Don’t call me Naomi. . . . Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. Ruth 1:20
Jen remarried after her first husband died. The children of her new husband never accepted her, and now that he’s passed away too, they hate her for remaining in their childhood home. Her husband left a modest sum to provide for her; his kids say she’s stealing their inheritance. Jen is understandably discouraged, and she’s grown bitter.
Naomi’s husband moved the family to Moab, where he and their two sons died. Years later, Naomi returned to Bethlehem empty-handed, except for her daughter-in-law Ruth. The town was stirred and asked, “Can this be Naomi?” (Ruth 1:19). She said they shouldn’t use that name, which means “my pleasant one.” They should call her “Mara,” which means “bitter,” because “I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty” (vv. 20–21).
Is there a chance your name is Bitter? You’ve been disappointed by friends, family, or declining health. You deserved better. But you didn’t get it. Now you’re bitter.
Naomi came back to Bethlehem bitter, but she came back. You can come home too. Come to Jesus, the descendant of Ruth, born in Bethlehem. Rest in His love.
In time, God replaced Naomi’s bitterness with the joyful fulfillment of His perfect plan (4:13–22). He can replace your bitterness too. Come home to Him.
What name describes you? What does it mean for you to live out the name that describes who you are in Jesus?
Father, I’m coming home to find my rest in Your Son.
The story of Ruth, which tells of the ancestry of David, Israel’s greatest king (Ruth 4:18–22), starts with great-great-grandfather Elimelek relocating his family to Moab to avoid a famine (1:1–2). Elimelek lived “in the days when the judges ruled” (v. 1). We’re not told the exact time, but it was within the three-hundred-year period (about 1380–1050 bc) between the death of Joshua (Joshua 24:29) and the beginning of Saul’s reign as king (1 Samuel 13:1). It was a time characterized by political instability, decadent immorality, and spiritual idolatry (Judges 2:10–13; 3:5–6) when “everyone did as they saw fit” (17:6; 21:25).