Day 3

Naomi and Ruth Return

from the Ruth reading plan


Ruth 1:19-22, Ruth 2:1-3, Isaiah 38:9-20, Philippians 3:8-11

BY Amanda Bible Williams

Have you ever asked for prayer because you could not pray on your own? Have you ever uttered “pray for me” and meant “pray instead of me, because I just can’t do it”? 

If prayer is a picture of believers lifting one another before the Lord, there are times I have been full-on carried. I don’t mean they’ve just walked alongside me or encouraged me to go on. No, they have picked me up from the pit and held me high before the Lord, my spiritual self limp and lifeless, desperately in need of the life-breath of my Savior. It sounds melodramatic until you’re in the thick of it, too spent to sigh another “please” or “amen.”

This kind of spiritual and physical exhaustion is what I see when I picture Naomi walking into town that day, so affected by her suffering that she is hardly recognizable. The townswomen whispered to one another, shocked at the condition of the friend they used to know. Naomi quickly set them straight. “It’s over for me,” she said. “Don’t call me Pleasant. Call me Bitter” (Ruth 1:20, my paraphrase).

Naomi’s circumstances were indeed awful. She’d buried her husband, lost two sons, and said goodbye to a daughter-in-law. She had no hope of a grandchild, no path of provision. “I went away full,” she told them, “and the LORD has brought me back empty” (Ruth 1:21). 

But even this believing woman had trouble seeing past her circumstances. The hand was dealt, the credits were rolling. Naomi believed with her head that her God was sovereign, but she was too soul-weary to believe with her heart. And so she called it. Game over. Name changed. 

Naomi could not imagine being filled back up. She couldn’t picture her daughter-in-law remarried to an upstanding man who would welcome them both into his family. She couldn’t dream of holding a grandson in her arms. She couldn’t imagine how bitterness could become beauty, but her sovereign God could.

Naomi named herself Bitter, but God names her—and us!—Blessed.
He names us Forgiven (1John 1:9).
He names us Beloved (Romans 5:8).
He names us Redeemed (Ephesians 1:7).

These names hold true even when circumstances don’t, because ours is a God who is mighty over affliction and blessing, bitterness and beauty, past and future. 

The same woman who walked into her hometown deflated of joy and hope, nevertheless trusted herself and her daughter-in-law to the Lord’s keeping. Naomi sent Ruth out into the fields to gather God’s provision. And provide, He would. Their circumstances were anything but good, but their God was always good. 

Circumstances change, but they do not change our God. And they do not change the saving power of Jesus Christ. We need not waste time shaking our fists at heaven when we can run full force into His arms, trusting He can redeem even us, even this, even now.

We are not named by our circumstances. We are named by our good God. 

Post Comments (96)

96 thoughts on "Naomi and Ruth Return"

  1. Fabiana Passoni says:

    ❤️ challenges , redemption and hope

  2. Keri LeeKnapp says:

    I had a thought to look up the meaning of my name, Keri: fair, blessed poetry, dark (hello awkward 2004 emo days) and Lee: pasture, meadow. But regardless the Lord has named me forgiven and redeemed! ❤️

  3. Kayla Sodders says:

    Amen . Our circumstances change but our lovely God does not ! He turns our mess into a message ❤️ Thank you Jesus !

  4. Danya says:

    “Circumstances change, but they do not change our God. And they do not change the saving power of Jesus Christ. We need not waste time shaking our fists at heaven when we can run full force into His arms, trusting He can redeem even us, even this, even now.

    We are not named by our circumstances. We are named by our good God.”

    How great is our God! Thank you Lord that you seed the end. Thank you that in you we have our being. Thank you for always being there even when it seems so hopeless.

    “I raise a hallelujah in the middle of the mystery”

  5. Nikii Cooke says:

    “Circumstances change, but our God does not” whew this hit home. Such good way to start my day with a good perspective. Naomi left full and returned empty. Once she is able to perceive what the Lord will do for her life she will be so full!

  6. Micha Iro says:

    Ty Lord Jesus of taking care of Naomi’s life, even amidst of bitterness You are sovereign to change her life.

  7. Hallie Yount says:

    This hit home today. A month ago my youngest (5) was in the ICU very sick. I prayed until I couldn’t pray anymore, I wept until I could no longer produce tears. My church family and so many prayer warriors lifted my son and my family up in prayers and I felt calm. My son is doing much better and I whole heartedly believe God heard my cries and the voices lifting my son up in prayer to heal him.

  8. Marlyne says:

    This reading was such a great one for me encouraging me that God is always in the midst working things out for me. That even in the midst of a storm God is faithful. I can relate to going through so much stuff back to back especially this year 2022 has been a very tough year for me and there were times I didn’t have the strength to even utter a prayer I got to the point where I just wanted to give up and just throw in the towel because the trauma that I endured was so painful that I couldn’t see past my pain but God has given me strength and renewed my mind and I’m in a way better place now. I thought there was no possibility of healing but there is nothing to Great for God to do. God restored Naomi from bitter to blessed. God is a sovereign God.

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