Redeemed, Not Ruined
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The Bible tells the story of a brave woman who chooses to leave her familiar world behind to face the unknown. As a result, she is blessed beyond her imagination. You might know her as Ruth. I know her as Naomi.
This old and bitter woman had enough reasons to believe God was angry at her. When her precious home of Bethlehem was hit with a famine, Naomi and her family settled in a foreign land called Moab. There, this dear woman lost her husband and her two married sons—no doubt her pride and joy. Heartbroken, she told her young daughters-in-law, “Things are far more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord himself has raised his fist against me” (Ruth 1:13).
When Naomi eventually returned home to Bethlehem, she told everyone to call her Mara, meaning “bitterness.” She asked, “Why call me Naomi when the Lord has caused me to suffer and the Almighty has sent such tragedy upon me?” (v. 21)
I wonder what this woman could have possibly done to make her think God was against her. Did she suspect that He punished her for some past misdeed? Although we aren’t told Naomi’s full history, one thing is certain: God is good. It seems Naomi was focused on her pain instead of God’s provision.
Despite Naomi’s tragic losses, she was never alone. Rather than staying out of pity or obligation, Ruth declared fervently to her-mother-law, “Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. (vv. 16-17).
When the two women returned to Bethlehem just in time for the harvest, the entire town was excited by their arrival (v. 19). They also discovered Boaz, a wealthy yet compassionate man, who loved the Lord and just happened to be a close relative.
Later, Naomi—the same bitter woman who once claimed, “the Lord has brought me home empty” (v. 21)—saw Ruth come home one day with an abundance of grain. Boaz had blessed Ruth, saying, “Don’t go back to your mother-in-law empty-handed” (Ruth 3:17). Isn’t incredible to see how much God blessed Naomi despite her bitterness toward Him?
It gets better. Ruth could have married another man in the family line besides Boaz. If the man rejected her, Boaz promised, “I will redeem you myself!” (Ruth 3:13) and he did. Can you hear Jesus’ same passionate cry as He bled for you on the cross? This Easter, I encourage you to fix your eyes on Jesus, our Redeemer, who died and rose again to restore Naomi and Ruth; you and me.
Let’s pray: Dear Lord, your blessings are all around us. When we are distracted by our own circumstances, let us appreciate each gift you so lovingly bestow to us, including salvation through Your Son, Jesus Christ. Help us to always trust Your faithful love for us no matter how we feel. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Scripture is quoted from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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