I have pulled many an all-nighter in my day. I did not hang up my “night owl” ways when I became a mom either. I think I have gotten worse. I can be so much more productive at night! At night, no one screams “Mommmmmy, I’mmmm doneeee!” or “Juice! Please Mommy!” or “Mommy! Ella’s playing with the potty water again!” So I like nights and sometimes my work adds up and I catch God’s “sunrise spectacular” from the very beginning.
I love that dark blue color the sky gets right before the sun makes it’s debut! The night has been so dark but the light slowly starts to show signs of returning. The earth is still and quiet. The night is ending and the sun is just about to shine!
I believe we see one of those “dark blue sky” moments here in the book of Ruth:
In just one short chapter, we find Naomi go from a wife and a mother of two sons – to just the mother-in-law to one seemingly foolish girl. All the things most precious and dear to any woman are stripped away over a series of 10 years. I can not fathom her grief.
“Then Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died; and she was left with her two sons. They took for themselves Moabite women as wives; … The both Mahlon and Chilion also died, and the woman was bereft of her two children and her husband.” Ruth 1:4-5
So what else is a woman to do (especially in that day) but go home.
When she arrives home with her daughter-in-law Ruth, the text says,
And when they had come to Bethlehem, all the city was stirred because of them “and the women said, “Is this Naomi?” Ruth 1:19
I love it! Humanity has not changed much in 3,000 or so years, right? Oh, the gossip that must have been transpiring! My Bible even says “they” instead of “the women”. I think we all have some “them” in our lives! So Naomi answers them:
“She said to them, Do not call me, Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.” Ruth 1:20
Note that “Naomi” means, “pleasant” and “Mara” means “bitter”. Also the Hebrew word for “Almighty” she uses here is “Shaddai”. Shaddai means “pourer fourth” or “Almighty”. So taking all that in to context, I feel there is quite a bit of sarcasm here and definitely bitterness. Naomi is acknowledging that the Lord is in control and at work. He is the “pourer-fourth” yet for whatever reason he has chosen to deal bitterly with her. I almost feel she is not even speaking to “them” but to “Him” as if to say, “Yeah! If you are the Almighty one, why did you let all of this happen to me? You are the one who controls everything after all! I don’t understand! Just call me “Mara’!”
If you have never had one of those “Mara moments” with the Lord, you are a better person than me! I am so incredibly thankful for the Father’s sweet and tender patience in letting us question!
So the chapter ends with this:
“So Naomi returned, and with her Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, who returned from the land of Moab. And they came to Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.” Ruth 1:22
I love this! Let me tell you what the Lord revealed to me!
This is that dark blue sky moment here! Chapter one has been pitch black dark. All seems hopeless and bitter! Without a kinsman to care for her and provide for her she was hopeless. I would imagine Naomi feels defeated, guilty, and shameful. Yet the text points out that her daughter-in-law, Ruth, is with her. Why is this significant? Fast forward a couple of chapters and you will see it is through Ruth, that redemption comes to Naomi! She marries Boaz. Boaz cares for them-redeems them and they even give Naomi a grandson!
So right there next to her stands her “hope” and she doesn’t even know it! There is even more of a hint of hope because they returned at the “beginning of the barley harvest.” It is because of the harvest that Ruth works and thus meets Boaz, their kinsman Redeemer!
All of this hope is right there- literally right there– and Naomi hasn’t a clue. And I think that’s okay. El Shaddai never stopped being El Shaddai. He has a sunrise coming and it will be all the more beautiful because she has felt the darkest night! She will soon see her El Shaddai’s faithfulness! She will be “pleasant” again! The Lord Almighty is dealing bountifully with her! She needs only to hang on through the night!
“Blessed is the Lord who has not left you without a redeemer today, and may his name become famous in Israel.” Ruth 4:14