Naomi and Ruth arrived in Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest. Spring. Bread again in the house of bread. Naomi had experienced winter in her heart and soul. Little did she know that spring would soon break into her brokenness. Little did she know what God was orchestrating for her and her Gentile daughter-in-law, and for us. Little did she know that beauty would blossom from her ashes. That gladness would displace her mourning and a spirit of praise would triumph over her despair. A new story in the works.
Ruth “just happened” to glean in the field of a man named Boaz, who “just happened” to be from Elimelech’s family–a close kinsman, one who could redeem Elimelech’s land and carry on his name.
Questions: Have you ever experienced any “just happenings?” Do you believe God can bring spring out of your winter?
Boaz took Ruth as his wife, and she conceived and birthed a son. Perhaps Naomi served as midwife. The neighbor women blessed God and rejoiced with Naomi that she had been redeemed. And that she held in her arms one who would restore her life, bring back her vitality, and help care for her in her old age. They said, “A son has been born to Naomi,” and they, the neighbor ladies, named him Obed, which meant, “serving.”
I didn’t quite get that. Ruth experienced morning sickness. Ruth’s back ached. Ruth went through labor. Yet it was Naomi’s baby? Maybe there’s more to it, but remember that Ruth clung to Naomi (1:14). The Hebrew for “clung” is the same word translated “cleave” in Genesis 2:24 where a man and woman become one flesh. These women were stuck like glue. One. And Ruth made a covenant declaration. What’s mine is thine.
Naomi had suffered. She had lost much. But in the end she received redemption. And a daughter-in-law better to her than seven sons, who loved her deeply. And she cradled the child who would become the grandfather of King David. Who held the seed of the one who would be the Redeemer, the Restorer of life–my life, your life. Life itself. She touched the life that touched the life that touched the life…that would one day touch the world.
Little did she know.
Question: Have you been blessed in spite of, or in the midst of, despair? Are you touching a life that might one day touch the world?
I wonder if Obed’s other grandmother lived to see him. I wonder if he knew her. I wonder if the grandmothers talked and shared stories over a cup of tea. If they caught their breath as they shared God sightings and God moments.
The Bible often leaves me breathless. Like in Ruth 1:12. Naomi said, “If I had hope...” Naomi did not feel very hopeful about having either another husband or more sons. She didn’t feel very hopeful about her future at all. The Hebrew word for hope here is “tiqvah,” and it’s the first time it’s translated “hope.” The word “tiqvah” is first used in Joshua 2:18, but there it is translated “cord.” Boaz’s mother, Obed’s grandmother, Rahab, the Gentile harlot named in the genealogy of Jesus, tied a scarlet cord in the window, and she and her family were spared when the walls of Jericho fell.
Hang on to that cord. A cord of hope that connects us to Hope. Hope for redemption. Hope for restoration. Hope for renewal. Hope for blessings and a new story in the midst of famine and pain and brokeness. The thread, the cord, that runs throughout the pages of scripture.
Naomi’s story–our story–HOPE!
Scriptures to read: Ruth, Joshua 2, Deuteronomy 25:5-10
Look up “hope” in the Blue Letter Bible. Be sure the version (range option) is KJV or NASB.
Copyright © 2009 by Sandra Heska King