Naomi didn't know what came over her, but she stopped in the middle of the road. She just wanted to be alone, all of a sudden. Orpah and Ruth had been by her side for nearly 10 years, and she didn't know what she would've done without them. There were hard times, for sure, but there was still hope that it would all turn around.
But it didn't.
All the stories, the songs, the teaching and the love she poured into the future mothers of her grandchildren so that they would know the ways of their God and people. It was for nothing. She didn't want to waste their time, their precious time. They had no idea how quickly the years sped by. One minute you are a busy young mother and the next, you are a childless widow.
What is there left to do but wait for God to finally take her? And then what would happen to Orpah and Ruth--they would be left alone in a strange country without her. In the middle of having been abandoned, she did not want to abandon them.
For the first time in months, Naomi felt an emotion welling up in her heart. She had been in shock and numb from pain. But this emotion was a new and strange one, mixed with her deep concern and love for her daughters by marriage. If God indeed was punishing her, then it would not be good for them to tag along to experience His anger. God is just, God is King and God does whatever He pleased. She prayed that He would spare them, that He would allow her little doves to fly and build their own nests elsewhere.
The famine 10 years ago was for disciplining God's people, but her husband thought that they would escape by fleeing to Moab. She knew he was trying to protect them and keep the family bloodline going by finding the best women for their sons in Moab. Naomi was surprised at his choices for their sons. They were not wealthy and had few resources to fall back on. He simply shrugged and said money did not matter this time. He picked these because they reminded him of Naomi in some ways. What, she asked, well they look nothing like me! You are right, he replied, but Ruth's friendliness and Orpah's industriousness are qualities that I see in you.
With that, she was content. Her husband always knew what to say to convince her. And he was right. Ruth was more than a smiling face, she was quick to listen and retained almost anything Naomi said or did. Orpah was more independent, but she was practical and organized. With intelligent wives like these, Naomi thought, much could be accomplished.
But now, here on this desolate road, she was about to break their hearts. They had grown so close, this was not going to be easy. But they had to know the truth. They had to be set free.
When Naomi opened her mouth, her voice was flat and her words heavy with despair. She didn't sound like herself, it was a long time since she tried to explain anything to them and it felt unfamiliar and strange to her what used to be a constant occurance as they worked side by side to build a home and a future together. They made a plan, but only God could make it happen and for reasons of His own, He had another one she knew not of.