Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Community News 5/31/17


You Are Made New By God
Ephesians 4:22-24

Christianity is not like any other school. It is not a moral self-improvement course. You don’t just sign up and work hard to change yourself. That’s the school of legalism, not the school of grace.

In the school of Christ change comes in a totally different way, by grace through faith, so that the schoolmaster gets all the glory, not the students. That’s why Paul describes the coursework with such strange language. It’s like nothing you have experienced anywhere before entering this school.

In the school of grace, your new clothes are created (Ephesians 4:24). God creates the new person that we must put on. The new person is the bundle of attitudes and emotions and practices that make up the new you. That is what verse 24 says God creates. He creates the new you. The bundle of attitudes and emotions and practices are created after his own likeness in righteousness and holiness, the course catalogue says.

This is totally unlike any other school in the world. We are given the assignment to become holy; but then we are told that God creates our holiness. This is a very strange school. Look at Ephesians 2:10 for one of the strangest sentences of all in the course description:
We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

How mindboggling is this? We are God’s workmanship, God’s creation. And not only that, the works that we are assigned to do — he has already prepared those, too! Who is working in this school, anyway?!

Do you see why Paul can’t just say, “Okay, you’re a Christian now; get rid of your bad habits and get some good ones”? That is the curriculum in the school of legalism: God saved you, now improve yourself. No! In the school of grace, God creates the new person — and that includes all the new attitudes and emotions and practices that we are supposed to put on.

When your mind is filled with Christ’s love and with all the fullness of God, then the spirit of your mind is renewed and freed from the deceit of the world. And out of that renewed mind comes new attitudes and emotions and practices, and they clothe you with righteousness and holiness. And this new person that you become is indeed the work of God himself, and to him belongs all the glory forever and ever.

Adapted From: Who Am I – John Piper You Version

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Community News 5/30/17

Care Network Training
Each Wednesday we will have a dinner by donation at 6:00 PM and at 6:30 PM Care Network will begin in the Auditorium.  Care Network will serve the emotional, spiritual, and physical needs of those who find themselves in difficult situations.  We will have food provided by Lola's tomorrow evening.

Beginning @ Brevard  
B@B is offered to give you a chance to hear firsthand from a pastor the vision and values of BCC.  Essentially, B@B is a gathering designed to give you the lowdown on what's up. This coming Sunday, June 4th, after both services in the brown house, you can get familiar with WHO we are, WHERE we're headed, WHY it's important, and HOW you can get in on it.  So, if you're "beginning at Brevard," or desiring to make a next move, B@B is the perfect place to begin moving into a more dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ.  B@B is kid friendly. 

New Service Times Starting June 18th
Starting on Sunday, June 18th Sunday services will start at 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM.  Early weekend service times on Thursday evenings will not change and will continue to start at 7:30 PM. 

Baptism is going public about your decision to receive Jesus Christ as the forgiver of your sins and leader of your life.  It's the next step after salvation.  On Sunday, June 18th, we will celebrate with those individuals that have decided to go public with their faith through Baptism.  If you're ready to take the next step toward baptism, want to know more about the process, or would like to learn more, please call the church office at 884-5932 or email 

Community News 5/30/17


You Are Shaped From Within
Galatians 4:12 / Galatians 4:19 / Romans 12:1-2 / 2 Corinthians 4:10 / 1 Corinthians 15:10

When the apostle Paul says, “Become as I am,” he means, “Die like I have died and live by faith in the Son of God (Galatians 2:20) so that it is his life in you that shapes and forms who you are.”
Paul’s whole ministry was like a mother in labor pains — he travailed to give birth to people who had Christ taking shape in their lives. “My little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!” That’s the main point of this section of Galatians: “Become as I am: have Christ formed in you.”
The biblical quest for spiritual formation is a quest to be so shaped from within by the presence of the living Christ that we are no longer “conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewal of [our] mind” (Romans 12:1–2). To be so shaped by our union with him that “the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies” (2 Corinthians 4:10). To be so formed and dominated by Christ that we must say with Paul after a life of labor, “It was not I, but the grace of God that is with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10).
How does this happen? How is Christ formed in your life? The answer is: by faith. Faith is the assurance that what God will make of you, as Christ is formed in your life, is vastly to be preferred over what you can make of yourself. Faith is the confidence that the demonstration of Christ’s work in your life is more wonderful than all the praise you could get for yourself by being a self-made man or woman.
Faith is a happy resting in the all-sufficiency of what Christ did on the cross, what he is doing now in our heart, and what he promises to do for us forever.

Adapted From: Who Am I – John Piper You Version

Monday, May 29, 2017

Community News 5/29/17

You Are One With Jesus
Romans 6:5 / 1 Corinthians 1:30
One of the most important realities in the Christian life is that we have a union with Christ. Note the words “we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” There is a union between Christ and Christians so that what happened to Christ is counted by God as happening to us. His death is our death. God establishes this union, as 1 Corinthians 1:30 says, “Because of [God] you are in Christ Jesus.” God establishes a union between believers and Christ, in a way that makes it fitting for him to count Christ’s death to be our death.
This death is something that happened in history, once for all. It is applied to us now through our faith, but since Christ died in history only once, and Romans 6:5 says we were united to that, our death happened, in God's way of seeing things, on the day Christ died.
Here the apostle Paul teaches that in Christ — that is, in our union with Christ that God established — we are dead to sin, meaning this: In our truest position and our truest identity, we are completely and finally dead to sin — both its guilt and its power. This is decisive, unrepeatable, and unchangeable. This is the foundation for all our warfare against sin, and all our progress in holiness.
The Christian life is an already and a not-yet experience of this identity in union with Christ. What happened to Christ Jesus historically and finally and unchangeably — and to us in him — is applied to us not all at once in its fullness, but some now completely, and some now progressively, and all fully in the age to come.
For example, we are already fully forgiven and acquitted and declared righteous and justified in our union with Christ by faith alone. And we are already delivered from slavery to sin, that is, from the power of sin as the defining direction of our lives. And we are already able, by faith, to grow more and more triumphant over sin in our daily life.

But we are not-yet perfected in our daily, earthly experience. We must fight the fight of faith and become in experience, by faith, what we are perfectly in our union with Christ. So, you are not left to live in your own strength today, but you are free to live in the power of believing God’s promises for what he will do for you because of your union with Christ.
Adapted From: Who Am I – John Piper You Version

Friday, May 26, 2017

Community News 5/26/17


Ruth 4:13-22

The storyline of Ruth goes from a funeral to a wedding both practically and emotionally.
Ruth, which is one of the best-written short stories of all time, concludes with scenes of God’s hand of providential blessing resting upon Boaz, his lovely bride, Ruth, and her mother-in-law, Naomi. 

Subsequently, the story completes its cycle from barrenness to birth, widowhood to marriage, poverty to riches, bitter to sweet, idolatry to worship, and devastation to redemption. The big idea in this section of Scripture is that piety and providence are inextricably connected. Simply, those who continue to live in holiness, trusting God to bless them, aren’t disappointed because in His time and by His grace, God in His goodness smiles upon them.

Indeed, Ruth and Naomi were first wrecked and then redeemed financially, relationally, spiritually, and generationally. They accepted the reality of their lives, accepted that their lives had forever changed with the death of their husbands, had a funeral to grieve their losses, conducted a life autopsy to learn what had brought their painful circumstances, healed up, moved toward God’s people and presence, and enjoyed a fresh start.

Their little story, which echoes the big story of Jesus, reveals that life comes after death. If you’re reading this amidst a painful season of life, Ruth and Naomi’s example provides hope to keep going until you’re on the other side of the dark valley you’re currently in.

Ruth and Boaz had a love that rivals any love story in human history. And God gave them a son named Obed, who became the grandfather of the great King David, through whom Samuel (2 Samuel 7:1–7) promised would come Jesus Christ. Ruth is mentioned in only one place in the entire New Testament. In Matthew 1, the foreigner Ruth is included with the unwed Mary, the prostitute Tamar, and the adulteress Bathsheba as the only four women included in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Indeed, the inclusion of each woman reinforces the truth that Jesus Christ saves us by pure grace and blesses even the least likely people from the least deserving backgrounds.

While God is the hero of the story, Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz are wonderful mentors for us to learn from. Although Naomi was bitter about her life, she wisely chose to take her pain and problems to God and His people for healing and help. Although Ruth was a new convert with no guarantee of safety or welcome, she ran to God and His people in faith that somehow He would providentially take care of her if she simply woke up every day to do what was right in His sight. And Boaz stands above most other men in Scripture as an example for every man—particularly young men who aspire to be godly husbands, fathers, and business leaders. In fact, there are numerous lessons to be learned from the life and love story of Ruth and Boaz, including:

  • God loves, saves, transforms, and blesses people from even the worst backgrounds and family histories.
  • Older, divorced, and widowed people can find love and godly spouses.
  • Character is what counts, especially when you think no one is watching.
  • Jesus’ family had some horrible people in it, which means there’s room for us horrible people, too!
  • Those without godly parents and/or the input of a godly family can have a God-honoring, romantic relationship with their spouse.
  • Work ethic, character, income, and holiness are what show that a man is ready for marriage.
  • Sometimes the family of God’s people is a stronger bond than even blood family.

In a day when most adults are single, the timeless story of Ruth is perhaps more timely than ever. The story begins amidst seemingly hopeless circumstances for nearly hopeless people.

Are you the first link, strong link, weak link, or broken link in your chain of faith? If you don’t come from a strong chain, how can you be encouraged by the life of Ruth? Boaz was a strong link in the chain. What can you learn from him?

Adapted From: Ruth: A Big Little Love Story By Mark Driscoll

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Community News 5/25/17


Ruth 4:1-6

For many people, reading the Bible can be, quite frankly, a bit disappointing. They see God speaking to people, but they’ve never heard His voice. They see angels delivering messages, but all they get is bills in the mail. They see God perform miracles in the pages of Scripture, but not in the problems of their lives.
For these people, Ruth can be a very encouraging book. In it, God never speaks, no angels show up, and no miracles occur. The entire book is painfully ordinary—people burying their loved ones, moving to another city, struggling to make ends meet, and having a complex romantic relationship.

In this latest scene, Boaz wants to marry Ruth and also take care of her mother-in-law, Naomi. But to do so, he needs to bump a relative out of the first position of legal right to redeem the women and their property.

So Boaz arrives at the city gate, which was the central place where business was transacted, legal matters were settled, and social relationships were established. Echoing the “chance” arrival of Ruth in the field of Boaz (2:3), here the providential hand of God is once again revealed as the very man with whom Boaz needed to negotiate the redeeming of Ruth just “happened” to walk past shortly after Boaz arrived at the gate.

By law, when land was put up for sale during this time, it was preferable for it to be purchased by a near relative to keep it in the family (Leviticus 25:25–30; Jeremiah 32:6–12). The other man was a nearer relative than Boaz and therefore had first position to purchase the land. So Boaz pressed the man to make a decision that very moment, revealing that if the man were unwilling or unable, he would be glad to do so, as he was also a relative and therefore able to redeem, if permitted.

Rather than accepting an answer he didn’t want or breaking the law to get his way, Boaz chose to shrewdly negotiate and turn the conversation in his favor with both wisdom and clever bargaining, through which the providential hand of God could work for good. Yes, God can work through shrewd business dealings, which is why Jesus told us to “be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.”

Influenced by Boaz’s shrewdness, the unnamed man realized that he couldn’t afford to buy the land and care for the two widows and children that he would bear through Ruth. So, the man passed on the opportunity to redeem Ruth and in so doing permitted Boaz to assume first position and do so himself! It just goes to show that one man’s problem is another man’s princess.

Those present responded to the speech of Boaz by asking God’s blessing on Ruth, Boaz, and the child that everyone trusted God to provide. Indeed, Boaz shines forth here as a strong, bold, wise, and shrewd redeemer. He was able to do so because he had walked with personal integrity and professional ingenuity for many years, which made it possible for him to act quickly.

Jesus comes as our great redeemer who Boaz in many ways resembles:

  • Like Boaz was related to Ruth and Naomi, so Jesus as God became a man to relate to us.
  • Like the women couldn’t save themselves, so we too can’t save ourselves.
  • Like Boaz who wasn’t obligated to save the women, so Jesus wasn’t obligated to save us.
  • Like Boaz who redeemed the women, so Jesus redeems us.
  • Like Boaz who satisfied the demands of the law, so Jesus lived without sin to satisfy the demands of God’s law.
  • Like Boaz paid a personal price to redeem them, Jesus paid the ultimate personal price to redeem us.
  • Like Boaz who loved Ruth as his bride, Jesus loves His church as His bride.
  • Like Boaz who shared his land and home with the women, so Jesus has prepared an eternal home in His kingdom for us.

What has Jesus redeemed you from?

Adapted From: Ruth: A Big Little Love Story By Mark Driscoll

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Community News 5/24/17


Ruth 3:12-13

The story hits a crisis when Boaz reveals to Ruth that as a law-abiding man, he must find a way to marry her legally. Because Naomi had chosen to welcome Ruth as a full daughter, the women had the legal right to their family land. And, closer to the women than Boaz was another family member who had the first right to redeem the women and obtain their land.

With such a quick answer, it appears that perhaps Boaz had been thinking about marrying Ruth and considered the obstacles in his way. But Boaz’s mind was already racing to devise a plan by which he could obey the law and still marry Ruth. In this we see that Boaz was a man of action who was highly motivated to act quickly and decisively. Furthermore, Boaz trusted the providence of God to work through the legal system—and in not sexually sinning with Ruth or breaking the law, Boaz showed a determination to act in holiness and in faith that God would bless them.

Boaz then invited Ruth to lie at his feet for the evening. In doing this, he didn’t engage in any sexual activity. Rather, knowing that a single woman trying to walk home in the dark of night would be in grave danger, he kept an eye on her as her defender and protector.

Early the next morning before anyone else awoke, Ruth and Boaz arose, and he sent her home before they were seen to safeguard her character from scandalous gossip and unfounded rumor. Before sending Ruth home, Boaz asked her to open her shawl and filled it with an unspecified amount of grain, which was likely very valuable—showing himself yet again to be a generous and gracious man. Furthermore, Ruth received his kindness in the same way that God asks us to humbly and gladly receive His grace and provision in our lives.

Naomi then demonstrated full faith in both God and Boaz by counseling Ruth to do nothing but wait patiently in faith. She was certain that Boaz loved Ruth and was a worthy man who got things done, and he would have everything taken care of that very day so they could be married.

Principally we learn four things for singles from this scene of the story:

  • Don’t overlook the person in front of you. Boaz was single, but somehow overlooked Ruth who God placed in front of him.
  • Feel free to get in someone’s way. This is precisely what Ruth did, which allowed their relationship to move forward.
  • Every relationship has obstacles to overcome, which reveals how committed one person is to one another. In this case, it was the legal and financial hurdle that blocked the path to marriage for Boaz with Ruth.

Every relationship has character tests that show us and the one we are with who we truly are. These tests, if passed, become part of our testimony, as was the case with Ruth and Boaz.

In conclusion, the story of Ruth and Boaz is one of the greatest love stories in Scripture. As such, it’s a little love story that’s a part and reflection of the big love story of Scripture (e.g., Ezekiel 16:8) where Jesus is “our glorious Boaz” who redeems His bride, the church. Jesus does this by grace, without any obligation, by doing all the work to redeem those who come to Him in faith—just as Ruth came to Boaz seeking redemption and then waited patiently as he alone redeemed her by grace.

How can you grow in being a person who gives and receives wise counsel?

Adapted From: Ruth: A Big Little Love Story By Mark Driscoll

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Community News 5/23/17

Care Network
Each Wednesday we will have a dinner by donation at 6:00 PM and at 6:30 PM Care Network Training will begin in the Auditorium.  Care Network Training will help us learn to serve the emotional, spiritual, and physical needs of those who find themselves in difficult situations.  Come discover how you can use your spiritual gifts to care for this church and community.  This Wednesday, dinner will be provided by Hawg Wild.

Augustine Literacy Project Informational Meeting
ALP will train you to be an effective reading tutor with the skills to truly help a struggling reader become a successful reader.  This training will be on Saturday, June 3rd from 9:00 to 10:30 AM at BCC.  For more information or to sign up, please email Wendi Adair at

Senior Yearbook
On Sunday, June 4th from 5:00 to 7:00 PM, we will be hosting Senior Yearbook to honor high school graduates and their families.  There will be individual tables set up to celebrate this achievement and a time for parents to encourage their graduates.  You will not want to miss this event!  We promise there will not be a dry eye in the room as we celebrate God's movement in the lives of these graduates.  Please RSVP by calling the church at 884-5032 before next Tuesday, May 30th at 12:00 PM.

Office Closed Monday
The church office will be closed on Monday, May 29th in observance of Memorial Day.

Brevard Middle School
The Assistant Principal of Brevard Middle School, Laurie Kleppe, is asking for volunteers to help with testing.  The dates for testing are May 30-June 8 and it is roughly from 8:00 AM to 12:30 PM.  There is a short training session that is required, but it is set up through a PowerPoint presentation that volunteers can come by the middle school to view when it is convenient for them.  Please contact Laurie Kleppe directly via phone or email by emailing her at or calling her at (828) 884-2091. 

Community News 5/23/17


Ruth 3:6-11

Naomi’s counsel is questionable. Knowing that Boaz had only seen Ruth dirty and sweaty at work in his fields, she counseled Ruth to get a full makeover, buy a new party dress, and put on some nice perfume. She was then instructed to attend the great party Boaz would be at and wait patiently for him to have fun celebrating his great success in business, eat well, and have a glass or two of wine before getting in front of him. Ruth was furthermore counseled to take the risk of actually approaching Boaz while he was asleep to invite him to propose marriage!
Heeding Naomi’s counsel, Ruth went to the threshing floor, which would have been a packed plot of ground where the grain from the harvest was threshed by being hit with a sledge, trampled by animals (Micah 4:13), or crushed under the wheels of a cart (Isaiah 28:28). The goal was to separate the kernels from the husk, chaff, and stalk. The straw would be used for animals, the chaff for fuel, and the grain for food. The entire occasion was a time of great celebration and partying (Isaiah 9:3, 41:14–16), and this party would have been particularly enthusiastic because it was the first after many years of famine.
Boaz, along with the other men who had attended the harvest and accompanying party, slept on the threshing floor next to the grain to protect it from thieves. While Boaz slept, Ruth took the very daring and bold counsel of Naomi and uncovered his feet to lie at them. Startled, Boaz awoke and asked who was with him there in the dark. Boaz probably wondered if a prostitute was there to tempt him, as prostitution was common on the threshing floor where men had a few drinks, were in good spirits, and had money to spend (Hosea 9:1).
Ruth revealed herself as his humble servant, but there was likely a moment of uncertainty for Boaz about her intentions. She had recently converted, but Ruth was a Moabite whose entire race began when a young woman climbed into bed with her inebriated father and seduced him (Genesis 19)! Furthermore, the entire story happened in the dark days of the judges when there was great sexual immorality of every kind.
Ruth asked Boaz to answer his own prayer of 2:12 and be God’s wing of covering over her. In short, she didn’t propose marriage to Boaz, but rather declared her love for him and invited him to ask for her hand in marriage. The phrase spread your wings is also sometimes translated spread your garment/blanket and is elsewhere used as a symbol for engagement much like our current engagement ring (Ezekiel 16:8; Deuteronomy 23:1, 27:20; Malachi 2:16).
In the act, a man demonstrated that he would both lovingly cover the woman for the entirety of her life and invite her into his bed as his beloved wife. In 1 Corinthians 7:39, Paul says that a widow, like Ruth, is free to marry any Christian whom she chooses to love, and here, Ruth took an enormous risk in declaring her heart to Boaz. Furthermore, while she didn’t break any clear command of Scripture, Ruth did indeed trample many cultural taboos as she was younger and Boaz was older; she was a servant and he was her boss; she was a Moabite and he was an Israelite; she was poor and he was rich; and she was a woman and he was a man.
Bible commentators vigorously debate whether Ruth’s actions were godly or good. While it doesn’t seem like her actions technically crossed a line, it does seem that they danced on it vigorously late at night after a few glasses of wine. To say the least, it’s complicated!
Today, single people often ask where the line is in dating. But Ephesians 5:3 (NIV) says, “among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality.” Furthermore, in the great romantic book Song of Songs, the refrain is “do not arouse or awaken love before its time.” Indeed, the question is not where is the line as much as when is the time. The time is marriage, but not before.
Our true character is often exposed when no one is around and/or when we’re caught off guard. How can you pray for yourself to have integrity like Boaz?

Adapted From: Ruth: A Big Little Love Story By Mark Driscoll

Monday, May 22, 2017

Community News 5/22/17


Ruth 3:1-5
At this point in the story, Ruth and Boaz have taken center stage. Their relationship commenced with great hope as Boaz spoke kindly to Ruth, prayed for her, protected her, and provided for her all as one would expect from a man ready to be a godly husband. Furthermore, Ruth has at this point in the story been laboring in Boaz’s field for perhaps six to seven weeks until the time of harvest. Time is running out, since Boaz and Ruth won’t be seeing one another anymore when the seasonal work comes to an end and they go their proverbial separate ways. The author is a wonderfully gifted storyteller who has led us to a place of crisis and urgency where, like every good television show, movie, and novel, we want the main characters who are friends to fall in love and live happily ever! But how could this happen given the culture Ruth and Boaz lived in?
As a Moabite, it would have been common for Ruth to perhaps date, and possibly even sleep with or even live with, a man as the route to marriage. Ruth needed the sort of courtship detailed in Scripture. But she lacked the kind of family to help in that process. Today, these two paths to marriage—courtship and dating (see chart below)—remain for us.
For the first time in U.S. history, single adults outnumber married adults.1 This trend is also becoming increasingly common in other Western nations. Part of this is due to the fact that people are waiting longer than ever to marry. The first marriage for most men is around age 30. For women, it is in the late 20s. This is considerably higher than at any point in U.S. history.2 Relatedly, single people are sexually active and using birth control and abortion hoping to prevent conception. Furthermore, people are cohabiting during their single years. It is estimated that about a quarter of unmarried women between the ages of 25 and 39 are currently living with a partner and about half have lived at some time with an unmarried partner (the data are typically reported for women but not for men).3 Over half of all first marriages are now preceded by cohabitation, compared to virtually none earlier in the century. The most likely to cohabit are people aged 20 to 24.4
Subsequently, the 3,000-year-old story of Ruth is incredibly timely. Many, if not most, Christian singles like Ruth don’t come from a godly family but aspire to marry a godly person and have a godly family. In Ruth, we see that she seeks wise counsel from an older woman and in faith takes an enormous risk and “pulls a Ruth” to put herself in front of Boaz for marriage.
Looking back at your life, are there any situations where you put yourself in a potentially unsafe situation, but God was gracious to protect you from harm?

Adapted From: Ruth: A Big Little Love Story By Mark Driscoll

Friday, May 19, 2017

Community News 5/19/17


Ruth 1:19-22

Although admittedly bitter against God after the death of her husband and sons, Naomi decided to leave Moab and return home to God’s people and presence. One of her daughters-in-law, Orpah, returned to her people and religion in Moab at Naomi’s urging, but Naomi’s other daughter-in-law, Ruth, was determined to leave her people and religion to worship Naomi’s God and live with God’s people. Leaving all she had ever known for the complete unknown, Ruth is an example of incredible faith.

Leaving Moab, Ruth and Naomi made the roughly 50-mile journey to Bethlehem, a place pregnant with meaning, as it was where Jesus would later be born, as promised (Micah 5:2). There, Ruth spent her time at the equivalent of a food bank trying to get enough to eat to keep Naomi and herself alive. To make matters worse, as a Moabite, she likely faced intense racism, and as a non-virgin, she was likely mistreated and abused by men. Nonetheless, Ruth shines forth as one of the godliest and most loyal, humble, and exemplary women in all of human history.

In this scene, the heart of Naomi is revealed as her view of God and her emotions spill out. Despite the fact that her deceased husband’s poor leadership and foolish decisions are responsible for much of the devastation in her life, she rightly confesses that even the darkest days of her life were not lived apart from God’s providence. Indeed, everything either passes from or through God’s hand of providence, which is a great mystery we all struggle with at times. In this, we can identify with the pain of Naomi who doesn’t have her questions answered by God, but continues to seek His presence and people as an act of faith amidst her pain.

Upon their arrival, the women in town who hadn’t seen Naomi for many years were abuzz and curious to know how she had fared. Naomi informed them that though her name meant pleasant or sweet, God’s providential hand had made her life hard and her disposition Mara, or bitter. Many have criticized Naomi’s bitterness and stood at a distance to criticize her emotional state. But, if we’re honest, we must confess that at varying seasons of our life we can sympathize with the emotional state of Naomi. She married a fool who led her to Moab where she had no family, friends, or fellowship. She hadn’t been to a worship service with God’s people or gotten much, if any, Bible teaching in a decade. Her husband died, her sons married godless women, and then her sons died as well, leaving her without a single grandchild. Naomi had descended from an affluent woman to a devastated, broke, bitter old woman with no chance of remarriage, children, or job skills to even put food on her table—a picture of desperation and loss rivaling Job. Nonetheless, Naomi is to be admired for her brutal honesty.

Unlike so many religious types whose religiosity doesn’t allow them to accept reality, Naomi spoke frankly and truthfully about her heart. Furthermore, she did so publicly in hopes of being helped and healed by the hesed of God’s people and presence. In Naomi, we see that although we each will likely arrive at a place of bitterness because of our brokenness, God invites us to be honest with Him and others if there is to be any hope of our lives being healed so that our future has the hope of not repeating our past.

Naomi was bitter against God when Elimelech was largely responsible for her situation. Are you at all bitter against God for something that someone else did?

Adapted From: Ruth: A Big Little Love Story By Mark Driscoll