|Is this Naomi?|
‘’So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi?’’ (Ruth 1:19).
Naomi, a once well to do woman, left ‘’Bethlehem – The House of bread,’’ to Moab a land referred by God as ‘’His wash-pot,’’ or waste bin. (Psalm 108:9). Together with her husband and sons they left when famine hit God’s land. Thinking she was going to a place of greener pastures, to secure her future, her life rather took a turn for the worse. She lost her husband and two sons. She indeed went full but the strange land took all she had.
Naomi, eventually decided to return to her land, the place where God dwells. God in His mercy had visited His people. Surely there is no place like the Presence of God.
In Isaiah 30:15, The word of The LORD declares:
‘’For so says the Lord Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel, In returning and rest you shall be saved; and in quietness and hope shall be your strength. And you were not willing.’’
In Naomi's case, she was willing to return. When we lose our way in life, we must turn back to God who is merciful and faithful to re-direct our path.
Abraham, the friend of God, also missed the mark. He went to Egypt when there was famine in the land God told him to sojourn. He almost lost his wife Sara to the pharaoh. The LORD ordered him back to Bethel, the place he first build an altar unto Him. (Genesis 13:3). We need to be in the will of God.
Naomi’s return was a shock to her people. She had truly changed. Withered with sorrow, pain and old age, this once fulfilled woman was unrecognizable. They asked, is this Naomi? She asked her people not to call her Naomi which means pleasant, but rather Mara meaning bitter.
The lesson here is that, no matter how bad things are, in God’s land, it is always better to dwell and suffer with God’s people, seeking His mercy and intervention than to pitch one’s tent amidst those who have no fear of God.
Naomi, however, experienced God’s mercy with her daughter in law Ruth who accompanied her back to Bethlehem. Naomi’s kinsman Boaz, who was in the position of redeeming all that belonged to her family, married Ruth and they had a son named Obed, the grandfather of King David and of the lineage of Christ our Saviour. Naomi’s life was made whole again.
God is able to restore back to us our place of pleasantness if only we would turn to Him. No matter how far we’ve strayed let us return to The LORD for ‘’He will abundantly pardon.’’ Yet still, let us learn to stay close to The LORD, to hear Him in all of our decision making to avoid losing our way.
Stay close to The LORD.