Last night at church, our "Women of the Word" group, began a new Bible study on the Book of Ruth. For this first week, we focused our study on Ruth 1. I could not believe how much was jammed packed into this amazing narrative. It was exciting, because as a group, we had so many different things to discuss.
The Book of Ruth opens with Naomi losing her husband and then her two sons. These losses left Naomi alone with her two daughters-in-law. At the end of chapter 1, Naomi's depression and grief overwhelm her to the point where she even wants to change her name to Mara, which means bitter.
"She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?”"- Ruth 1:20-21 [ESV]
Here a just a few things I learned from Naomi in her moment of despair.
1. Naomi cries out to the Lord in her distress. She isn't running to people to try to help her make sense of what is going on in her life. She's not calling her BFF to complain. She knows that help comes from the Lord and so even in her frustration, Naomi goes to God first.
2. Naomi is honest before the Lord. This woman of God has lost so much. However, as she talks to God, she doesn't act like she has it all together. She is honest about her feelings and pours them out before the Lord, hoping that He can make some sense of them.
3. Naomi's faith remains strong in the face of uncertainty. In the short passage above, Naomi refers to the Lord as "the Almighty" two different times. Once, as she begins to talk to the Lord, and again as she closes her prayer. Naomi's faith in the Lord stays strong, because she knows that the Lord is the on who allowed these horrible things to take place in her life. Even as Naomi's circumstances overwhelmed her, she continued to have faith in the Lord Almighty!! She kept her eyes focused on Him!!
Little does Naomi know, the Lord is about to pour out His gracious mercy and plan of redemption for her life.
In our own lives, we need to remember these lessons from Ruth 1. God does not allow hard times to come so that we fail. God allows our circumstances to overwhelm us, so that we will sit back and watch Him be God!! God will never receive glory, if we are constantly trying to fix our own problems.
"“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”"
- Psalm 46:10 [ESV]
- Psalm 46:10 [ESV]