We have recently started a study at my church titled
“The best is yet to come” from the book of Ruth.
The “best is yet to come” encourages us to believe there are better times are ahead. It might sound cheesy to some, a great slogan but hard to believe. I think my pastor summed up we most often think, “It’s hard to think sometimes the best is yet to come, instead we wonder what will happen next”. This is where we find Naomi the mother-in-law of Ruth. The story begins like this:
“A man from Bethlehem, which ironically means “place of bread,” left his home in Judah to live as a foreigner in the land of Moab. He traveled with his wife and their two sons. His name was Elimelech, and his wife was Naomi; their two sons were called Mahlon and Chilion. They were descendants of Ephraim’s tribe from Bethlehem in Judah. They had settled and made lives for themselves in Moab, but soon after, Elimelech died leaving Naomi in the care of her sons. Each son married a woman from Moab—one was named Orpah, the other Ruth—and they lived together for 10 years before Mahlon and Chilion died also. Naomi was left alone, without her husband and two sons. Ruth 1:1-5
Not a good place to be, alone in a foreign land, the only family you have, two daughter-in-laws whose husbands are dead also, and no one left to provide for you. Naomi with not a lot of options left, decides to return to Bethlehem. One daughter in law Orpah remains behind, Ruth insists on returning with Naomi.
“ The two women went on together to Bethlehem. News of their arrival spread throughout Bethlehem. In fact, the whole community was humming with the report, with the women exclaiming, “Could it really be the same Naomi who left us so long ago?” Naomi: Do not call me Naomi ever again, for I am no longer pleasant.
Call me Mara instead, for I am filled with bitterness because the Highest One[ has treated me bitterly”. Ruth 1:19-21 (There is a Hebrew wordplay here from Naomi, “pleasant,” to Mara, “bitterness.”*)
Naomi in her pain and discouragement blames God for her circumstances. But in spite of these feelings she does the best thing she can do. She returns home. My pastor provides insight into Naomi’s response that can give us wisdom and understanding in our times of trouble.
“Wherever you are, whatever you have done, the best thing you can do is come home to God’s people and the place of His provision”.
Her decision to return home was the beginning of God’s plan for Naomi and for Ruth. I love the way the Message translates what happens next: “It so happened that Naomi had a relative by marriage, a man prominent and rich, connected with Elimelech’s family. His name was Boaz.” Ruth 2:1
Because of this godly man Boaz, the kinsman redeemer, Naomi was provided for in a culture where a widow with no husband or sons would have little chance. Boaz through his unselfish care for Ruth and their eventual marriage sets in motion a lineage that would include the king of Israel David, and eventually the King of Kings, Jesus Christ Matthew 1
Maybe you find yourself in a similar place today. Poor decisions may have brought you to a place where “the best is yet to come” seems unlikely. Maybe in your confusion and discouragement, you find yourself bitter and angry at God as Naomi was. But despite these feelings do the best thing you can do. Go home.
Gods love and care, His grace, overshadows our mistakes. He is at work even when we cannot see it. ** When we have made poor choices, when we don’t understand, even when we are angry at God, the best thing we can do is return home.
God in His providence is working in the lives of those who trust Him. “The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives”.
He can cause everything, even the mistakes in our lives to work for good.
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them”. ***Romans 8:28
In these promises we find assurance that no matter where we find our self, no matter what the reason for our circumstances, we can always go home.
The best really is yet to come.