Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Rough and Tough Times

O. T. #557 "Rough and Tough Times"
July 14, 2015
Ruth 1-Part 2
Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, "Go back, each of you, to your mother's home..."  Ruth 1:8 NIV


I dare say, if you have been married over thirty years, you have experienced some rough and tough times. Am I right? We certainly have. To be honest, we used to have some fights in our younger years. We had many differences to over come and challenges to meet. Yet, we did. It will soon be 43 years we have stayed married. There were some good times, too. (I don't want you to get the wrong impression.) What we do with those challenges is what matters, I always say. do we give up, leave when the rough and tough times come? Or do we stick it out, stand tall, bear and grin, go on? Is our faith challenges during those times? For sure. So it was with Naomi and her family of 4, which became 6, then 3.

This Jewish family of four left their Promised Land to enter the forbidden land of Moab? A famine caused them to leave Bethelem-Judah. Yes, and they stayed there about 10 years, at least the wife named Naomi did. Moving was their first mistake.

What  tragic incidences occurred while in Moab?
  •  The husband, Elimelech died, leaving Naomi a widow and two sons.
  •  Then the two sons marry Moabite women, Orpah (means stiff-necked) and Ruth (means friendship). That was their second mistake.Now, the Jews were told not to mingle with the Moabites, but this family did.
  • The two sons died, Mahlon and Chilion, leaving Naomi alone with her two daughters in law.
Things have to get better, right? Well, it didn't with this family of Naomi. How could a widow had her two in laws support themselves in that society?
If they had been trusting in God in the first place, the four would not have left Bethelem. You know, hind sight is always 20/20, especially for us.

Haven't we been there? Moved away when situations got hard to handle or too bad to bear? To top it off, things get worse after moving, just when we expected them to get better.
Then, good news-Naomi heard that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them.


After ten years, she had had enough. Naomi packed her makeup case, change of clothes, and who knows how many shoes and left on the first plane home. Well, not so fast. (A little exaggeration there) Anyway, the three women prepared to return home from there. (only one woman's home, actually)
Let's get going. Naomi and the two gals left the place where she had  been living, set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah. I don't know how far they got when Naomi realized the gals were leaving their homeland to travel to her homeland with her.

What did Naomi say and do then?
  • Each of you go back to your mother's home.
  • May the Lord show kindness to you, as you have shown to your dead husbands and me.
  • May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest (a better situation) in the home of another husband.
  • Then their mother in law kissed them and they wept aloud.
  • The gals told Naomi that they would go back with her to her people.
  • Why would you come with me Am I going to have any more sons that could become your husbands?
  • Naomi said she was too old for such a thing. Besides that, even if it occurred that night, would they wait for them to grow up? 
  • They wept again; Orpah kissed Naomi good by and left to return back to her home.
  • Ruth clave (clung) to Naomi.
Can you feel the love flowing here? The three women had shared in the grief of loosing a husband, and sons or brother in law. They hated to separate, for they'd not see one another again.
What did Ruth do? What was her decision, go with Naomi or return back home, also?

Apparently, the love of God had not made an impression upon Orpah, for her returning home probably meant she returned to her idolatry. Sounds like she high tailed it and ran, so to speak. Of course, we aren't told how devout and strong Jews this family was, either.

Ladies, what would you do if your father in law died, as well as your husband and brother in law? Would you move in with his mom or go back home? How strong is your family ties? the love of your family? How committed are we to our family when times get tough? Do we want to run or tough it out trusting God to provide?
Who knows, it may be the thing that draws others to the Lord when they see you trusting in God, turning toward Him in tough times.


Deny myself, take up my cross, and follow Jesus, one step at a time.

Trust and obey, even when times are hard, rough and tough.

Stay in God's Word, especially during those times.

Count my blessings.

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