Ruth has found something. As she had been welcomed into Naomi’s family she had found something attractive and amazing in the lives of the Hebrew people. We are not told exactly what it was, but we see the evidence that it was real and powerful, for Ruth is ready to abandon everything she has know all her life to hang on to it. In verse 16 we get the biggest hint about what it is that Ruth has found – “Your people will be my people, your God will be my God.” To be a part of of the people of God, worshipping Him and serving Him was now the thing that gave meaning to her life. She would not let it go.
So they returned to Naomi’s home town, the two of them. We get an indication of just how hard it has been for Naomi. When the people great her she says “don’t call me Naomi”, which means pleasant”. Instead, call me “Mara”, which means “bitter”, for that is what her relationship with God seems to be at the moment – “bitter”. Naomi believes in her heart of hearts that God has purposely done all these very difficult things to her. Wow. What a sad thing to hear.
But, even though it felt as they God was against her, He was actually at work for her. The Lord was lining things up to give her something even greater than all that she had lost. Now Naomi probably would have said that she would rather not have lost her husband and sons at all, and these things do fall into what we call the mysteries of life. But, in spite of all that had gone wrong, God was at work to bring her back up from the pit.
And the same is true for us, as we live in faith in Him!