Week One – Day 5
Read Ruth 1:19-22; I Peter 4:19, Psalm 34:19 SOAP Ruth 1:19-21
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.
1 Peter 4:19 (ESV) – 19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
Psalm 34:19 (ESV) – 19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
O – It must have been quite a surprise for Naomi to arrive in Bethlehem – alone and without her husband and sons, BUT with a Moabite daughter-in-law. No wonder the town “was stirred.” While everyone was talking about this, Naomi gave her perspective of the story, which is especially telling with her “name change.” She said to not call her Naomi (pleasant), but Mara (bitter), as the “Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.”
What was Naomi saying here? Her life was now “bitter”, in what God had brought to her – the death of her husband and two sons. She went away “full” – an entire family – and came back “empty” – without any of them. Why would any of this be pleasant – when the LORD had “testified against” her – and the Almighty had brought “calamity” upon her?
A – It is our perspective that allows us to deal with the events of our lives. My mom has often said that our circumstances can be used to “make us bitter – or make us better.” This, coming from a woman who lost her husband suddenly in a car accident, dealt with multiple health issues stemming from the accident, including six skull fractures, all ribs broken, hearing loss, and two knee replacements, and most recently, breast cancer with surgery, chemo and radiation.
What makes the change in perspective?
I think it is realizing that God does not “bring on” calamity in our lives. We live in a fallen world, and things happen because we live in that world. There is no certainty in this life – no guarantee that we won’t have to deal with death, loss, health issues, loss of wealth, and the effect of sin on society. BUT – and a huge BUT – God has promised that He will never leave or forsake us. (Deut. 31:6)
What will my response be in future times of “calamity” or challenge? Will it be “call me Mara?” OR – will it be “blessed be the name of the Lord?” “ YET will I praise Him?”
Last night, we were talking in our small group about the importance of having God’s Word in us – so we can recall it when we need it. You can’t recall what you don’t have in you! So – my challenge today is to memorize that verse from Habakkuk I found earlier this week….. Hab. 3:17-19 (ESV)
Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
19 God, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places.
YET – will I rejoice!
P – Father God, work in my heart. Prepare me. Teach me to depend on You. Walk with me as I continue to learn Your Word, having it dwell within me. Help me to retain what I learn, and then live it out. May I, like the psalmist, entrust my soul to You – my faithful Creator – and to do good. Father, I do not want to be Mara – bitter and angry. I want to be a woman of God, pliable and usable – for You. Amen.
God Moves in a Mysterious Way – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtnapVDuPfg
God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform
He plants his footsteps on the sea
And rides upon the storm
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.