There’s something about reading books. I have read quite a few books on my iPad, and it’s nice for convenience sake, but it’s just not the same as holding a book, and turning the pages yourself. Personally, I love soft cover books so much better than hardcover, because they’re bendy and flexible, and easy to position for my own comfort.
One of my favorite, bendy books happens to be my old, NIV Bible. Now, if you aren’t into that, it’s ok. I’m not here to push my beliefs on you. However, if you are a frequent visitor to my site, you know that there are 3 elements that I focus on: Mind, Body, and Spirit, although not necessarily in that order. So as you peruse this site, you will see studies I’ve done on the spiritual tip that perhaps weren’t what anyone expected, but that may have provided a different perspective that I hope was helpful.
Today, I was thinking about perspectives when I decided to do some reading, and I chose to use my actual Bible as opposed to my iPad’s app, to read some scriptures. As I picked it up, it fell open to the book of Ruth; a book I have read before, but I felt perhaps I should look at again. I really thought I was just going to quickly read through all 4 chapters to satisfy my need for spiritual food for the day, but apparently, God had something else in mind.
Now, in order to explain why I was stopped after only the first chapter, I need to show you the verse near the end of that chapter that sort of stopped me in my tracks.
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? (KJ)
The reason that this caught my attention was her attitude. Back in those times, people were very conscious about names and their meanings. They knew that a person’s path in life is often dictated by their name. It’s like when you name a child, you are setting their life’s course. For instance, my name – Sandra, means Helper and Defender. I was a defender of my co-workers years ago, when I was taking up the cause for employee rights as an EEO rep in the absence of bought union reps who picked and chose who they would represent.
Currently, evidence of the Helper in me is written into all of my websites and social media; as well as my current profession as an LMT. My desire and goals to educate people, especially on how to get freedom, and enjoy a healthier life free from pain is also evidence of my nature lining up with my name. This is why Naomi’s statement caught my attention. It is clear that she knows the meaning of her name.
So now, we have to go back to the beginning of the chapter to see what happened that caused her to make this statement.
1 Now it came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.
2 And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehem Judah. And they came into the country of Moab, and continued there.
3 And Elimelech Naomi’s husband died; and she was left, and her two sons.
4 And they took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth: and they dwelled there about ten years.
5 And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband.
6 Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the LORD had visited his people in giving them bread.
7 Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah.
What gets me is that when she returns home, she’s telling her friends to rename her. Her name Naomi means “pleasant.” But now, she’s doing what most people do. She’s only viewing her world through the eyes of loss.
Our words reveal our thoughts; Manners mirror our self-esteem; Our actions reflect our character; Our habits predict the future. William Arthur Ward
Losing her husband and her son’s has made her bitter, because apparently her world revolved around them, and she linked her identity with having a husband and having two sons. She did not see that she individually had worth, and that God could still bless her in spite of her loss.
As far as she’s concerned, their loss meant she is nothing and no one, and that the hand of God has turned against her. Her bitterness is because her connection with God was not correct. Her identity should have been linked to God, not her husband or sons.
We are all here for a specific reason and purpose, and we all encounter different seasons in life, as well as seasonal people. You just need some perspective glasses so you can see that your loss/mistake/failure is temporary; it’s just a seasonal thing.
Our souls are not hungry for fame, comfort, wealth, or power…Our souls are hungry for meaning, for the sense that we have figured out how to live so that our lives matter, so that the world will be at least a little bit different for our having passed through it. Rabbi Harold Kushner
Naomi is saying that she doesn’t deserve her current name based upon her current condition. She’s completely missing the point…in fact, several. Number one is that God doesn’t judge us in that manner. God doesn’t say,
“I gave you this name because I expected you to behave/act/be like this, but you messed up/failed/made a mistake. So now, based the consequences of your actions, and the state that it’s left you in, I’m gonna have to rename you.”
Our name may be an indicator of our path or our nature, but it is not an indicator of our worth. Naomi is looking at the entire picture incorrectly. First of all, all she’s apparently thinking about is appearances, because her friends probably saw them off when her family originally left.
But, and this is what really gets me on this sort of inane thought process; look at what her children were named. First, her husband’s name, Elimelech means “My God is King.” So this brings us to a “Why” question.
If Elimelech’s faith truly lined up with his name, why did the family leave Bethlehem (house of bread and praise) to go to Moab (of father) a place who’s progenitor was birthed from incest? I know there was a famine in the land where they lived, but what better place to be in the time of famine, than the house of bread and praise?
A famine in the land is a physical manifestation of a condition of the spirit. It’s a matter of mindset. Your heart is out of alignment with God. So that is problem number 1. This was a nationwide problem.
But, Naomi and her husband took it a step further. They left the land of their forefathers, and went even further outside of God’s will into a land not only birthed from incest, but furthermore, where other gods were worshiped, and child sacrifice to these gods was done.
Furthermore, Naomi and her husband were so far gone spiritually, that before her sons died, the parents let them marry Moabite women, something God’s laws prohibited. This was not because of the race of these people, but because of their culture.
Coming back to the names of their sons, Mahlon and Chilion (Kilion), why would they name their children like this? Mahlon means ” sick,” and Chilion (Kilion), means “pining.” It is clear to me that Naomi and Elimelech both knew about name meanings, and the power of them.
The problem here, as I see it, is yet another situation where people fail to utilize the billion dollar asset God gave each and every one of us, and think.