Ruth, Part 3

Ruth 1:19-22

Last week we looked at the problem of trying to cover up our mistakes. That is what Naomi had tried to do by encouraging her daughters-in-law to return to Moab and not accompany her on her journey back to Bethlehem. Orpah had returned, but Ruth refused to leave and made the commitment to stay with Naomi until death.

It had been ten long years since anyone in Bethlehem had seen Naomi. As she and Ruth entered the city the people looked and said, "Is this Naomi?". The ten years away from the blessings of God had taken their toll on Naomi. Her grief and sorrow over the deaths of Elimelech and her sons had caused a change in her appearance, but a greater change in her personality. Her name, 'Naomi', means pleasant, but she isn't pleasant anymore. Now she tells them to call her 'Mara' which means bitterness. Instead of making her better, her trials had made her bitter. We cannot control the circumstances of life, but we can control how we respond to them.

Naomi was bitter toward God because of what had happened. She was a woman with empty hands, an empty home, and an empty heart. She had not surrendered to the Lord and had not accepted His loving chastening. As a result, she failed to experience what God intended for her. Note: Heb. 12:11, "Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby."

Naomi sounds as if God had totally forsaken her. She was really exaggerating her situation. Bitterness will cause a person to do that. It will also cause one to focus on what we do not have, and miss seeing what we do have! What Naomi failed to recognize is that she was not really poor and empty! Consider some of the resources that were available to her.

III. Bitterness: Blaming God for Our Trials. v19-22