Naomi and her husband, Elimelech from the tribe of Judah, leave Bethlehem during a famine and go to live in Moab. There Naomi’s husband and 2 sons die leaving Naomi with her 2 Moabite daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth. When Naomi hears there is now food in Judah she sets out to move back home. She tells her daughters-in-law to return to their homes bc she could not provide them with husbands. Ruth, however, refuses to leave Naomi and says, “For wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people; and your God, my God”. Ruth commits herself to Naomi and to the Lord instead of going home and worshipping the false gods of Moab. Ruth further expresses her loyalty to Naomi and faith in the Lord when she says “The Lord do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me.” Naomi concedes and when Naomi and Ruth get to Bethlehem, the people are so excited to see Naomi! 😃 But Naomi says, “Do not call me Naomi, call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the Lord has brought me home again empty”. 😔 The name Mara means bitter. Naomi believes a lie; “…that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me!” But did Naomi come back empty as she said? Naomi was so blinded by her deep pain that she could not see all that the Lord was doing and all the ways He was for her. She could not see how God was going to use the life of Ruth, who stuck by Naomi’s side, to fulfill His promise to send a Savior.
See, Ruth ends up working in the field of Boaz, a descendant of Judah’s son, Perez (one of the twins Judah and his daughter in-law, Tamar, had together). Boaz tells Ruth bc of her faithfulness to Naomi; “The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given to you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge”. Ruth later says to Boaz, “Take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative”. Boaz follows the proper procedures per the Levirate law and becomes the owner of all that belonged to Naomi’s husband and sons, and Boaz becomes husband to Ruth. Tomorrow Naomi is no longer saying call me Mara. Keep reading to find out what makes her so happy!