But she said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.
Naomi’s words in Ruth 1:20 are a great example of a person blaming God for the bad things that happen to them when their free will chose against His will and guidance for their safety.
During a famine, instead of staying in town of Bethlehem (means house of bread), they left the land of His people, promise, and shelter and went to Moab, an extremely ungodly place. God would have provided for them in Bethlehem because He promises to supply for His children even in famines, but He couldn’t stop their free will from taking them to an ungodly and dangerous land.
They went to Moab knowing better by God not to. The Moabite people hated Israel and God forbade them to intermingle with them for their safety and protection (Deuteronomy 23:3-5). And what did Naomi’s husband do? He took his entire family there. They’d taken their eyes off God, His Word to them, saw the situation with “natural eyes,” and went to a forbidden land to their demise. Not because God willed their demise but because they put themselves in harm’s way by ignoring His warnings.
Like when a parent tells a child, “Don’t touch the stove because you’ll get burned,” and they do it anyway.
The parent can’t make a hot stove un-hot to keep the child safe but can only warn him/her not to touch it in order to prevent the pain. God does the same for us, yet many blame Him when they choose to ignore His loving words intended to bless and protect us, not to keep us from having fun or missing out, etc.
God will not force us to choose His will or to choose His words of warning intended to protect us, but because God is merciful and just, He redeemed the situation for Naomi and does for us as well.
Let’s read what happened to Naomi and her family in Moab when they put themselves in harm’s way in a forbidden land for God’s people…
“Now it came to pass, in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem, Judah, went to dwell in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech, the name of his wife was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion—Ephrathites of Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to the country of Moab and remained there. Then Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died; and she was left, and her two sons. Now they took wives of the women of Moab: the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth. And they dwelt there about ten years. Then both Mahlon and Chilion also died; so the woman survived her two sons and her husband” (Ruth 1:1-5).
…Answer? All the men died.
Because Elimelech, his wife’s covering and protector, was the one who took her to Moab, and she didn’t have a choice in the matter, God kept her and the wives her sons took in that land. To whom much is given. Much is expected. Husbands, be careful how and what you lead your family into.
God is a Redeemer!
In Ruth 1, all the husbands are dead, so Naomi and Ruth return to Bethlehem, the land of God’s people, while Orpah returns to her family. They returned back to the “house of bread” where they too should have stayed and where His people not only survived the famine but thrived during it.
Ruth had turned from the ways of the Moabites to the God of Israel and joined her mother-in-law in Bethlehem, they are husbandless, and need food and provision. The goodness of God leads Ruth to Boaz’s field.
Long story short, she finds favor and love with Boaz, a godly man of great wealth, they marry, and Naomi and Ruth were redeemed and provided for with more than enough.
God is so good that…
He even used Naomi and Ruth as the ancestral line of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Now, that’s above and beyond redemption. He causes all things to work together for our good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28), and the book of Ruth is a great example in the lives of Naomi and Ruth.
The book of Ruth is a beautiful story of God’s redemption, and if you’d like you can begin to read it here.
Father, may people see You as You truly are – a good and loving Father. You only intend for our good, but we can ignore You and put ourselves in harm’s way by our wills not Yours. The wages of sin is death, and we can even be affected by other people’s sins as we see with Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, or with how thousands of toxins and carcinogenic chemicals are in our foods and products born from the sin and greed of man for max profit and not for the care of human safety which affect people and makes them sick. This is not Your will telling them to poison people with all these toxins but their sin-bent free will and love of money. O that all may see You as You are and not how they twist and perceive as Naomi initially did in Jesus’ name, amen.