Are You Living in the House of Bread or the House of Bitterness? (Ruth 1:1-22 )

Making good or bad decisions is a daily adventure in the ministry. Since we are in the ministry, certainly we will always make good and biblical decisions! Why do we make bad decisions when we have and know God’s Word? It must be that we would rather live by sight than by faith. It must be that we are tempted to live by feelings and circumstances rather than by faith. Elimelech and Naomi made a very bad and fatal decision by leaving God’s people in Bethlehem because of the adversity of a famine. Not only did they leave the “House of Bread,” but they intentionally went from God’s people into enemy territory to satisfy a physical need. Elimelech and his sons did not survive the bad decision that he and Naomi had made. It is interesting that the only one who survived this critical decision was Naomi. She and her husband left the house of bread full, and she later returned to Bethlehem empty, living in the house of bitterness.

Please be careful and prayerful when making decisions concerning adversity. Running from adversity is not normally a great decision. I am sure Elimelech and Naomi felt they were not being fed properly in the house of bread because of the famine. What biblical sense did it make to go into enemy territory for relief? Running from adversity is the evidence of unbelief that God can help you and lead you through that particular problem. Running from adversity is not a good decision! Running into enemy territory is not a good decision! Running from adversity can be a fatal decision! Elimelech and Naomi ran from their home with God’s people, and Naomi ran into a funeral home three times in the land of their enemy. Please be careful when making decisions because of adversity.

Please be careful about your relationships with others because of bad decisions and adversity. While in the land of the enemy, Naomi’s sons married two young ladies. Because of a bad decision by Elimelech and Naomi, two young ladies’ lives were changed by their decision. With all the men dead, Naomi made a good decision to go back home, but a bad decision by telling Ruth and Orpah not to go with her. She told them to return home to their families and gods. Do not isolate yourself from others because of bad decisions. Do not push them away from God and back to their false gods. Sadly, Orpah returned to her false gods. Decisions you make can have eternal consequences for others. Ruth loved Naomi unconditionally. Naomi, because of bitterness, shame, and maybe even pride, attempted to push Ruth away. Although unknown to Naomi at the time, God had given Ruth to her as a gift to help her through her adversity of grief and bitterness. Do not push people away! One may be the very person to help you overcome your difficulties.

Please be careful when bad decisions and consequences make you bitter. Bitterness changes your personality. When she returned home, people were not sure if she was Naomi. They said, “Is this Naomi?” Bitterness changes your identity. Naomi wanted to be called “Mara.” She claimed God ruined her life. Just as Naomi said, “I am Mara,” maybe you would identify with her in a similar way. I am Depressed. I am Failing. I am Fed Up. I am Quitting. I am Self-Serving. I am Burned Out. By the way, you know your new identity just as Naomi did. Bitterness changes your outlook on life. The soul running from God is always empty of the good graces of God. Notice, she left full even in the face of adversity and came back completely empty of God’s blessing. She said, “I went out full, and the Lord hath brought me home again empty.” Naomi’s bitterness blinded her to the fact that God was going to bless her even in spite of bad decisions. Ruth was used of God in a mighty way, and Naomi was blessed because of it. Ruth’s good decision to not leave Naomi was the means of God blessing Ruth. Her decision also restored His good graces to Naomi.

Are you making good or bad decisions? Are you contemplating a bad decision? Be careful to make decisions according to God’s Word, and you will make good decisions. Continue to make them according to circumstances or feelings, and you will constantly make wrong decisions. Make biblical decisions! If you have made wrong decisions in the past and are suffering the consequences, get back to God quickly. Let Him begin afresh to mold you into His will.