I was just reading the story of Ruth in the Old Testament. As I did so, the thought came to me — Who knows the end from the beginning? Before we answer that question, let’s take a look at one of the characters in the story. Naomi.
Naomi was married and had two sons. There was a terrible famine in Judah where they lived, so Naomi’s husband took the family to the land of Moab. I wonder how Naomi felt leaving family and friends to go and live in another country with foreign customs? It might have been a lonely endeavor, but perhaps Naomi took some joy in her daughters-in-law, because both her sons married in Moab.
However, whether Naomi found joy or not, it would have been short lived; there in that foreign land, her husband and sons died. Naomi was left alone with no one to care for her or her daughters-in-law, because it was the culture of the time for women to be cared for by the men. When a woman did not have the care of a man, she was in a very difficult position.
News came that crops were now better in Judah; the famine was no more. Therefore, understandably, Naomi decides to return to her homeland. One of her daughters-in-law, Ruth, insists on going with her. We read in the first chapter that, as Naomi arrived in Bethlehem, the entire town took notice. Everyone was talking about it, spreading the news that Naomi had come back. The people of Judah were so happy. They were shouting, “Naomi has come home!” Although the people were happy, we read that Naomi was not happy at all. In Ruth 1:20-21, the words of Naomi are recorded, “Don’t call me Naomi. Instead, call me Mara (that means Bitter) because the Almighty has made life very bitter for me. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me home empty. Wy should you call me Naomi when the Lord has caused me to suffer and the Almighty has sent such tragedy?”
Does that attitude sound familiar? Have you ever walked Naomi’s path, finding yourself in an undesirable situation, and blaming it all on God? Why has God done this or that? Why has God taken my joy? Poor God, He gets blamed for lots of life’s mishaps. We tell ourselves that God isn’t interested. He’s not helping me. He’s leaving me to suffer alone. Have you ever felt that way? If so, you’re not alone, and take heart; God understands. How can He understand? One, because He knows the frailty of our minds, and in this instance, we are reminded, too, that, He knows the end from the beginning.
As our story continues, we see how Ruth meets a distant family relative named Boaz. Boaz comes to love Ruth and goes through the proper, cultural custom, to marry Ruth. Very quickly, Ruth has a child. Read what the story tells us in 4:15-17. The women are talking to Naomi and they say this, “May this child restore your youth and care for you in your old age. For he is the son of your daughter-in-law who loves you so much and who has been better to you than seven sons! Naomi took care of the baby and cared for him as if he were her own. The women said, ‘Naomi has a son again!’ And the baby was named Obed, who was the father of Jessie, and the grandfather of David.
How about that! There was Naomi suffering terribly, blaming God; but all along, because God knows the end from the beginning, He knew His plans were to bless her above all she could ever dream. God did bless magnificently — Naomi’s grandson, Obed, was in the direct line from whom Jesus would be born. Isn’t that amazing? If only Naomi could have known, but no one sees into the future. Only God knows the end from the beginning. The next time life brings suffering, remember how God works in our lives. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Therefore, no matter what we are going through, we may grab hold of hope, because our God is working on our behalf. After all, our God knows the end from the beginning.