Bitter and sweet



You feel sad. The longer you live in this sinful and miserable world the more sorrows come your way. Yet that is not the whole story. Naomi wept: “Call me not Naomi (pleasant), call me Mara (bitter): for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me” (Ruth 1:20). Yet the book of Ruth ends with a happy Naomi rejoicing in the Lord.

The bitter things
  1. The Famine. It is hard to bring up a family but particularly in times of famine. Naomi had two growing boys to feed and clothe. Surely the famine was an expression of God’s chastisement upon her and others.
  2. The Emigration. In desperation the family moved to Moab looking for work and food. It is never easy leaving home, friends and family.
  3. The Bereavements. First her husband dies. There are few more painful blows than the loss of a spouse. The “one flesh” is torn apart. But she has two sons. They marry. Their prospects seem bright. But then they too die.
  4. The Loneliness. She is a poor old woman in a foreign land. She sets off home with a heavy heart. She had left Israel full but now returns empty. Surely God is against her.

The sweet things
  1. Ruth’s Love. Naomi is blinded by grief and so not able to appreciate at the time the amazing love shown to her by her daughter-in-law. “Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me (Ruth 1:16-17).
  2. Ruth’s Income. She is able to find work and provides for them both. God makes her successful.
  3. Ruth’s Husband. Broken-hearted Naomi feels that Ruth has suffered because she married her son. She thinks it will be impossible to obtain another suitable husband for her. Yet God finds a wealthy, kind and godly husband for Ruth.
  4. Ruth’s Child. Though childless from her first marriage, God provides Ruth with a son who will carry the family name, be a grandfather of King David and so one of the line through whom the Messiah will come. “The women her neighbours gave it a name, saying, There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed” (Ruth 4:17).
    All God’s people are blessed. “Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads: we went through fire and through water; but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place” (Ps.66:12). “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Rom.8:28).


    Any comments or questions please E-Mail me or Rev William Macleod the editor.

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