Life Redeemed: Naomi & Me
It’s easy to judge Naomi in the story of Ruth. She didn’t do what God called her to do. She didn’t believe God and His promises to provide and care for her. She had loved and lost. She had wondered and sojourned away from God. She was shut down. And she was bitter...so very bitter.
It is easy to see the failings in the lives of others, and yet we can be so blind to our own failings. I think that I could have told Naomi where she took a wrong turn and what she should have done. As arrogant as it sounds, I think that I am better than her and wouldn’t have made the same mistakes as she did.
Then I had a realization: Even though I haven’t made the same mistakes as Naomi, I’ve made my own equally detrimental mistakes. And both our errors came from the same place.
Both of us made poor choices because neither of us were willing to trust God and take Him at His Word. We both ended up sojourning.
- Naomi’s choice was to follow her husband and sojourn into the land of Moab. She didn’t believe that God would keep His promise to care for them. Instead she trusted in her own ability to figure something out.
- My mistake: I chose to disregard that God loves me. Instead I believed that I was so flawed that God wouldn’t have chosen to love me if He were not already coming to save the whole world.
The end result for Naomi was a long path of loss and bitterness.
The end result for myself was a weary, ever-vigilant, hard working lifestyle of trying to prove to God that I was indeed worth dying for. I was striving and working and struggling and fighting. I loved God with all my heart, and I wanted desperately to be cherished by Him. Instead of accepting His love and resting in Him, I worked for Him. I was tired...and I was so very weary…
Yet, if I have learned anything over the past year it is that God is KIND, and that it is His kindness that leads us to repentance.
Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance. (Romans 2:4)
We saw in the book of Ruth how in God’s kindness He uses Ruth to help guide Naomi back to Himself. More than any other place in my life I can see God’s kindness to me in that He used something to help guide me back to Himself. It was a Sunday night class called Walking Worthy (http://walkingworthyjourney.org/).
My father had been a part of Walking Worthy, and he had urged me to take it, gently hinting that he saw I had a need. After 4 more years of sojourning I finally took his advice. Finally, I was confronted with the reality of what I had chosen. And finally I saw the kindness of God. For the Lord showed me Truth again, giving me a second chance to trust Him.
So, I did trust Him. I chose to believe that the Lord cherishes me and loves me. I chose to believe Him when He says that He would have come and redeemed me even if were the only soul on this terrestrial globe. Joy filled my soul and banished the shame I felt. Also peace flooded my heart as I rested in that blessed truth.
I who had worked and strived was now at rest.
Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and YOU SHALL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:29-30)
Just as the Lord redeemed me, setting me free from my laborious striving, so we have watched Him redeem Naomi, setting her free from her bitterness.
Here in Chapter 4 of the book of Ruth we see as God’s kindness to Naomi reaches a zenith. For this Naomi is not the same woman that we met in Chapter 1.
Naomi from Chapter 1 wanted to be called Mara (Bitterness).
However, this Naomi in Chapter 4 chooses to continued to be called Naomi: “Pleasant” or “My Delight.”
What has changed? Naomi’s life has been redeemed by the kindness of the Lord. This Naomie has a REDEEMER!
- Her Redeemer sought her out while she was far away and called her back to the promised land.
- Her Redeemer pursued her throughout her bitterness and anger and provided for her in her poverty.
- Her Redeemer restored her home and family, and gave her a child to set on her knee to nurse.
- She is given a redeemer who will be a restorer of life and a sustainer of her old age.
The change in Naomi’s life is great; so great in fact that the the women of Bethlehem say:
“BLESSED IS THE LORD who has not let you without a redeemer today and may his name become famous in Israel.” (Ruth 4:14)
The change of having a life redeemed is no less great in my own life. I am a new woman. I am not the same person that I used to be. I AM FREE!
What about you?
Have you made any choices like Naomi and I have? Are you sojourning in sin because you are not willing to believe God? Have you exchanged Truth for a lie?
Perhaps God has helped you stand strong so that you may be the Ruth for someone else’s Naomi. God places “Women of Excellence” in our lives to help us in our walk of faith. Goodness knows that I have needed a Ruth at times.
However, if you have chosen to sojourn than now is the time to be redeemed. Jesus came to “seek and save that which is lost.” You have a Redeemer who wants to redeem you. I urge you to make the effort to seek the face of your Redeemer.
Take some time to mull on this concept, and next week we will look more closely at redemption and what that means for us.
Hannah Michael Wolfkill Snyder has always loved all of her names (yes, each one is on her passport!). However, the name she loves the most is Jesus. Jesus taught her how to play in the throne room of Heaven and sit in the lap of God the Father. This is her identity, where her heart loves to abide (even if her hands and feet are busy on earth running a household or meeting up with people). Because of her joy in the Father, her heart’s desire is to show women their God given identity in the kingdom of Heaven. You can find her on Instagram.