Depression in Naming a Name

Bible Book: Ruth  1 : 19-22
Subject: Decisions; Will, God's
Series: Ruth - Flaming Hearts in Fields of Hope

Ruth 1:19-22 (KJV) 19 So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi? 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? 22 So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.


In this section we will find insight of some lessons that were learned in the heart of Naomi. Upon re-entering the city of Bethlehem we find much excitement and enthusiasm for Naomi, she must have been greatly missed. In leaving for the pagan plains of Moab, Naomi and Elimelech perceived that they were as empty as one could be. This proved to be absolutely untrue; the family was rich and overflowing with bountiful blessings from the Lord their God.

The blessings of God are not always identifiable on the families’ economical ledger sheet. One may misperceive God’s blessings in the midst of famine and frail circumstances. The blessings of God are often taken for granted. One must not compare the valuable to the valued. The family needed food for their survival, this was valuable to them, but it was not considered valued.

There's a big difference between having something that is valuable and something that is valued. According to Webster's Dictionary:

VALUABLE means "1. Of high monetary or material value 2. Of great importance, utility, or service".

VALUED, on the other hand, means "1. Highly esteemed".

According to Dictionary.Com we find the following definitions:

VALUABLE is defined as:

1. having considerable monetary worth; costing or bringing a high price

2. having qualities worthy of respect, admiration, or esteem: a valuable friend.

VALUED is defined as:

1. highly regarded or esteemed: a valued friend.

2. having value of a specified kind: a triple-valued offer.

Naomi & her Notable Name:

a. The past sweetness of her name

b. The present sourness of her name

Naomi & her Numbing Notation:

a. The past plight that she harrowingly found

b. The present pain that she heavily felt

I - The Pleasurable Quest for Bethlehem - Enthusiasm (19)

The road must have looked wonderful as Naomi and Ruth begin their homeward journey. I bet that Naomi saw various landmarks that alerted her that Bethlehem was not far down the road. One of the best things about a vacation is the return trip home, at some point along the way you may see a sign that alerts you that your city is only so far away, and to me this is a great sight. I love going on vacations, but there is no place like the old home place.

In the wonderful movie, “The Wizard of Oz” Dorothy looks at Toto her dog and says, “Toto - I’ve a feeling we are not in Kansas anymore” and she was so right in saying this. The as the story is ending, and Dorothy has come back home she says with great seriousness; “Home! And this is my room - and you are all here! And I'm not going to leave here ever again, because I love you all! And --- Oh, Auntie Em ----- there's no place like home!"

A) The Identity of Bethlehem - “House of Bread”

The very things that Naomi had hoped for in Moab were now to be found right here in the city of her childhood. Often times we go off looking for costume jewelry in the pagan lands when dazzling diamonds are buried beneath own backyards. The land of Moab offered this Jewish family much bread to eat, but it was to become bitter bread that would prove to be utterly costly. The price of the bread of Moab seemed low, but the penalties of eating their bread was large.

In coming home Naomi would be able to eat physically the bread of Bethlehem but she would also dine on the spiritual blessings from the good hand of God. Bethlehem is the house of bread, the land of fresh bread, the land of fulfilling bread that could nourish the very soul of a person.

B) The Intimacy of Bethlehem - “House of Praise”

In coming back home, Naomi would enter into the city of Praise. It was well known that she had descended into the pagan wash pot of Moab, but now she could participate in moments of majestic praise in the little city of Bethlehem. It was in the pigpen of that far away country that the prodigal son yearned for home. It was in the depths of slop and shame that he relished the intimacy of going back home to his dad and his family. Up from the muck and the mire he arose, he had experienced real repentance and was turning for the road that leads him to home. Is this not how it was with Naomi, a nudge from home, the news of home provoked a yearning inside her that pushed her to find the road towards Bethlehem?

II - The Piercing Questions of Bethlehem - Excitement (19 - 20)

Upon entering the city news spread quickly that Naomi was back home. The woman whose name stood for delightful and pleasant was walking the streets of Bethlehem and the people were glad and excited to see her. It is apparent that she was a woman of good godly character and a woman that was greatly appreciated. The people begin to come and great her with a very warm welcome.

A) The Name Reminded Naomi of her Previous Stature- Her Delight

In hearing all of their kind words and pleasantries Naomi was reminded of how it was before she had left Bethlehem. The life that she had previously lived in Bethlehem reminded her of much simpler times. In those former days she had no idea of how harsh and troublesome life could be.

B) The Name Reminded Naomi of her Present Standing - Her Demise

It was emotionally draining as they called her by her name, she no longer felt as if she was worthy of being called pleasant. The new name that she desired was, Mara, which stood for bitter. Naomi felt as if God had sent bitterness into her life, and so it was. The demise of Naomi had begun the moment they chose to head off down to Moab.

The Vile Reminder of her Demise

The Vicious Results of her Demise

The Vacated Region of her Demise

The Voiced Reasoning of her Demise

The Victorious Rebounding of her Demise

III - The Perplexing Quandary of Bethlehem - Emptiness (20 - 21)

On the one hand Naomi was so excited to be back in her homeland, but on the other she was extremely sad and broken. The town was so glad to have her back home, but perplexity was brewing inwardly for this woman. In heading down the main pathway of Bethlehem Naomi realized that she had left Bethlehem with many abundant blessings, but not so in her return. The grief within her heart alerted her to the harsh conditions that she encountered back in Moab. The emptiness felt as though it was the heaviest load she had ever carried. In this we see her quandary, though she seemed to leave empty hand, she realized her fullness.

A) Naomi Considered the Reason of her Leaving - Unseen Fullness

The famine was pulverizing the city of Bethlehem, so Elimelech heads of to Moab. It looks as though he left with much emptiness, but in the end this was proven to be untrue. The emptiness of this family was misperceived, because one must look deeper than the human eye can see.

The family was great blessed with each other, a dad, a mom, 2 sons, husband and wife; it really was blessed beyond measure. The unseen blessings of God are normally overlooked and taken for granted. The cupboard may have looked so empty, but it was running over with untold and uncounted blessings.

B) Naomi Considered the Results of her Leaving - Unsought Emptiness

The family of Naomi sought to find fullness in heading down to Moab; in this country they would nourish their hungry desires. It was not to be so; in Moab this family would face dire emptiness that made Bethlehem’s famine look nourishing and fulfilling. The family found utter emptiness in leaving the house of bread and praise. It was not long that they faced spiritual famine and physical loss of life, the emptiness of Moab was fatal and forceful.

IV - The Promising Qualities of Bethlehem - Expectancy (22)

It would not be long before the bitter outlook of Naomi would focus on better and brighter days. Is this not the reality of living life, today’s sorrows will ease into sad memories and ones future seems to offer bounty and blessings. The emptiness would soon be replaced with gladness and vibrant expectancy.

A) The Breaking of the Famine

The famine had broken and the water was flowing again. The baked fields had been bathed with droplets of crystal clear pellets of rain. The land had experienced a fresh touch from the hand of God.

B) The Barley in the Fields

In her journey back to Bethlehem Naomi and Ruth would have saw the flowing fields of barley. The barley would supply physical bread to nourish life back into this city. The revival fires were brightly blazing in this small seeming insignificant city on the outskirts of Jerusalem. The barley fields would soon be recognized as “flaming hearts in fields of hope”.


The journey home was bountiful and bitter all rolled into an emotional rollercoaster with mental peaks and valleys. The past experiences were harsh and hard, but hopefully the future would offer much bounty and blessing.