Ruth 1:12-13 ESV – Turn back, my daughters; go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say I have hope, even if I should have a husband this night and should bear sons, would you therefore wait till they were grown? Would you therefore refrain from marrying? No, my daughters, for it is exceedingly bitter to me for your sake that the hand of the LORD has gone out against me.”
This passage of scripture is near the beginning of the Book of Ruth. An Israelite woman, Naomi, fled Isreal with her husband 10 years prior. There had been a famine in Israel, so Naomi, her husband, and her 2 sons went to Moab to live. During that decade, Naomi’s sons married. Then her husband died. Then her sons both died. She was in a foreign land with her 2 daughters-in-law and nothing else. She decides to go home – back to Israel.
On the way, her daughters-in-law want to go with her, but she won’t allow them. As we read above, she’s trying to do them a favor. She cannot have other sons for these girls. It’s better for them if they don’t go with her, but return to Moab and find husbands there.
Naomi is hopeless. She even says, “If I should say that I have hope…” implying that it would be a lie. Why is she hopeless? She believes that God has gone against her. She had expectations. “We came here only to survive. We had no other choice. Now my husband and sons are dead, and I am alone.” This is not what she wanted from her God.
How often do we have unmet expectations? How often are we angry at God? It seems that He’s made our life so miserable that we lose all hope. We will see more of this in Job.
Naomi is saying that she does not believe that God will make things better. She does not believe that life can improve. She has no reason to carry on. We know from reading the rest of the story what God does:
Ruth refuses to leave Naomi and goes back to Israel too. While there, Naomi introduces her to the kinsman redeemer, Boaz, who marries Ruth. Boaz and Ruth become the Great-grandparents of David, Israel’s greatest king.
Naomi couldn’t see the future; neither can we. This is where faith and hope come in. Faith is our trust in God; hope is our expectation that He *will* make things better.
What do you need hope for today?