Naomi is no stranger to setbacks, suffering, or grief. She even tells her friends, “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but he LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The LORD has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me” (Ruth 1:20-21). Naomi was ready to call it quits on her journey home. In fact, she encourages her daughters-in-law to go back home to their families, because there was nothing for them to gain by staying with her, nothing to look forward to, there was no hope.
What Naomi didn’t see, at the time, was that in the midst of all her setbacks, God was at work. He was hard at work for Naomi’s joy and redemption of this situation. As we read through Ruth, we find that God starts turning the situation around. He brings Boaz, the kinsman-redeemer, into the picture. Boaz then redeems Naomi’s property and the name of her family, by taking Ruth as his wife (Ruth 4:9-10). And it gets better! Ruth and Boaz have a son!
Now, if the story ended here, it would be wonderful, but the Bible tells us that the name of the child was Obed. Why is that important you ask? Well, Obed becomes the grandfather of King David, one of the greatest kings of Israel. But it gets even better! Obed becomes part of the lineage of Jesus, the King who rules and reigns for all eternity (Matthew 1:6)!
In the midst of all the setbacks that Naomi experienced, God was at work. He even shows her a beautiful part of who He is – THE Redeemer. We see that God didn’t only redeem Naomi’s situation, but redeemed all of ours! He also shows Naomi that putting her hope and trust in Him is not futile, but that He would be the one to renew her life and sustain her (Ruth 4:15).
What are some setbacks in your life that seem to leave you hopeless? Bring those before the Lord. Ask Him to help you trust Him, even when things seem unclear. Ask Him to challenge any falsehoods of who we THINK He is, and bring us to the truth of His identity. Let’s place our trust and hope in God who Redeems and has our joy in mind.
Pastor Jasmine Penkey