Week two: Bitter Sweet
What is discussed through out this passage?
the town being stirred up at the return of Namoi and Namoi’s feelings about her state of mind.
Everything is the Lords fault. Namoi was trying to isolate herself from people and places and now the truth comes out….
When you are mad at your father the only place to be is alone, cause who will take your side?
having a sharp, pungent taste or smell; not sweet
(of people and feelings or behaviour) angry, hurt, or resentful because of one’s bad experiences or a sense of unjust treatment.
serve as evidence or proof of somethings existing of being the case.
the choice of the word testify seems to point to something placed upon Namoi like a judgment or consequence of a previous action. I wonder if she fought to stay in Bethlehem during the famine? If she feels she has brought Gods wrath upon herself?
When have I believed that?
Can we actually bring Gods wrath upon ourselves with bad choices?
if only Hebrews12:10-13 had been written for Namoi to read.
They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
Gods wrath? Im not convince, but His discipline is doled out in accordance to His decrement. God appears to possess wrath, but it is not detached from His love. Namoi may have been under the discipline of our heavenly Father or she may have simple been in deep morning but it is safe to say she was bitter and God was the target. But He has big shoulders and can burden our broken.
Lets take it right back to Deuteronomy 29:18-19 and remember bitterness is rooted in anger and guilt.
Make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the Lord our God to go and worship the gods of those nations; make sure there is no root among you that produces such bitter poison.
19 When such a person hears the words of this oath and they invoke a blessing on themselves, thinking, “I will be safe, even though I persist in going my own way,” they will bring disaster on the watered land as well as the dry.
When we say in our heart, I’m fine I can dabble in this sin and not succumb or be tempted. We may be flaunting a false sense of salvation, a sense that we are the creator of our own salvation and not in need of Gods assistance to holy and set apart. I can only imagine that Namoi living away from her people (Gods children) and submersed in a pagan culture must have influence her last few years away in some way or another. She was desert dwelling in the day land, without a community of like minded believers. How parched she must have felt, how trying it must have been.
What is the point?
be doers not only hearers…
When Namoi and her husband fled the famine they left a portion of their firm foundation as well. They did not “do” the Word and failed to remember the prevision of God in the wilderness. They seemed to have forgotten their ancestry of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who were given promises and prevision.
God wanted the Israelites to dwell in the land He had given them. He wants us to dwell in the prevision and grace He gives us. Everything in His book leads us to understand that all joy and flourishing will happen when we dwell in His presents and plans.
So when we leave and hopefully return; shame, guilt and bitterness can be very real if we “knew” better then to toy with temptation.
Bitterness is a root that grows in our hearts. We can either water it or pull it out.
Understanding Gods truth and living like we are loved, regardless of wether we have strayed, is the best cure for bitterness. Namoi strayed (even if it was just geographically) and she probably knew that, and she was just mad and sad. As Namoi returned to Gods home for her, His path He had placed them on, not so many years earlier (a path that lead out of Egypt). As she returned to what she knew as peace and goodness. As she departed from folly. She could see in living colour the grief of straying from the path chose for her people, for her family.
This made me think of the balance of the submissive wife who allows her husband to lead, but not to a fault. Submitting to Christ first and committing to His ongoing work in her spouse is a fine line that must be walked with prayer and humility. We sometimes must stand our ground and say “You need to reconsider, and seek God and do the right thing” Not just the thing for right now.
Im not certain they were “wrong to go away from Bethlehem in the first place” But Namoi’s reaction upon arrival back home made me wonder how things might have been different had they stayed in faith and not stepped out in fear. This also caused me to wonder, where do I need to be weighing my decisions with prevision from past experience and the future potential for the giving of life or taking it away.
Sometimes Faith is a step, and sometimes Faith is staying put. Continuing to do the hard, sweaty, work of picking up one tiny seed of life giving potential after another and counting is at blessed. Day after day. Sometimes the faithful life looks like working a little harvest and finding the joy in the reaping of small things.
Right now mom life seems relentlessness. Spilled milk, runny noses, lost socks, big emotions, and lego, contaminating every surface of my house. But remaining present and joyful even in this, I receive a harvest of abundant joy. Exercising thankfulness, with the stooping and gathering of each beautiful mom moment, is the harvest that I am labouring in today. Bitterness can’t take root in soil that is overgrown with thankfulness and faithfulness.
This is the Story of Ruth.