Sunday, March 15, 2015

NAOMI AND RUTH - Part 1

During the month of March, I am writing about some of the widows found in the Bible and from whom we can learn a great deal about our own spiritual lives. For an introduction as to why I think this is important, please scroll down and read the post from March 1 (Rich in Widows).
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In the Old Testament book of Ruth we have the story of a widow who had no sons, at least none who were living. This was the widow Naomi. She had had two sons, but like her own husband, they also had died.

Beyond this difficulty, Naomi was living in a land far from her home. With no husband and no sons, she considered that her life would come to a bitter end; in fact she said, “Do not call me Naomi, but call me Mara, (which means bitterness) for the Almighty has dealt bitterly with me… and has brought calamity upon me.”

But what the widow Naomi did have was two daughters-in-law. These two young women were also widowed when Naomi’s sons, their own husbands, had died. When Naomi decided to return to her homeland, the two daughters-in-law planned on going with her.
 


But Naomi objected. She told them to stay with their own people and said to them, “It is exceedingly bitter to me for your sake that the hand of the Lord has gone out against me.”

Ruth Declares Her Loyalty to Naomi - Pieter Lastman
But Naomi did not realize how the Lord was to care for her. One of the daughters did return to stay with her people, but the other, Ruth, insisted upon going with her.

Ruth told her mother-in-law, “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. 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” (Ruth 1:16-17 ESV).
 
Realizing that it would do no good to further try to dissuade Ruth, Naomi said no more. The two widows set off together to return to the homeland of Naomi from which she had long been absent. This home was in Bethlehem of the land of Judea.

The Gleaners - Jean-François Millet
It does not seem that Naomi had any hopes or plans for when she and Ruth returned, for she seems to have initially done little to get themselves established.

It was her daughter-in-law who took the first action to obtain some reserves of food. Since it was harvesting time, she set out to the fields to glean some barley grain that had been passed over by the men who were doing the harvest.

(I will post the conclusion of this story in a couple of days)
 


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