As we were interacting over Ruth last night, we explored the journey of Naomi a bit. Her family, husband, two sons and her, left their ancestral home in search of food. Two weddings and 10 years later, she finds herself with no blood family and in a foreign land.
Walk through this with her. She leaves her family, her friends, her neighborhood, familiar surroundings and moves to a foreign land - living in a country that really was not "friendly" to Israel. A few years pass. The family has made friends, figured out who lives in the neighborhood, figured out where to buy their meat and vegetables, found new vendors to supply cloth to make clothes, developed credit with the local bank, found out who the good and friendly people were in town - started a new life. The sons found girl friends, dated and met the "fam". They eventually got married. What joyous occasions for Naomi - her sons getting married! The hope of a future. The hope of grandchildren!
And then the unthinkable happens. Someone dies. We are not told who went and when, the only thing we are told is that her husband, her soul mate, died, as did her two sons. Ten years after she left her homeland, she finds herself dealing with three deaths in her family - her blood line is gone. She is alone. No one to provide for her needs (widows needed to be taken care of in that culture; they had limited means to make money). No husband take care of her as she grew old. No sons or grandchildren to take care of her as she grew old. She was alone and in trouble.
She makes the decision to go back home. She has heard that there is food there; the famine is over. At least she can eat; maybe even sell her family's property to raise some funds to take care of her (if she can by it back from those who purchased it in their absence). She is poor and out of options.
Notice what she says about her relationship with God when she gets home. "Don't call me Naomi, call me Mara (bitter), because the Almighty has made my life bitter". Strained at best. She feels as if God has abandoned her; that he has it out for her. Understandable or at least explainable based on what she has gone through.
Jump to the end of the book - joy has returned to her. She has a grandson and is beaming!
What happened? Boaz happened. Actually, the obedience of Boaz happened. Boaz allowed poor to glean in his fields according to the command of God. Boaz, although much older than Ruth, redeemed the land and became the kinsman redeemer. Her joy was restored as God worked and was faithful to her THROUGH the obedience of Boaz.
OK, so here's the question: are you going to be a Boaz? Are you going to be obedient to the commands of God, allow God to work THROUGH you? Who can you be an encouragement to today and bring them hope, hope in a Savior who loves them, hope in the midst of a sin cursed world?