Ruth: 1:16-21; The doctrine of bitterness.

Class Outline:

Title: Ruth: 1:16-21; The doctrine of bitterness.  


RUT 1:20 And she said to them, "Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.


RUT 1:21 I went out full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has witnessed against me and the Almighty has afflicted me?"


"Almighty" - Shaddai = God who gives fruitfulness and increase.

"Mara" - bitter.


It is amazing that she would use this name for Yavah. The One who afflicted her with loss is called the God who gives increase. It is as if, in her extreme bitterness, she is calling God to account for having such a name.


Noami is bitter because she doesn't know the future. She will no longer be bitter when she is holding her grandson Obed.


But though she doesn't know the future, she knows the One who holds the future. She should stick with Shaddai and only with faith in that name.  


We can become bitter when we look at our present situation of pain. This is a test. The God of the universe knows the trial and the pain, and it is not going to be permanent. He calls it a momentary and light affliction that is producing for us an eternal weight of glory. He says that any suffering in time is not worthy to be compared to the glory that is to be revealed to us. You can see how both of these verses, written by Paul, are connected. One says that glory is being produced for us and the other says that glory is being revealed to us.


Our trials, our sufferings are producing divine glory that we can see, 2CO 4:17; ROM 8:18.


We can't see the future, but we should know that all things work together for good to those who love God. We know the One who holds the future. At the start, these promises are to remove our fear of the suffering. Pain, whether real physical pain, or mental pain in the form of anguish, always tempts us to fear. We imagine it will get worse. We imagine that it will go on and on, when in fact we know neither of these.


The ability to put away fear, when our faith in God’s good pleasure (ISA 46:10) gives us good pleasure, is the ultimate in courage.


All things are working together. There is no way for us to unweave the events of time and examine them and then reweave them and so understand how each strand works in the framework of all the others. We are too finite minded and far too limited.


ISA 46:8 "Remember this, and be assured;

Recall it to mind, you transgressors.


ISA 46:9 "Remember the former things long past,

For I am God, and there is no other;

I am God, and there is no one like Me,


This is one of the many reasons why the OT is so important to us, and studies in the books of Joshua, Judges, and Ruth will serve us well. We will remember things long past and so remember the faithfulness of God. And when we remember, we are then challenged to put our faith in it. The force of the statement, “I am God, and there is no other,” demands our faith. Are we to trust no one or nothing and just wish? Are we to trust in people? Even the best people cannot take away the trial or the pain, nor can they promise deliverance. God alone can do these things. There is no one like Him.


God’s existence and uniqueness demand our trust.


ISA 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning

And from ancient times things which have not been done,

Saying, 'My purpose will be established,

And I will accomplish all My good pleasure';


ISA 46:11 Calling a bird of prey from the east,

The man of My purpose from a far country.

Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass.

I have planned it, surely I will do it.


ISA 46:12 "Listen to Me, you stubborn-minded,

Who are far from righteousness.


ISA 46:13 "I bring near My righteousness, it is not far off;

And My salvation will not delay.

And I will grant salvation in Zion,

And My glory for Israel.


The doctrine of bitterness.