Wednesday, November 28, 2012
NAOMI WAS NO ANGEL
Let's talk about what REALLY happened, o.k.? The first chapter of the Book of Ruth explains that Naomi's husband Elimelech moved his family FROM Bethlehem in Judah TO the nearby country of Moab because things were getting hard in Bethlehem. BUT...God had made provision for His people. If someone was in need, that family's neighbors would care for them. No one would go hungry in Bethlehem. Still....Elimelech took matters in to his own hands and moved his two sons (not a large family in those times) and his wife Naomi to Moab. This is not like moving from Cleveland to Memphis. This was moving away from God's people and God's provision to take care of themselves in the land of the MOABITES.
Elimelech was willingly moving his family in to the heart of darkness. In to a land of EVIL living. The Moabites worshipped many gods.. and their worship practices were... DISGUSTING. So disgusting that the only one I can actually mention... is that they sacrificed own children to their gods. Their OWN CHILDREN.
It is in to this environment that Elimelech took his family. Bible scholars suggest that his death and the premature death of his two sons was a result of his disobedience. I don't know if that's true. I do know that because of his decision, his sons married Moabite women instead of marrying Jewish girls. Even so, after their deaths, the two wives of his sons became - by JEWISH LAW - Naomi's responsibility.
Now Naomi was bitter in his spirit. And who can blame her? Things had not turned out the way they planned. Her life had been difficult. Her husband and her own sons.. dead. What grief. What great, great grief! She was old..and tired. She decides to go back to Bethlehem.....where.. as it turns out..... things had greatly improved. (God always provides for His people).
She should have taken Orpah and Ruth (her daughters-in-law) with her. But, she told them to go away. "Go back home. Leave me alone. I'm too old to be married, and give birth to sons for you to wait for to marry."
She was abdicating her God given responsibility to these young women when she said, "Go back to your people and your gods." She was dumping them and sending them BACK TO A PLACE THAT didn't know or worship the One True God and was a vile, lustful, evil place whose worship to gods included baby sacrifice. What kind of woman does that?
A Naomi does that. A Naomi thinks that if HER life has been difficult, she isn't responsible to make sure that the women who follow her have it easier. It's true Naomi had suffered great, great grief. But even that did not justify her throwing her son's wives back in to the cesspool that was Moab.
Dear sisters in the Lord. Many older women in the church are like Naomi - abandoning our call. Leaving the younger women to try and make it on their own in a society that has become, sadly, a similar cesspool.
We are called to teach the younger women.Instead, we are too tired, too hurt, too afraid, too busy, too involved in other stuff, too lazy, too self-absorbed (pick one) and
feel justified in throwing them out there in to the Moab that our society has become.
Dear Fellow Mrs. Olders... we are clearly CLEARLY instructed to love the younger women enough to teach them. It isn't easy. But it's right.
RUTH... is the hero of this story. RUTH insisted that Naomi do what she was supposed to do. RUTH insisted that Naomi share her God. Her people. Ruth wanted the One True God. Naomi? Just wanted to be left alone.
In the next few blogs.we'll discuss both sides of the story:
Is is that the Naomi's of the church are not willing to teach?
Or that the Ruth's are not willing to be taught?
FYI - I am finding... I am finding... such receptive hearts out there among the Mrs. Younger's. In my world... the Ruth's are the heroines of my story. I am finding that when they can sense that you LOVE them.. that your words are meant to HELP and not to CRITICIZE..
the Mrs. Youngers are drinking the words like women lost in a desert finding water.
I'm not that smart.
They're just that thirsty.
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