Her name means “my delight, pleasant.” It comes from a Hebrew word meaning “agreeable.” However, she didn’t always see herself as a delight. For a time, she took the name Mara, “bitter, bitterness”.
Her story: Ruth 1:1 – 4:22
Naomi left Bethlehem, in Judah, with her husband and two sons during a famine. They moved to the land of Moab. Her husband died, her sons married, and then her sons both died. She was left alone with her two daughters-in-law. To be a widow without family meant a life without support or protection. Naomi stayed in Moab for ten years and then decided to return to Judah. When she came back, she reluctantly brought one daughter-in-law with her.
When Naomi and her daughter-in-law arrived home, the city was excited to see them, but Naomi felt that God had ripped a family and a wonderful future from her while she was gone. She came back bitter and asked her friends to call her Mara instead.
Barley harvesting was going on when they returned and Naomi’s daughter-in-law went to work in the fields. When her daughter-in-law returned with food and told her about her experience in the fields, Naomi recognized the owner of the field. She instructed her daughter-in-law about Jewish redeemer-kinsman laws and taught her how to ask this relative for protection. Boaz secured the right to marry Naomi’s daughter-in-law and protection was provided. Ruth’s husband’s inheritance was returned to Ruth and her heirs.
At the end of the book of Ruth, Naomi’s friends rejoice with her over her grandson and prophesy about the coming Messiah (her Redeemer and ours) this way: “Blessed be the LORD who has not left you this day without a close relative (a redeemer); and may His name be famous in Israel! And may He be a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him.” (Ruth 4:14-15)
Her legacy for us: Even when things aren’t going the way we think they should, our Heavenly Father has provided a Redeemer who can redeem anything and His results far exceed what we ourselves can ever imagine.
Our response to Him: When things seem to be hopeless, am I tempted to become overwhelmed with disappointment? How can I learn to anticipate Your work in my life without letting my expectations create chaos in my heart and mind?