Women of the Bible (Ruth Chapter 1)
The other day I prayed for someone to study in the Bible. The first name that came to mind was Ruth. So, I turned to the book of Ruth and read it straight through. Oh yea, all 4 chapters. Then, I began scowering the internet for information to help me understand the book and the person of Ruth. I came across a Bible study on the book that really taught me a lot – not about Ruth, but about Naomi. Mind you, I’ve only read 1/4 sections of the Bible study, but it really spoke to my current life season.
The story starts telling us about a man and his wife – Elimelech and Naomi. It describes their family and where they were. But what Gordon writes about in this particular study spoke to me – Naomi and Elimelech started looking for prosperity in the world, they came to the point wher ethey had to trust God or return to their former lives. They chose their former lives, and as a result after 10 years of living this way, Elimelech died and Naomi was left without her husband and two sons. She was left with two daughters in law (1:1-10). Gordon points out how Elimelech and Naomi likely thought they had a lot of good coming to them as they went to enjoy Moab for a season, but this wasn’t so. Gordon relates this story to that of the prodigal son who learnt his lesson the hard way, returning home once he realized the world of prosperity he was pursuing left him empty and void. What a lesson we learn – the way of the world looks full of promise and prosperity but leaves us disappointed and empty.
I too have tried to find prosperity and promise in the world. Only recently am I returning home from doing things my own way, because I lost my trust in God. I thought he was taking too long, that He was not giving me the desires of my heart quickly enough. So, I figured I better do it my own way. Mistake. Naomi asks her daughters-in-law to call her Mara (1:20) which means bitter. I too was bitter coming out of my own journey to be filled by the world, but the bitterness was my own fault. I have felt like I lost a lot on my sojourn to my own ways and straying from the Lord’s. Isn’t this what the enemy does? He makes the ways of the world look so beautiful and delicious, much like the fruit Eve chose to eat in Genesis. Once we take a bite, however, we are left empty and void – likely more so than before.
In my search to learn about Ruth, I learned a valuable lesson from Naomi. She and her husband went out in search of a better life, and he ended up dying and Naomi ended up alone and she blamed God (1:13b). I do this. I get tired of waiting around, seemingly stuck, imagining God has moved on to help someone else and I go off on my own to do things my way. But it never fails, after searching for sometime on my own, God starts beckoning me home (mind you I’m not aware this is happening) and I return to Him empty and full of regret.
Learn from Naomi – the way of the world often is inticing and seems bountiful, but at some point it will leave you empty and returning to your Heavenly Father like the prodigal son returned to his father.
But, good news! God is excited about your return and He will carry you through the disappointment and right back to the path He has set before you. Take a lesson from Ruth who goes with Naomi – go wherever God goes.