Can this be Naomi?


Photo by Aaron Burden on

Can this be Naomi?

Ruth 1:19-21 (JDV)

Ruth 1:19 The two of them traveled until they came to Bethlehem. When they entered Bethlehem, the whole town was excited about their arrival and the local women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?”

Ruth 1:20 “Don’t call me Naomi. Call me Mara,” she answered, “because the Almighty has made me very bitter.

Ruth 1:21 I went away full, but Yahveh has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has opposed me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?”

Can this be Naomi?

With all her losses in Moab, Naomi did pick up something there, and brought it back with her to Judah. She brought an attitude with her. She had grown pessimistic and disheartened. Given what she had experienced, it is understandable that she would become bitter.

Yet, if she had only known what was in store for her back in Bethlehem, it would have changed her demeaner.

The name “Naomi” is related to the Hebrew na’im (נעים) — meaning nice or pleasant. “Mara” means bitter. There was another woman who stayed in Bethlehem for a while whose name is related to “Mara.” Her name was Mary. She also had a lot of sorrow and pain in her life, but what a life that was!

Perhaps you are reading this today, and you relate more to “Mara” than to “Naomi.” I encourage you to focus your mind on the hope of what God can do, rather than fixating on past failures and losses.

LORD, make me a hopeful Naomi instead of a bitter Mara.

About Jefferson Vann

Jefferson Vann is pastor of Piney Grove Advent Christian Church in Delco, North Carolina. You can contact him at -- !
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