Last evening, at 6:31pm, Naomi Faith Locke was born. As I type this, I am rocking my new sleeping girl on my lap. Even with four children now, I never cease to be amazed at the mystery of a new child bearing the image of our glorious God. She is fearfully and wonderfully made, indeed.
Why Naomi Faith? While Annie was pregnant, I taught the book of Ruth for a Wednesday night Bible study. Naomi, Ruth’s mother-in-law, had lost her husband and two sons (including Ruth’s husband) in Moab. By the end of the tragedies in Ruth 1, Naomi actually told her friends in Bethlehem, “Don’t call me Naomi (pleasant, happy). Call me Mara (bitter), for the Almighty has dealt bitterly with me.”
The rest of the book recounts how the Lord providentially filled her emptiness as her Redeemer. First he provided a loyal daughter-in-law, Ruth, who never left her side. Then he provided a barley harvest in her hometown Bethlehem. Then he raised up a close relative, Boaz, who had godly integrity and care for her and for Ruth. Then he moved so that the nearest relative would not receive Ruth, and he provided Boaz to take Ruth as his wife. Then he opened up Ruth’s womb that she would have a son, thus fulfilling his role as Redeemer. Then he worked so that through this baby would come the greatest king in Israel’s history, David, and ultimately the King of Kings, Jesus the Christ. So from beginning to end, the LORD is Redeemer, and he alone is praised.
My prayer for Naomi Faith is that she, too, will see that the Almighty is the Redeemer. My prayer is that she will know that in times of sorrow, Christ is the lifter of her head. In times of famine, Christ is the provider. In times of emptiness, Christ is the fullness. Christ Jesus is the all-satisfying Redeemer, and I pray that she find her all in him alone.
As a side note, I read a few articles about Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church’s decision to ban interracial couples from becoming members and active participants in their ministries (except funerals, strangely). Though the pastor and local association disagreed and the church ultimately overturned the decision, the damage has been done; the majority of church members publicly stated that they do not welcome interracial couples.
Though I could give quite an extensive defense of interracial relationships as biblical and God-honoring, I would rather point to my daughter’s namesake. Though it seems that Ruth was an idolater like her fellow Moabites, she learned about the one true God through Naomi and her family and did not turn back. Not only this, but the means by which the Lord redeemed Naomi was through an inter-ethnic, interracial relationship between a Jew and a Moabite. And no one in the community objected: ALL gave praise to God.
It’s only fitting that redemption would be pictured this way, of course. After all, the biracial child would ultimately have a descendant named David, who would receive a covenant promise by God that his seed, Jesus, would be heir on his throne and would rule forever and ever (2 Samuel 7, Luke 1:31-33). And because of his redemption, people from every tribe and nation and language will worship before the throne of the One who was and is and is to come (Rev. 5).
So when I called my daughter, “Naomi Faith,” I am calling her to be satisfied in Christ the Redeemer, and I am calling her to rejoice in the redemption of the nations and their reconciliation as one in him. And my prayer is that all who see her may join in these joys.