Have you ever met a woman named Bitter? Neither have I, but I have read about one. In the book of Ruth we see a lady named Naomi, which means “my delight,” but some hard times leave her anything but delightful. Following the death of her husband and two sons, Naomi blames her problems on God and tells people to call her Bitter instead of Delight.
But then she has a change of heart. After hearing that a godly man named Boaz was providing for the needs of her daughter-in-law Ruth, Naomi again realizes that God is good. Three things ultimately help Naomi have a change of heart.
First, Ruth was loyal. In the 16th verse of the book of Ruth, Ruth makes the most beautiful pledge to her mother-in-law. Instead of staying where she was comfortable in her homeland, Ruth decides to move with Naomi, even though she had no obligation to do so following the death of her husband. Listen to this promise Ruth makes:
“Where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God shall be my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord do so to me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death shall separate us.”
Ruth showed loyalty to a woman who believed that God had mistreated her, and after they moved to Bethlehem, Ruth continued to be loyal. After long days working in the field gathering food, Ruth brought home enough to give Naomi as well.
Not only was Ruth loyal, but Boaz was loving. Boaz gave Ruth food and drink, ordered his men to protect her, and he took a financial loss by providing barley for her to make bread. This man could have ignored the needs of a foreign widow, but he chose instead to show her the love of Christ. I John 3:17 says that if we see someone has a need, and we are able to meet that need and refuse to, then the love of God is not in us.
Naomi had a change of heart because Ruth was loyal, Boaz was loving, but most importantly, because God was longsuffering (patient). Psalm 86:15 says that God is “full of compassion, gracious, and longsuffering.”
Because God is God, He would be perfectly justified in wiping us out when we sin. The first time Naomi criticized God, ZAP! No more Naomi. But God is patient, preferring us to learn a lesson over annihilating us. God’s patience is a blessing, but we had better not abuse it since we don’t know when it will run out.
For the person who is not a Christian, God is being patient, allowing you time to change your heart and give your life to Him. He could have destroyed you years ago, but He has sustained you, maybe even just to read this blog, to have one more opportunity to give your life to Him.
And Christians, do you know someone who has not been saved? If you are loyal, loving, and longsuffering, then you can help them change their heart.