The Gospel of Ruth - Naomi
We’re inviting you to read Ruth as a whole piece each week. Curl up with the Good Book for some quality time with God this week. Listen to this tragic happily ever after story from a different perspective each week and see what new thing you hear from God. Make a new observation, connection, thanksgiving, WOW!, Ahaa! We’ll give you some of ours for a kick start. Turn those thoughts into a conversation with God and petitions for others. This week we’re listening for the perspective of Naomi. She has a rough journey but shows us so much about Hesed faithfulness and Ezer helping even when without apparent resources.
Naomi has had it rough! She moves from her home to a foreign land and then her husband and two sons die. Given these circumstances, it would be easy for anyone to lose hope and Naomi did lose hope. Her words are full of despair, “… call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter.” But God is not a God of despair, but of hope. God sends Ruth to work in the field of their kinsman-redeemer. This is a turning point for Naomi. She sees the light and hope of God. Are you in the midst of despair like Naomi? Take heart, my friend, God is there. He has never left you. Pray that He reveals Himself in a huge way, like He did for Naomi.
Naomi exemplifies our “status” in this fallen world. She is overwhelmed with negatives: she is a woman, a widow, an outsider, homeless, destitute. We too find ourselves in a hopeless situation, needing help and redemption. By our very nature, we are homeless, outsiders and hopeless. We need redemption and rescue. As did Boaz, God offers all of this and more. He gives us His identity, promises us a heavenly home, gives us His kind of riches – life and light - and offers us redemption. What does He want from us? Naomi showed us: Faith and Faithfulness. These lead to others – selflessness, kindness, loyalty and love. May we embrace all He gives. Only in this will we too find new life, grace and redemption.
“Job like loss" (as in the Old Testament) would not be an overstatement seeing the incalculable loss Naomi endured. She lost her home land (her roots and identity), her husband (her future and security), her two sons (last hope for security and keeping the family line intact), and one cherished daughter in law (she sent her away for her own good)! God, make me sensitive to other’s losses.
In a moment of incredible honesty toward God, Naomi poured out her broken heart, clearly saying “God has dealt hard with me.” “I went away full and came back empty.” There was no hesitation to express the depths of her disappointment with the God of her fathers and the total depth of her pain! In greeting long lost friends back home in Bethlehem, her agony exploded as she blurted out “Don’t call me Naomi (pleasant), call me Mara (bitter)." No stiff upper lip approach here. Naomi clearly saw God as the cause of her misery and said so, even as a woman of faith! Do I speak so honestly with God?
In the middle of all this loss, Naomi’s insurmountable trust in her God remained. Naomi felt useless and used up! She voiced her complaints clearly! But she was able to respond when she realized God showed up! God showed up graciously by using the community He had placed around her to bring her to a life of clear purpose. God never considered her worthless! When He worked through her family ties, she responded with great trust in His guiding hand. The trust that lay dormant and buried under extreme pain and loss re-emerged as God graciously showed her she still had a God-given mission and was still a part of the big things God is doing in this world.
I pray for strength of faith like Naomi, should my life situation every approximate hers even a little.