Thursday, October 8, 2009

Naomi's Story--Our Story - Part 1

BREADLESSNESS
Breadless in Bethlehem.  The house of bread battled famine.  Yet in the midst of hunger, Naomi felt full.  She had her loved ones.  Elimelech, whose name meant "my God is king," packed up his wife and two sickly sons.  They traveled 30 miles to a foreign land where greener pastures prevailed.  Away from family.  Away from friends.  Away from the land of promise.  In a sense, away from God.  To Moab.  Where idols ruled.  Not that far in terms of distance.  But a million miles in terms of heart.

Question:  Do you ever feel full while eating the wrong food?  Off the wrong plates?  In the wrong restaurants?  Instead of eating at the table of the Bread of Life?

BROKENNESS
Elimelech died shortly after the family arrived in Moab.  The sons married Moabite girls.  And then the boys died.  Naomi faced life as a widow alone.  Without her girlfriends back in Bethlehem.  Broke and heartbroken.  Empty in a fertile land.  Except for her daughters-in-law who had bonded with her and remained with her.  And then Naomi heard the famine was over.  She rose up, dusted herself off, and headed toward home.  She tried to send the girls back to their own mothers, in hopes they could find rest and new husbands.  The pull was too much for Orpah.  But Ruth determined to remain, and the two widows continued on.

Question:  Do you ever try to find rest in others when your security should be in God alone?

BITTERNESS
Circumstances plunged Naomi into a deep sea of grief.  She did not blame God or rebel against Him.  She recognized His control over everything, but pain and sadness still overwhelmed her.  The tragedy of the last 10 years showed on her face.  The women of Bethlehem could not believe their eyes.  Was this really Naomi?

"Don't call me Naomi,"  she said.  "Call me Mara."

Question:  In the midst of pain, do you still recognize that God is in control?  Do you rest and trust?  Or do you blame?

I'm grateful to Kay Arthur for teaching me the concept of making bitter waters sweet.  More pleasant.  Palatable.

After the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, they went out into the wilderness.  They wandered around for three days and couldn't find water.  Until they came to Marah.  But the water was bitter.  The people complained, and Moses cried out to God.  God showed Moses a tree, and Moses threw it into the water.  And the water became sweet.

There's another tree that stood on a hill.  A cross that reminds us that Jesus tasted bitterness for us.  He gave up everything so we could taste the sweetness of life in heaven.  But even more than that.  When we are wading through hard and bitter circumstances, we can apply that tree to those waters.  Painful times can become sweeter as we deny ourselves, take up our own crosses, and trust that He will work all things for our good.

To be continued...


Scriptures to read:  Ruth 1, Exodus 15 (especially verses 22-25)

Copyright © 2009 by Sandra Heska King

6 comments:

BeckyJoie at Leaders in Learning said...

Great devotional! I like the way you wove the questions in through like that.

Sandy/Snady said...

Thanks, BeckyJoie! I think those questions were meant for me. ;)

Eric Hamil said...

Great post! I unfortunately have been so busy I got behind reading your thoughts, but it is good to have a few moments here that I can catch up! :)

Sandy/Snady said...

Hi Eric! Thanks. I sure know about that busy thing. I'm so glad you had time to stop in and hope you're getting into the swing of school.

Blessings,
Sandy

Jody Hedlund said...

Sandy,
You should tell your mother that you have a blog! It's wonderful!

Sandy/Snady said...

Oh, Jody! That just filled my bucket...but then I nearly spewed all over my computer. Only you will "get" that, I'm sure! Thanks for that warm fuzzy. I'm sure loving getting to know you.

I probably should...

I'm just getting used to saying "I'm a writer" instead of "I've been writing." ;)

Hugs,
Sandy

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