The story of Naomi in Ruth chapter one teaches us that how things look and how things feel are often not how they are.
The last time Naomi had seen her hometown on the Judean hillside, the barley fields had been barren in the House of Bread.
The famine had stirred the specter of starvation. Naomi’s husband, Elimelech, not a patient man even in bounty, was convinced that Moab held a better life. This had frightened Naomi nearly as much as starvation. There was no fear of Yahweh in Moab. Chemosh, the bloodthirsty, was worshiped there. She had prayed desperately for a full harvest to keep them home. Yahweh had not moved. So her man of action had moved her, their two sons, and the necessities they could carry, to Moab.
Now, a decade later, Naomi was returning home. The Bethlehem barley fields were full and ripe. But her house was now barren. In Moab she had suffered a famine of men. So as her friends greeted her, she replied, “Do not call me Naomi [pleasant]; call me Mara [bitter], for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me” (Ruth 1:20).
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