Scripture: Ruth 1:19-22
So they both went until they came to Bethlehem. And when they had come to Bethlehem, all the city was stirred because of them, and the women said, “Is this Naomi?” She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. “I went out full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has witnessed against me and the Almighty has afflicted me?” So Naomi returned, and with her Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, who returned from the land of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.
Insights: Over the next two days we will see love does not always respond appropriately. In our verses today we see Naomi and Ruth arriving back in Bethlehem. Notice the passage states the city was stirred because of them. This concept of one being stirred in this context is one of excitement. In other words, there are times people are stirred to anger or rage, but that is not the case here. These women had not seen Naomi in ten years. These were childhood friends and relatives. They were excited Naomi had returned home. Naomi, however, puts an abrupt halt on the fanfare of the town. She declares her name is now Mara, which means bitter. I would say to you this statement was an inappropriate response to the women because it cast blame and perpetual indictment on her situation. She does not know the future, but she has banished herself to this life of pain and depression and it did not have to be this way. I think the writer of the book of Ruth also understood this reality because this sentence is the only time in which the writer calls her Mara. From that point to the end of the book Naomi is always called Naomi. Beloved, everyone of us make inappropriate decisions to varying circumstances in our lives. Ever since sin entered the world, we are a people prone to short sightedness and rash decisions. The truth, however, is we don’t have to be subject to this reality. We can choose to respond like Ruth did in the preceding verses and say, “I am determined to walk with Jesus” (obviously Ruth did not know of Jesus at this time in history and I am being figurative in nature). Tomorrow, we will pick this theme back up and see how it relates to our vision proposal at FBCBG.
1. When was the last time you responded to a situation in a less than stellar manner?
2. As you have reflected on that situation, was there any way you could have prepared yourself in advance to have responded in a more positive fashion?
Prayer: Father, forgive me of those times in which I have responded inappropriately. Help me spirit to fully walk and trust Your Spirit’s guidance. Amen.