From Bitter to Pleasant (Ruth 4:13 – 22; 1 Samuel 1:1 – 7)

Ruth and Boaz were married, and thus Naomi’s estate was redeemed.  They had a child, and named him Obed.  Obed would become the grandfather of David the king.  Naomi took the child and became a nurse to him, and her days of bitterness were ended.  She was again called Naomi, which means “pleasant.”  

The tragedies of loss that befell Naomi were significant, but God was able, through a daughter-in-law (described by the women of their city as “better than seven sons”) to redeem not only her land, but also her life.

Boaz and Ruth are a beautiful type and shadow of the Redeemer, Jesus Christ, providing life and redemption to all who would need it and receive it.  

The second passage in this reading begins the story of a woman named Hannah who longed for a son.  Elkanah had two wives, Hannah and Peninnah.  Peninnah had sons, but Hannah did not.  Elkanah loved Hannah best and gave more to her, even though she was barren.  Peninnah, perhaps our of jealousy, provoked Hannah severely to make her miserable.  When the family would make the trip annually to the temple, Hannah was so miserable that she would not eat, and wept constantly.

We all probably know the end of the story, but it is important to understand the need to provide support, not provocation, to those who are suffering or in need.  Hannah was desperately seeking that which would fulfill her and give her a better place in her culture, a son.  Barrenness was a curse in her day, placing her below other women who were mothers.  When someone is oppressed or in a tougher spot, do not provoke or taunt, but rather be a support and a blessing.  That is what God would rather us do!

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