Bitter to Sweet
She walked in and laid her tired head on Elim’s shoulder. He held her close. She told him “Elim, we have to do something. Staying here and starving is more than I can bear. Is there anywhere we can go?” He said, “Darlin’, the best option is Moab. They don’t worship our God but they have food. If you really feel we need to leave, we’ll go.”
So they left for Moab. In Moab her two sons were married. But not long after, Elimilech and her sons passed away. To be torn from the strong, firm husband whose gentle ways and wise heart were a part of her own heart nearly took the life from her. It left an ache like an abyss in her soul. But then to also lose the two she had birthed, who were the babes she raised and nurtured left her with no hope, only darkness.
Naomi’s mom had always said that the Lord chastises only for a moment. Laughter comes in the morning. But she had lost sight of the light and couldn’t imagine ever rejoicing again.
Ruth and Orpah, Naomi’s daughter-in-laws became believers while Elim and family were in Moab. Their family loved God and loved each other and the Lord used them in Ruth and Orpah’s lives. But now, hope against hope, Naomi needed the loving arms of her heavenly Father and she had heard He was moving in Judah again.
Naomi decided to return and her daughter-in-laws were by her side. When she changed her mind and told them to return, Orpah left in tears. But Ruth lovingly told Naomi in no uncertain terms, “Your people are mine. Your God is mine. Where you die, I die. Let nothing but death separate you and me!”
What a friend she had in Ruth. Ruth took loyalty to another level. And yet Naomi was too bitter to see at that point. When they arrived in Bethlehem everyone greeted her as Naomi. But she told them, “I’m empty.” blind to the gem at her side. She told them “call me Mara.” for she was bitter now.
Ruth became a hard-worker. She began gleaning in a field of Boaz, one of Naomi’s relatives. She worked hard from morning to afternoon with only a small break under the shelter. Boaz noticed Ruth and a reputation for her work ethic and loyalty had preceded her. He told her not to glean anywhere else but stay on his field, that he had told his men not to touch her, and that she could have a drink of water whenever she needed. Yes. Boaz was enamored by Ruth.
Ruth couldn’t imagine why he would bless her, a foreigner from an enemy country. But Boaz told her, “You left your home to be with Naomi. And you are watching out for her during her latter days. May you be blessed by our God, who longs to gather us under His wings, because you have been willing to receive Him.” Ruth told him she was so comforted by those words.
At lunch that day, Boaz quietly said to her, “cum‘ere.” She, puzzled, drew near and Boaz shared his bread and roasted grain with Ruth. As she went back to the fields he told the men to pull extra stalks of barley out for her to gather.
When Ruth went home that night she took her leftover lunch and all of the barley she had collected. Naomi said, “Bless the gentleman that took care of you! Where did you glean today?” So, Ruth told her the whole story. Naomi said “What a pleasant surprise!” and to do as he said and stay at his field. Boaz would protect Ruth.
Now, Boaz, being a relative of Naomi, was a kinsmen redeemer. That meant that if he married Ruth, he would be carrying on the line of Elimilech. So, Naomi explained that the way that Ruth could show she was willing to be redeemed was to go and lay at his feet at night. So she did and Boaz said he would redeem and marry her.
Boaz and Ruth became husband and wife. Soon they were to have a son. Naomi’s life had been so bitter and now this…a male to carry on sweet Elim’s name! Surprises are the Lord’s way of making known His Name. He’s watching you and there’s a twinkle in His eye!
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