Naomi and Ruth
Open Your Bible
Ruth 1:1-21, Ruth 2:1-13, Ruth 2:18-20, Ruth 3:1-11, Ruth 4:13-17, Proverbs 31:10-31
The height of a Disney princess ranges from five foot four to five foot seven—nothing more, nothing less. How do I know this, you ask? It’s the one fact that shattered all of my childhood aspirations in an instant. Standing at five foot ten, I’ve come to resent the last three inches that kept me from frolicking around the Magic Kingdom as Ariel, Belle, Snow White, or Pocahontas. It wasn’t just some childhood fantasy; it was a potential career path, guys.
I realize this is not that big of a deal. If I were five foot four, I probably would have had aspirations of being in the WNBA, falling several inches below the basketball hoop. Yes, we’ve all wished for more or for less, or just to step on over to the other side of the fence where the grass sure does look a whole lot greener.
We’ve all had those Goldilocks moments in our lives, times when the porridge is too hot or the chair is too small, the job is too difficult, the relationship too painful, or the circumstance too out of control.
After losing her husband and two sons, it’s no surprise that Naomi felt as if her life had become more than she could handle. And so when Ruth and Orpah, her daughters-in-law, offer to stay with her, Naomi tells them, “No, my daughters, my life is much too bitter for you to share, because the LORD’s hand has turned against me” (Ruth 1:13).
How often do we believe God has turned against us when life begins to feel like too much? And yet the overwhelming circumstances we find ourselves in, the ones that make us feel like we’ll never be enough or have enough—these are the richest soil for God’s redemption. He loves to meet us in the places where we’ve given up and then shower us with His abundance.
Ruth could have easily walked away from Naomi, leaving her mother-in-law alone in her bitterness, just as God could have easily rejected us in our unfaithfulness. Thankfully, that’s not how the story goes. Both women chose to travel together, dusting off their wounds and collecting their sorrows. They didn’t know what they would find next, but they left “Moab, because [Naomi] had heard in Moab that the Lord had paid attention to his people’s need by providing them food” (v.6).
If you’ve read this story before, you already know that God provided much more than food for these women. He gave Ruth a new husband, and in turn, Naomi also received a new son. But the story of Naomi and Ruth is about more than a God who will give us whatever we want and make all our dreams come true, if we’ll just muster up enough faith to believe in Him. This story, and all of Scripture, is about a God who is faithful when we are not.
Let us look to the One whose power is perfected in our weakness; He promises that His grace is exactly what we need—what our sin requires—and it is sufficient for everyone who leaves behind the ways of this world in order to follow Him (2 Corinthians 12:9). “Blessed be the LORD,” who redeems and restores (Ruth 4:14).