God, as I ask that I do what is right regarding my spouse, children, grandchildren, job, friends and community, may I always remember to “Commit to the Lord whatever you (I) do , and your (my) plan will succeed (Proverbs 16:3). Thank you, God for being my guide in all things and I will follow your lead to success. Amen
Lesson Two – Naomi and Ruth Return (Ruth 1:1-22)
RUTH 1: 19-22
So the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem.
When they arrived in Bethlehem the town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?”
“Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”
So Naomi returned from Moab accompanied by Ruth, the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, arriving in Bethlehem as the barley harvest was beginning.
After Naomi either finally understood Ruth’s level of commitment to her (1:16-18), or was just too exhausted to argue/debate the fact that she (Ruth) would be better-off if she just “went home to her people, land, and customs.” Naomi and Ruth travel back to Bethlehem. The whole town was “stirred because of them.”(1:19). It is evident that Naomi’s mood had not improved by arriving safely back in her home-town.
Naomi’s assessment of her situation was that it was dismal. She assessed that she “left Bethlehem full”: she was young, vibrant, had a husband, and two sons. Her husband, Elimelech, was her everything— he filled her life, providing love, emotional support, companionship, and took care of her financial/household needs. Hers sons, Mahlon and Kilon, though frail, were prized heirs, who would continue to care for her, should anything happen to Elimelech. But God, had other plans for Naomi—and she was still so “grief-stricken” that she could only see emptiness with the deaths of her husband and both sons. Naomi had land in Bethlehem, but had no access to it as a female head-of-the-household because of the laws at that time.
What can we learn from this phase of Naomi’s life? Naomi saw “no hope” for her future. She thought the Lord had abandoned her. We sometimes interpret “hope” to mean “a wish.” That’s evident when we use terms like, “I hope so,” or “I hope this gets better.” As Believers, we should remember the “Erector Set of Hope.” We can’t build anything on a “wish,” but lives constructed on Jesus’ blood as the “Hope”, can withstand anything life hands us.
Some Scriptural references for “Hope”:
Jeremiah 29:11-12 –“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,” plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
Job 13:15 –Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face.
Psalm 42:5- Why downcast , O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God,
Psalm 62:5 – Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.
Isaiah 40 :31 – But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength,
They will soar on wings like eagles;
They will run and not grow weary,
They will walk and not be faint.
Prayer: Father, we thank you for your guidance through this study of Ruth. May we continue to listen to your instructions, and pass it on to those who join us for the study of your Word! Amen.
Reverend Glenda Brunson