Week 12 of Judges – Hard Times and God Provides

Ruth 1:19-22 – Hard Times and God Provides

19 So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi?

20 And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.

21 I went out full and the Lord hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the Lord hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?

22 So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.

Naomi had fallen on some hard, hard times. Now, to the surprise of all the people back home, she returns to where she is from. Naomi is what we would call today “a mess”. She even asked people to stop calling her Naomi, which means “Pleasant”, but instead to call her Mara, which means “Bitter”. Clearly, Naomi had fallen on hard times and even blamed God for it in verse 21!

What we see, however, in verse 22 is a hint of God’s guidance in the whole situation. The Bible says “and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.” Today, it is easy for us to glance over that statement and not realize its significance. During the harvest time, God told the Israelis not to pick all the plants in their fields that way the poor can come up to the side and pick food for themselves. God did not want anyone going hungry. It was during this time that Naomi and Ruth would be able to gather food and care for themselves. God will also use this situation to bless Ruth!

When we Christians experience hard times, it is important for us to remember that God is still in control and that He is still good! Even though hard times might get us down, God still loves us and honors our obedience and Godliness.

Life Step: Think about it…

What hard times are you or have you experienced that God is leading or has lead you through?

What are some ways that we can stay obedient and close to God during hard times?