The stage is set. We see the hints of Naomi’s transformation in this first chapter of Ruth. She was empty, blaming God. Her focus was on the physical: food, land, name, family. And in that, she believed God has failed her. Accustomed to taking matters into her own hands. (her family left Bethlehem rather than count on God’s provision), she returned to Bethlehem to partake in the abundance she heard of.
Bitter at God’s failure, she didn’t descend into atheism and she didn’t embrace the Moabite gods. She simply distanced herself from God. He was still the God on the throne but apparently caring little for Naomi.
Naomi didn’t believe that God, in love, had provided for her needs.
She accused God of bringing her back empty. But what she didn’t see was that she returned with Ruth (so she wasn’t even alone as she claimed) during the barley harvest. Naomi came back to Bethlehem in its most fruitful time. That one statement foreshadows the rest of the story. Things are not as they appear.
God had a lot more in store for Naomi than just enough food to eat. He had a restoration of her family line, redemption of her land, and blessings beyond what she could imagine.
Naomi – who blamed God for the hopeless of her empty life – would soon have a son who will be the grandfather of King David. Life looked hopeless to Naomi but fullness was the truth of her future.
Next: coming home