Journey in the Word

Karen Ingrid Clark

Broken & Redeemed -Naomi -Loss / Loneliness

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Week One – Day 1  Monday, March 6, 2017WK01D01

Read Ruth 1    SOAP Ruth 1:20-21

  1. What does the name “Mara” mean and why does Naomi want to be called this?

RUTH 1 1  In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he and his wife and his two sons. 2  The name of the man was Elimelech and the name of his wife Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in Judah. They went into the country of Moab and remained there. 3  But Elimelech, the husband of Naomi, died, and she was left with her two sons. 4  These took Moabite wives; the name of the one was Orpah and the name of the other Ruth. They lived there about ten years, 5  and both Mahlon and Chilion died, so that the woman was left without her two sons and her husband.

6  Then she arose with her daughters-in-law to return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the fields of Moab that the Lord had visited his people and given them food.  7  So she set out from the place where she was with her two daughters-in-law, and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. 8  But Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return each of you to her mother’s house. May the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me. 9  The Lord grant that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband!” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voices and wept. 10 And they said to her, “No, we will return with you to your people.”  11 But Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb that they may become your husbands? 12 Turn back, my daughters; go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, even if I should have a husband this night and should bear sons, 13 would you therefore wait till they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, for it is exceedingly bitter to me for your sake that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me.”14 Then they lifted up their voices and wept again. And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

15 And she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” 16 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” 18 And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.

19  So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. And when they came to Bethlehem,  the whole town was stirred because of them. And the women said, “Is this Naomi?” 20 She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. 21 I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?”

22 So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabite her daughter-in-law with her, who returned from the country of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of barley harvest.

O – Naomi returns to Bethlehem from Moab, where she lost her husband and two sons.  She gained, however, two daughter-in-laws, one of which returned to Bethlehem with her – Ruth.  Naomi  (whose name means “pleasant”)  said, “Do not call me Naomi – call me Mara.  (Bitter or bitterness)”  Her reasoning?  The Almighty, God, had made her life very bitter.  She went away “full” and came back “empty.”  The LORD afflicted her and brought misfortune on her.

From the Hebrew, the empty is “empty hands”.  The Lord had “testified against her” , or to give evidence against her, and “afflicted” her, or to do evil or treat badly.  Naomi attributed her husband and sons’ deaths to God.  “The term ra’a’, meaning “to bring calamity,” is often used when someone accuses God of unjustly doing harm (Exod 5:22; Num 11:11; 1 Kgs 17:20). Like Job, Naomi felt God had become her enemy (Job 16:9; 19:11). However, just as with Job, Naomi’s tragedy was part of a larger series of events that would result in God’s blessing (Ruth 4:14–15).[1]”  (FaithLife Study Bible)

Naomi, although she had reason to be sad, is bitter and angry against God.  She seems to only see her perspective, and that is also tilted.  She said that she was empty.   Empty hands.  Yes, her husband and sons had died, and she was now left to fend for herself.  With Ruth.  WITH RUTH.   Ruth was a “gift” to Naomi.  She refused to leave Naomi, or to have Naomi fend for herself.  She left her own country, and as a “foreign Moabitess”, traveled to Bethlehem to care for Naomi.  Not exactly empty.  But, in her sadness, she lost perspective.

She also blamed God for her state.  He “afflicted” her – brought calamity to her.  He “testified” against her.  Why should her name be “pleasant” when her life was “bitter?”

She has an interesting view of God.   God Almighty caused her great grief.  The LORD brought her back empty.  The LORD testified against her.  The Almighty has afflicted her.  How much of her circumstances were from wrong choices?   The family moved from Bethlehem to Moab, a foreign and idolatrous country.  Escaping the famine, yes – but escaping to a country filled with temptation.  Her sons married Moabite women.  They lived in a place that was alien to their beliefs.  And God caused her grief?  He brought her back empty?

A –   Where is my faith in difficult times?  Do I blame God?  How’s my cup – half empty or half full?  I think, outwardly, my faith is strong.  There have been times that my body is strong, but my insides are quivering.  I remember that feeling well – when Jerry left, my dad’s accident, when the school closed.  An outward, stoic face, but insides quivering.  I don’t think I blamed God.  I blamed myself.  Or circumstances.  Things beyond my control.  I think my trust in God, the Almighty, is strong enough NOT to blame Him.

BUT – what is my perspective?  Do I see that I have been “brought back empty?”  I struggle with the feelings, but don’t necessarily voice them.  Do I see “empty hands?”  Or – are they open – so God can fill them?

I think that, with age and maturity, I am looking at life differently.  I don’t see myself as blaming God, or bitter.  And, with each difficult situation, I have faced them with a different outlook.  I am learning to wait on Him.  I am learning that He has a plan for my life (Jeremiah 29:11).    I am learning that He knows my needs – and is Jehovah –Jireh, my Provider.  However, I struggle more with relationships than with circumstances.  But is that God’s fault – or one of the things that He is working on – in me?

P – Father God,  help me to lean on You, to call on You, when difficult times arise.  Help me to see Your hand in my life, my Jehovah-Jireh, my Help, my Savior.  Help me to see circumstances from Your eternal perspective, and trust You for the journey.  Thank You for having a plan for my life that was designed by You.  Thank You for Your provision and protection.    I hold up my empty hands – ready for Your filling.  May I see them as that – empty for Your filling, not empty because of lack.  Father, I trust in You today.  Amen.

I’m with You – (Nordman/Grant) –

Love is a hurricane in a blue sky
I didn’t see it coming, never knew why
All the laughter and the dreams
All the memories in between
Washed away in a steady stream

Love is a hunger, a famine in your soul
I thought I planted beauty but it would never grow
Now I’m on my hands and knees
Trying to gather up my dreams
Trying to hold on to anything

We could shake our fists
In times like this
When we don’t understand
Or we could just hold hands

You and me, me and you
Where you go, I’ll go too
I’m with you, I’m with you
‘Til your heart finds a home
I won’t let you feel alone
I’m with you, I’m with you, with you

You do your best to build a higher wall
To keep love safe from every wrecking ball
When the dust is cleared we will
See the house that love rebuilt
Guarding beauty that lives here still

It’s you and me, me and you
Where you go, I’ll go too
I’m with you, I’m with you
‘Til your heart finds a home
I won’t let you feel alone
I’m with you, I’m with you

Who can say I’m left with nothing?
When I have all of you, all of you, yeah
In the way you’ve always loved me
I remember He does too

It’s you and me, me and you
Where you go, I’ll go too
I’m with you, I’m with you
‘Til your heart finds a home
I won’t let you feel alone
I’m with you, I’m with you

Me and you
Where you go, I’ll go too
I’m with you, I’m with you
‘Til your heart finds a home
I won’t let you feel alone
I’m with you, I’m with you, with you

[1] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ru 1:21). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.


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