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A Bittersweet Providence

It was her childhood home, the place where she married her husband and gave birth to two sons. After ten years away, she was back in Bethlehem of Judah, with nothing but a young foreign woman at her side. The townspeople struggled to put a name to her changed face. Her name was Pleasant, Naomi, in Hebrew. The sound of it alone made people smile. If names were prophetic, hers was a blessing. But now, here in Bethlehem, after all these years, and after everything she had lost, her name sounded like a cruel joke. 

She begged them,
“Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full, and the LORD has brought me back empty.” Ruth 1.21-22aIn those days, judges ruled Israel and the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes. When the people turned their backs on God, He would bring war or famine until they cried out to Him again.

During one such famine Naomi's husband took his family to sojourn in Moab, the land of their enemies (D…

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