In this sermon, we look at Naomi’s identity trap: looking for satisfaction through power.
We meet Naomi in the Old Testament book of Ruth. Ruth is Naomi’s daughter-in-law. Usually, when we study this book, we’re focused in on the beautiful love story that takes place between Ruth and Boaz. And Naomi is sort of off on the sidelines like a supporting actor.
But, you could argue that it’s the other way around, that Naomi is in fact the main character and Ruth and Boaz are the supporting act. After all, the story begins with Naomi and ends with Naomi, and the marriage of Ruth and Boaz is really a subplot in the greater story of God’s loving-kindness in Naomi’s life.
This is the story of how an orphan-hearted widow learned to live as a beloved child of God.
1) Naomi: Bitter
Naomi is desperate for satisfaction, as her broken heart gives up on people and turns instead to power.
She is bitter and burnt, because everyone she’s ever trusted has let her down. Without a husband, without sons and a male heir at all, Naomi’s world is falling apart. So, from now on, she’s determined to trust no one but herself.
2) Naomi: Bent
Naomi is grasping for satisfaction through power.
Instead of waiting on God’s redemption—or Boaz, or Ruth for that matter— Naomi tries to power her way to the happy ending she so desperately wants. She’s manipulating to get her needs met. She’s done waiting, and so she’s taking control of her situation.
Her orphan heart is bent on caring for itself.
3) Naomi: Blessed
Naomi receives satisfaction as she learns to trust the loving-kindness of her God.
In God’s time, and in God’s way, He brought redemption to Naomi as she learned to trust God her Father in childlike faith. Naomi learned that when everything is beyond her control, everything safely rests in God’s loving hands.
Takeaway: Real satisfaction comes by the grace of our Father.
The happiness our souls long for can never be ours through power and control. If we grasp for it, it just slips through our fingers. But our Heavenly Father loves to give good gifts to His children: “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” “Ask and it shall be given to you. Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door shall be opened to you.”
Because real satisfaction comes by the grace of our Father, we can “be still and know that I am God.”
Living the Message episode: https://youtu.be/ZORXGgQYVbI