Perhaps you will remember in an earlier study how Naomi had said, “Don’t call me Naomi.” “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter.” (Ruth 1:20) Naomi had let life make her bitter and she was willing to openly express her bitterness towards God. By referring to herself as ‘Mara’, Naomi was borrowing from another story in the life of Israel.
Then Moses led the people of Israel away from the Red Sea, and they moved out into the desert of Shur. They traveled in this desert for three days without finding any water. When they came to the oasis of Marah, the water was too bitter to drink. So they called the place Marah (which means “bitter”). Then the people complained and turned against Moses. “What are we going to drink?” they demanded. (Exodus 15:22-24 NLT)
Perhaps if there is one thing that hurts God the most, it is for us as His children to forget His mercy and grace, and to accuse Him of doing evil.
So Moses cried out to the Lord for help, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. Moses threw it into the water, and this made the water good to drink. It was there at Marah that the Lord set before them the following decree as a standard to test their faithfulness to him. He said, “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.” (Exodus 15:25-26 NLT)
In this story, God revealed one of His wonderful names – ‘JEHOVAH-RAPHA.’ (For I am the Lord who heals you.)
Like the children of Israel before her, Naomi needed to experience the healing power of JEHOVAH-RAPHA.
One of the things that makes the story of Ruth so encouraging is that she did.
So Boaz took Ruth into his home, and she became his wife. When he slept with her, the Lord enabled her to become pregnant, and she gave birth to a son. Then the women of the town said to Naomi, “Praise the Lord, who has now provided a redeemer for your family! May this child be famous in Israel. May he restore your youth and care for you in your old age. For he is the son of your daughter-in-law who loves you and has been better to you than seven sons!” (Ruth 4:13-15)
JEHOVAH-RAPHA brought healing to the troubled soul of Naomi. I leave you today with these inspiring words-
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.