Ruth 1:20 "Don't call me Naomi," she told them. "Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me."
book of Ruth is a great example of how the effects of bitterness have
the potential to alter the course of one's future. I encourage you to
read the entire book in order to absorb how the future could have been
different if Naomi had allowed her bitterness to control her love for
Naomi was bitter because in a short period of
time she lost her husband and two sons. Her entire family was gone. In
verse 20 we get a picture of the bitterness that she felt inside. She
felt empty. She felt as though God had caused her great heartache and
loss. By reading the entire book of Ruth, we see how Naomi's actions
and persistence indicate that even though she was going through grief
and bitterness, she never stopped loving God. Her feelings did not
disable her from God's will.
The fact that she loved
God in the first place is a great testimony. At this time in history,
most of the people did not love God, instead they did whatever they
thought was best. Naomi held love in her heart for God and carried out
the traditions of the time in order to fulfill his will.
of the many lessons in the book of Ruth is loyalty. Ruth was Naomi's
daughter-in-law. When Ruth's husband died, she promised to stay with
Naomi. Naomi tried to get Ruth to go back to her family but Ruth vowed
to stay with Naomi until their lives were over. In Naomi's time of
bitterness, Ruth was a source of strength and love. Ruth learned to
love God from Naomi. Their relationship was remarkable.
those days, there wasn't anything much worse than being widowed.
Widows were usually poverty stricken and were often ignored. Naomi's
focus became to help Ruth find another husband. By tradition, widowed
women married a brother of their dead husbands. Since Ruth's husband
had no living siblings, she and Naomi moved to Bethlehem seeking
relatives. A man named Boaz was a relative of Naomi and she coached
Ruth in how to get Boaz's attention. Ruth and Boaz married and had a
son named Obed. This birth began the family line of Jesus, the
The book of Ruth may be to some a mere story
of Ruth's love for Naomi. While this is truly a part of the story,
there is so much more to glean from it. While Naomi and Ruth suffered
great tragedy, their love for God remained strong. In their sorrow and
bitterness, God brought great blessings. Instead of wallowing in the
bitterness, Naomi took actions to see that God's will was carried out.
In verse 20 Naomi was honest with God about how she felt. She had lost
everything and was in deep sorrow. Her bitterness was such that she
changed her name to Mara, which means bitter.
understands our honest, raw emotions. He hears the cries of our heart.
When we continue to love him and when we work through the bitterness, He can and will replace that bitterness with blessings.