Bitterness (part 2)

Last week, we left off with Naomi blaming God for the things which had befallen her. She blamed God - Ultimately this is where all bitterness ends up! “I am the target of God’s overwhelming power and wrath! All this is against me!”

This cry sounds like the cry of Jacob.

Genesis 42:36

36 And Jacob their father said unto them, Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me.



If only she could see the blessings that were soon to come!

(Thinking again about Jacob - If only Jacob could see that God is working behind the scenes in the bitter episodes of his life.....Come Joseph and teach us about the bitter experiences of life and how that God has his way in it all!)

Jacob would soon realize that everything that seemed “against him” was actually “for him!” So too will Naomi realize this!

But NO! Not yet. Bitter people are often blinded. Naomi just keeps replaying the bitterness in her mind! It becomes a circular pattern. The more she dwelt on what had been done to her, the injustices she had suffered, and the losses she had incurred, the deeper goes the root of bitterness. Carrying around a load of bitterness is exhausting.

Next, notice this. Bitter people are unpredictable - (emotionally)

First, she speaks well of the Lord

Ruth 1:8–9

8 And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother’s house: the Lord deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me. 9 The Lord grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept.

When Naomi told her daughters-in-law to go back home, Orpah did turn back and leave Naomi; but Ruth clung to the bitter woman - What a heart Ruth had!

So it seems that all is well in Naomi’s heart; but in the next few verses, when she gets back to her homeland, she basically impeaches the Lord and impugns His integrity not more than four times. Notice with me what she says.

Read with me.

Ruth 1:19–21

19 So they two went until they came to Beth-lehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Beth-lehem, 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?

I want you to notice that word “Mara.” It means bitterness - the years of pain and heartache and difficulty had done their work - She was barely recognizable. This is what bitterness does....it hardens you - She was Naomi - The pleasant one - Now she is Mara - haggardly and bitter. She no longer has the things she loved. Bitterness hardens your heart on the inside and your features on the outside. It also defiles those around you because it is contagious.

Notice the following 4 things:

1. God has made her life bitter

Ruth 1:20

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

2. God has afflicted her

Ruth 1:21

21 ….why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the Lord hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?

In between these two charges agains God, she lobs two more grenades!

3. She considers God as her opposition - This verse is written, in the Hebrew, with her at the beginning and God’s name at the end, thus highlighting the distance from God that she felt and the opposition.

Ruth 1:21

21 …I went out full, and the Lord hath brought me home again empty:

4. God is the one who has emptied her and taken away from her all that was pleasant (See the verse above - 21). In Ruth 1:13 , She mentions this as well.

13 … it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord is gone out against me.

In other words, God has brought these disastrous calamities to me.

So Naomi lays the blame squarely at the feet of God. What is a person to do in a situation like this?