Essentially, Naomi’s first step out of bitterness was her first step of faith. She began to see her own poor theology. She transitioned from seeing God as against her to seeing God in light of what is true. God worked for her, was faithful to her, and continued to provide for her. Naomi understood that God had used both Ruth and Boaz over the months since their return to Bethlehem to provide for her. God providentially worked through Ruth’s choice of field and Boaz’s heart for her to provide.
Bitterness fortunately does not have to rule your life.
As we have noticed in both parts one and two, bitterness complicates life. In fact, it radically distorts the way the embittered person interprets his or her relationships, circumstances, and God. Think through this illustration with me. When you have a water bottle sitting in the car all day, what temperature will the water be? The water temperature reflects the temperature of the car. On a hot day, it is hot; on a cold day, it is cold. The same phenomena happens with bitterness. The heart becomes the context through which you view and engage all aspects of your life. Therefore, when embittered, your viewpoint reflects the temperature of the heart. If you were content, likewise, your viewpoint would reflect that as well.
In the story of Ruth, we noticed so far that Naomi’s interpretation of her life reflected the bitterness in her heart. She reasoned that God had inflicted her. She was so convinced that she asked for people to call her Mara (which means bitter) rather than Naomi (which means blessed).
Thankfully, as will be discussed today, she does not stay here. She both recognizes God’s care in a particular moment and then steps out by faith to trust God again.
If you know someone who has been bitter or it is/has been a problem in your own life, then you know there is no one step of overcoming bitterness. Instead, overcoming bitterness is a process. In fact, wouldn’t it be nice if it were simply a decision you could make or simply one prayer you could pray? Unfortunately, of course, it is not.
Where then do you start the process of overcoming bitterness?
In Naomi’s story, you can see the first step toward
Naomi Sends Ruth to Boaz
The first step forward it a step of faith. She chose to trust God and His plan as it relates to her future. Since Boaz was a near-relative which could function as a kinsmen-redeemer, Naomi sends Ruth to him to see what may take place.
In Israel, when a man would die and leave a widow without a male child, the law provided for the nearest kinsmen to take her in under his protection to provide for her. Without any governmental support system or welfare, she would be left on her own. A male son would both carry on the family name, keep the property in the family’s name, and be able to work to support the widow.