Once in the time of judges there was a famine in the land; so a man from Bethlehem of Judah departed with his wife and two sons to reside on the plateau of Moab. The man was named Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and his sons Mahlon and Chilion; they were Ephrathites from Bethlehem of Judah. Some time after their arrival on the Moabite plateau, Elimelech, the husband of Naomi died and she was left with her two sons, who married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. When they had lived there about ten years both Mahlon and Chilion died also, and the woman was left with neither her two sons, nor her husband. She then made ready to go back from the plateau of Moab because word reached her there that the Lord had visited his people and given
them food. She and her two daughters-in-law left the place where they had been living. (Ruth 1: 1-7, NAB)
Naomi’s husband and two sons had died, leaving her alone in a foreign land with a different religion. Her two sons had married Moabite women who were also left widowed. Naomi could have wallowed in her depression and become frozen by her dire circumstances. However, she chose a different path and God rewarded her for her sacrifice.
I know what it is like to be in the darkness of depression and not know how to find my way out. Naomi grasped onto the only light she could find and that was God and Ruth. God provided me with a family and a new career dedicated to Him as my light. He will do the same for anyone who loves Him and looks to Him for love and help.
Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back each of you, to your mother’s house! May the Lord be kind to you as you were to the departed and to me!” (Ruth 1:8)
Read Ruth 1: 8-14
Naomi decides to return to Judah. When her daughter-in-laws try to go with her, she encourages them to stay in their home country among those of their own faith. Naomi does not use her grief over her losses to convince them to travel with her. Instead, she tries to convince them to stay.
One daughter-in-law, Orpah, chooses to follow Naomi’s advice while the other, Ruth insists on continuing the journey.
Here we also see a display of Naomi’s simple yet deep faith in God. We see God is real and present to Naomi and she wishes to share that with her daughter-in-law.
Questions to Ponder:
- When in dire circumstances, do I think of myself or do I consider the others that share my circumstances?
- Do I use a “pity poor me” strategy to get people to consider my feelings?
- Do I let people see and share my faith in God?
- When I share my faith, do I do it lovingly by example or do I try to force-feed the unwilling victim?
Dear Jesus, help me to see beyond my mind freezing emotions, into the needs of others. Help me to move beyond my selfish needs to help those really in need. Let me be an example of you to the world. Amen.
All for the Glory of God,
Excerpted from Women of the Bible: A Study by Christina Weigand