to feel like Naomi when life deals us what seems an unfair or wicked turn. We, too, feel that God has abandoned us, brought misfortune on us. Do we understand God’s plan for us? God said “Your name is Naomi, Naomi you will remain.”
As the Book of Ruth tells us, Ruth married Boaz and bore him a son. And in Ruth 4:16-17 we again see Naomi, a happy, fulfilled Naomi:
|16 Then Naomi took the child in her arms and cared for him. 17 The women living there said, “Naomi has a son!” And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David. (Ruth 4:16-17)|
David, son of Jesse, son of Obed, son of Boaz, husband of Ruth. David, King of Israel. Jesus of the House of David. Jesus, the Son of God.
God has a plan for each of us. The achievement of that plan may bring bitterness if we aren’t careful.
Do you want to be a Naomi or a Mara?
It’s not an easy choice sometimes, but it is a choice.
Alive in The Word