In the book of Ruth, we find in this book two examples of women of faith. Today I discuss Naomi and her faithful example. Naomi is a wife to Elimelech, mother of two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, and mother-in-law to Orpah and Ruth. In chapter 1 verse 2, we read they are Ephrathites of Beth-lehem-judah.
In the book of Ruth, we read about some difficult times in Naomi’s life. Within the first few verses of chapter one, we read about the multiple losses Naomi suffered. Naomi found herself in a new land due to a famine in her homeland. Sometime after that, she and her family left Judah and traveled to Moab. Then Naomi lost her husband and began a new transition of life alone with her two sons, Mahlon and Chilion. Eventually, the sons took wives from the Moab people. So the story goes Naomi moved to a foreign land, lost her husband, transitioned to mother-in-law role, experienced the death of her two sons all within a decade Naomi continued to trust in God and desired to return to her homeland. ‘Then she arose with her daughters-in-law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that Jehovah had visited his people in giving them bread.’ Ruth 1:6.
Naomi and her daughters-in-law, Ruth and Orpah, began their trip to Judah. Naomi encouraged Ruth and Orpah to return to their families, but they both chose to go with Naomi. A second time, Naomi tells them to go back to their people. Orpah sadly chose to leave and return to her home, but Ruth chose to continue with Naomi.
All of this happened within the first 18 verses of Ruth chapter 1. So you can understand why I described Naomi as suffering multiple losses. She experienced a move, loss of husband, loss of both her sons, and a daughter-in-law leaving her. In verse 20, we read Naomi’s words and I can imagine the despair she felt. ‘She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi, when the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?”’ Ruth 1:20-21. No doubt Naomi was wrestling with her grief and she was allowing her grief to consume her and affect her attitude toward to her God.
But Naomi’s story doesn’t end on her weak moment. No, there’s more to her story. Even though, Naomi’s attitude toward God was negative, she does find hope in God again. ‘And her mother-in-law said to her, “Where did you glean today? And where have you worked? Blessed be the man who took notice of you.” So she told her mother-in-law with whom she had worked and said, “The man’s name with whom I worked today is Boaz.” And Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “May he be blessed by the Lord, whose kindness has not forsaken the living or the dead!” Naomi also said to her, “The man is a close relative of ours, one of our redeemers.”’ Ruth 2:19-20.
God proved yet again, His amazing grace. God showed Naomi He had not forgotten her. Naomi took this opportunity and gave Ruth instructions on what to do to gain the favor of Boaz. The end of this story tells us that Boaz took Ruth as his wife and God allowed His goodness to be shown through the Moabite daughter-in-law Ruth. God used the faithfulness and willing spirit of Ruth to bless Naomi and bring forth the next generation in the lineage of Christ. ‘Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.” Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her lap and became his nurse. And the women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.’ Ruth 4: 14-17
Naomi’s a great example of a woman of faith for several reasons. She apparently influenced her daughter-in-law, Ruth to love God. Experiencing great adversity, Naomi did not let her grief consume her to the point that she refused to no longer find hope in God. Naomi trusted God to provide for her and through her life He was able to show His goodness.
Until next time