Naomi was very bitter early in the book of Ruth. I definitely understand that she was upset due to her harsh circumstances. She and Elimeleck moved to Moab due to a famine in Judah. After moving, she lost Elimeleck. Then her two sons, Mahlon and Kilion got married. Ten years later they died. Mara is the name that Naomi requested that people call her because she believed that “the Almighty has made life very bitter for me. I went away full but the Lord brought me home empty.” And “Why call me Naomi when the Lord has caused me to suffer and sent so much tragedy on me? ” Many times we get angry and bitter at the Lord due to difficult situations in our life. The question I wonder is, “Are you Mara or Naomi?”
Would you choose a name for yourself that means that God has ruined your life, that He has made you bitter?
Moving from Moab
Orpah and Ruth both remained with Naomi for a time. They were still in Moab when they heard that there was food once again in Judah. Naomi suggested that since they no longer had their husbands, that they return to Moab with their family and perhaps remarry. At the beginning, Orpah and Ruth told Naomi that they would both go to Judah with her. Later though, Orpah decided that she would go back to her family. Ruth would not be persuaded. She told Naomi,
“Wherever you go, I will go, where you live, I will live, Your people will be my people, Your God will be my God and wherever you die and be buried, I will also die and be buried. your people will be my people, etc.” So Naomi didn’t say anything more and she and Ruth headed off to Judah.Ruth 1:16-17 http://biblegateway Ruth
Life Improves for Naomi and Ruth
Now, I wrote last week about how Boaz became the Kinsman Redeemer for Naomi and for Ruth. God did an amazing thing by providing for Naomi and Ruth, using Boaz.
Boaz provided for Ruth and Naomi, giving them food and redeeming their family line. Naomi had a grandson, Obed, who was the grandfather of King David and as a result, the family line of Jesus. Naomi at this point, told Ruth to be patient. This was wise counsel at the time while she waited for an answer regarding Boaz buying the land and marrying Ruth. Christ is our Kinsman Redeemer – A Beautiful Picture In The Old Testament
Lessons to Learn
So when Naomi was angry at God, she said that her circumstances were far worse for her than they were for
Orpah and Ruth. We do that too! Here are some things that we do when we are upset that our circumstances are bad and we blame God!
- We compare our “bad” with someone else’s “bad”.
She said that she was bitter and the Lord raised His fist against her!”.
- She exaggerated here, I believe. I don’t see God physically being that angry with her enough to send bad events into her life. But she saw God as “beating her” with all this bad stuff. The Lord will try and get our attention sometimes, but he doesn’t do it all for punishment. (What the enemy meant for evil, God meant for good, like in Josephs case!).
- She questioned God also “Why has the Lord caused me to suffer and sent so much tragedy on me?
The Lord actually provided for Naomi, using Ruth, who stuck with her, then Boaz. So, the Lord is not not some angry God that only sends us bad things, He provides good for us! He is our Redeemer! I understand in a real way, being upset and questioning why God allows bad things to happen. I think we all do! None of us have had perfect lives, free of anything that upsets or hurts us emotionally, physically, financially or any other way. So the question I have today is, are you Mara or Naomi?
I read your article with interest. Chassidic philosophy teaches that nothing ‘bad’ comes from God. It’s all good, we just don’t see the goodness because we don’t see the ‘big picture’ ie, the ultimate Divine plan for creation. What’s hard to understand is that it’s not that the bad event leads to something good. It’s that the event which appears to be bad is good in and of itself.
I will reply some more later, but I will say that with Ruth and so many others, bad started but the good that comes, often is what we learn from situations. Not all, but some real good circumstances can come even when bad circumstances were at the origin. The story that really stands out to me is the story of Joseph in the Bible. His brothers(all Jacob’s son’s) threw him into a pit because they were jealous of him because he was favored by his dad, Jacob. His brothers believed that he was dead, but what happened with Joseph was incredible. He did not die! He worked for someone who’s wife lied and sent him to prison. Then the Pharoah at the time had some dreams and he learned that Joseph was able to interpret dreams. One of these dreams was that there would be a famine. Pharoah put Joseph in charge then and evenutally, his brothers came to him hungry, needing food for their family. They had NO idea that Joseph was the one who would give their family food. God orchestrated all of this in His plan! Genesis 50:20 quotes Joseph saying ” You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result-the survival of many people.”
Did that make sense? There is real bad in the world, years ago and now. Lots that come around for our good and lots to learn from, for our good. I may write some more on this. Thank you for commenting. Feel free to share more of your thoughts!
Many of us are like Mara here: we blame God for whatever difficulties we experience – which is not good.
If we are convinced about God’s love for us, we should also be convinced too that He has our best interest at heart irrespective of whatever we may go through. Thanks for sharing.
The Lord never takes anything away without giving something better. He is so Good and always desires to give above all we can ever ask or think. I have lost a lot and would not change a thing He has done in my life. We can never out give God!
Good reflection and good question! I’m not Mara😁 the Lord proves faithful ❤
Been there, done that. Naomi’s lament is heard common, including me, in the past.