In chess, logic is a key ingredient. Before you make a move, you will study the board to anticipate the moves of your opponent. Then you make the most logical decision. Your victory depends on it! As Naomi considered the disaster that had come upon her and her daughters-in-law, she considered what next step would be most logical.
Naomi and her daughters-in-law had left for Bethlehem. They hadn’t gone far, when Naomi stopped and told them to turn back. She also offered a blessing: “May the Lord show you kindness [hesed], as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me” (v. 8). We will dig into this theme of hesed in the days to come.
Naomi’s suggestion was a great sacrifice on her part. If they followed her advice, she would have to make the long, dangerous trip alone. But she knew that the best thing for her daughters-in-law was to find new husbands. Their own security depended on it. While Naomi is often critiqued for her bitterness, she was also acting selflessly.
When Ruth and Orpah refused to leave, Naomi responded with logic. She would have no more sons for them to marry. And even if she were able to gain a new husband and conceive a child, the women wouldn’t wait until that baby grew up, would they?
Naomi’s reasoning made sense. But throughout this story, God’s ways often flew in the face of logic. Naomi finished with two impassioned declarations to scare some sense into her daughters-in-law. First, she declared that her situation was more “bitter” than theirs. Then, she blamed the Lord for all that has happened. Why would Ruth and Orpah risk becoming a target for His divine vengeance? Orpah hugged Naomi, turned around, and headed home. Ruth stayed. What would happen next?
>> Our own wisdom or “logical” choices don’t always line up with God’s plans. It isn’t wrong to take logical next steps, but we must allow God to work in ways we don’t expect.
Sovereign Lord, often we are surprised when You close doors we were confident would be open. Teach us how to process disappointment, to grieve at the proper time, and to accept your will with peace.