Ruth 1:19-20 "So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi? And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me."
It is never God's will to leave where God has you because things get hard. Bethlehem means the house of Bread. They went to Moab which means the place of sin.
Much happened in Naomi's life that we can learn and get encouragement from.
After going to Moab and all that took place there she returned to Bethlehem. She had enough of being in that place of sin. To not be where God wants you is to be in sin. there is an effect of sin when a person gets away from God. When Naomi returned to Bethlehem the people questioned about her. She no doubt wore the marks of sin. She wasn't the same woman she was when she left.
When a person gets out of the will of God...sin will take a toll. She did the right thing in going back but she was different. When she left she was Naomi which means pleasant one. When she returned she asked to no longer be called Naomi but Mara which means bitter one. That person who gets back into the land of Moab will lose their pleasantness.
Naomi lost some precious things by leaving God's will and going to Moab. She lost her joy, peace, comfort, loved ones, testimony and power. When a person leaves God's will they will always leave with some things but they always return empty.
That person who leaves always comes back with grief and regrets. They always regret ever leaving in the first place. Staying in the will of God will save you from heartache. Time away from Bethlehem is time lost. That time cannot be reclaimed. It is time wasted.
Just like Naomi...the backslider becomes bitter. After about ten years she realizes where she needs to be. Many Christians feel the same way Naomi felt when they get out in sin for a while. Many plan to be gone from Bethlehem for a short time but it most always turns into a long time of hard times. God can turn that bitter one back to a pleasant one if that person will just go back to Bethlehem.
The backslider will always return empty. The prodigal son in Luke chapter 15 had this happen. He left with his hands full and had everything stripped of him and when he came back he had nothing.
She came back and she came back in the right way. She was humbled and broken. She realized she wasn't where she needed to be. She would never forget the regrets of the time she spent in Moab but she had a bright future ahead of her. There were many blessings ahead for her as a result of going back home. She wouldn't get back what she lost but she could look forward to future blessings.
So if you have left Bethlehem (the house of bread) and gone back into the land of Moab (the place of sin) ...you are miserable and know where you need to be. Go back home and become the pleasant one again. There is no better place to be!!