We’ve all had to deal with hard things but it seems in recent days things have been especially hard on women. To me when you marry and become a Mom you open your heart up to a whole new level of happiness and possibly pain. Our spouses and children are a source of happiness but losing them brings great pain that is almost unbearable. Sadly I’ve known people who have been in both situations and are hurting deeply.
A few weeks ago we had a lesson about Naomi and Ruth in our after-school Bible club.
In the very first chapter of the book of Ruth we learn that there was a famine in the land of Judah. Naomi and her husband Elimelek moved with their sons, Mahlon and Killion, to Moab. Elimelek died leaving Naomi with her two sons in a foreign land. The sons married Moabite women, Orpah and Ruth. Naomi then lost both of her sons, the young women were also widowed.
Besides grieving their losses they were faced with a dilemma… how to support themselves.
Naomi heard that the Lord was providing food for His people so the women set out to return to Judah. Then she encouraged her daughters-in-law to go back to their families praying that the Lord would bless them with husbands. The women wept aloud then Orpah kissed Naomi good-bye but Ruth asked that Naomi would not make her leave speaking the word often included in weddings:
“Entreat me not to leave you,
Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go;
And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
And your God, my God.
Where you die, I will die,
And there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also,
If anything but death parts you and me.”
Ruth 1: 16-17
When Naomi saw how determined Ruth was to go with her she stopped urging her to leave.
They arrived in Bethlehem the women who knew her asked, “Can this be Naomi?” She was grieved deeply and told them not to call her Naomi, but Mara “because the Lord Almighty has made me bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me: the Lord Almighty has brought misfortune on me.” Verses 20-21
Not to diminish the severity of their troubles I’d like to interject this:
Naomi and her family left Judah “full” of themselves in my opinion. He did bring her back “empty” of herself. God did not afflict Naomi, He didn’t bring misfortune on her although He did allow these troubles to befall her. He sometimes allows us to come to the end of ourselves as in the case of the Prodigal Son so we will return to Him.
They returned at the beginning of the barley harvest. The Lord had instructed His people to leave some grain in the fields for the poor to glean. Ruth went to the fields to pick up the leftovers in the field of Boaz, who turned out to be a relative of Elimelek.
Long story short, Boaz fell in love with Ruth and married her. He was Ruth and Naomi’s kinsman redeemer. To Boaz and Ruth was born Obed. Obed had a son named Jesse. Jesse had a son named David who became king of Israel and through whose lineage Jesus came.
God brought Naomi back home to Bethlehem with Ruth, a Moabite woman who choose to be faithful to Naomi and God. He used Ruth to fulfill prophesies of the Old Testament concerning the Messiah. The story is a foreshadowing of what Christ did for those who would put their faith in Him.
Dear Sister, always remember that the Lord sees the hard things you are walking through now. He will not waste any of your sufferings. He has a plan to redeem your sufferings for good.
I’d like to invite you to read through the book of Ruth and ask the Lord to bring you His comfort and peace through His word, through His Holy Spirit.