Have you ever had a problem where you decided you knew the answer and totally left God out? Then when your problem goes from bad to worse you start blaming God and become bitter over your circumstances when in reality your living in the consequences of your own actions. This is where we find Naomi in the first chapter of the Book of Ruth.
Naomi, her husband and two children are living in Bethlehem during the time of the judges, where everyone did what was right in their own eyes. (Sounds very much like our world today.) During the time of judges God is using famine. He’s using the enemy. He is using everything He can to get the attention of His people to turn them around. He gave strict instructions when they came into the land to destroy all the enemy. How much of the enemy does God want destroyed from my life? Is He happy when I have a little bit of greed and some unforgiveness? A little bit of envy? How much does He want of me, ten percent? Can’t I just tithe my total being and that be enough? No. He wants all of me. He wants all of you.
God sent a famine to Bethlehem. A famine is when there is not enough food. Instead of staying where they were and crying out to God, which is what the people of Bethlehem did, Elimelech, Naomi and there two children decide to leave and go to Moab. What was supposed to be a short stay in Moab we find Naomi ten years later still living in Moab, but her husband and two sons have all died. She returns to Bethlehem bitter and says, “I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty” Ruth 1:21
Naomi is blaming God when it was she and her husband who went to Moab in the first place instead of humbling themselves where they were and waiting on the promises of God to be restored. God does not change. We reap what we sow. Sin will always take you farther than you meant to go. Keep you longer than you meant to stay. And cost you more than you meant to pay. But God’s mercy is always going to draw us to Him, and help us walk through our circumstances because He loves us.
Naomi walked through some bad decisions and had to live through the consequences, but the truth of God that was in her heart drew her back to Him. God loved her. For, “The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.” Ruth 4:14-15 This same love God has for Naomi is the same love He has for you and me.
Like Naomi I have walked through famine in my life. I decided when I was 16 running away from home was the best decision for me. I know what it is like to be hungry day after day. Having lost 30 pounds in one month I cried out to God in my hunger. Even though I was far from Him, He answered my cry. I was at a park that day and I found seven dollars in the grass. It would be years before I gave my life over to Jesus. During the years that followed I wrote many chapters in my life that were full of bad decisions, and I had to live through the consequences. When I look back on that day in the park I see Jesus and His redeeming love for me.
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Cheryl Crawford is a daughter of the Most High King, saved by grace. Her degree and field of work are in accounting, but would trade it all to farm if she could. She enjoys reading, writing, gardening, SEC football, and playing cards with friends. Cheryl is a natural organizer with a heart that loves to serve. You can read more about Cheryl on her BoP bio