Naomi: The Loving Mother-in-Law

51vK90XiXDL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_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)

 

Introduction:

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.

 

Conclusion:

Naomi sacrificed herself for the needs of Ruth. She did it out of love not some fake sense of duty or guilt. God approves of and rewards this type of sacrifice and so it was until the end of Naomi’s life.

Through Naomi, Ruth saw and we are able to see, peace, character and loving kindness. As Ruth did, we can emulate these characteristics and achieve these things for ourselves.

 

Prayer:

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.

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Ruth: The Loving Daughter-in-Law

51vK90XiXDL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_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!” Again, they sobbed and wept; and Orpah kissed her

mother-in-law good-bye, but Ruth stayed with her.

“See now!” she said, “Your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her god.” But, Ruth said, “Do not ask me to abandon or forsake you! For wherever you go I will go, wherever you lodge, I will lodge, your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Wherever you die, I will die and there be buried. May the Lord do so and so to me, and more besides, if aught but death separates me from you!” (Ruth 1: 8, 14-17, NAB)

Ruth was a Moabitess, married to an Israelite, She believed in different gods than the Israelites. When her husband died, she could have chosen to return to her people and her religion. Instead, she chose to stay with her mother-in-law, Naomi, and face an uncertain future in a foreign country.

I am often guilty of putting my needs ahead of others. However,  that is not what God wants. He wants me to consider the needs of others first.

 

The definition of duty is sacrificing what we want so someone else may benefit. This is what Ruth and Naomi did for each other. Naomi was downcast after the death of her husband and sons. Instead of focusing on her own sadness, she directed all her energy on the future of Ruth. Ruth followed Naomi’s lead. Her only motivation is her love for Naomi and that motivation is pleasing to God.

If we are focusing on our own happiness, we are getting in God’s way. Just because a need presents itself does not mean we have to respond to it. Like Ruth, we need to consider the needs of others through the eyes of love with God in our hearts.

 

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, Make me more like Ruth, willing to listen and heed my elders and extend a helping hand to those in need. Let me see past my own selfish needs to consider others. Amen.

 

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Michal: The Rejected Daughter and Wife

51vK90XiXDL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Last week I talked about Bathsheba, David’s beloved wife. Before Bathsheba, David had a few other wives including Michal, his first wife. What can this first wife teach us?

 

David made preparations and sallied forth with his men and slew two hundred Philistines. He brought back their foreskins and counted them out before the king that might thus become the king’s son-in-law. So Saul gave him his daughter, Michal in marriage. Saul thus came to recognize that the Lord was with David: besides his own daughter, Michal loved David. (1 Samuel 18: 27-28, NAB)

 

Introduction:

Michal was a naive teenager willing to go along with her father’s manipulations to marry the man she loves. Blinded by her immature love, she does not see her father’s lack of concern for her feelings or David’s disregard for her. As she gets older, her eyes are opened to the shenanigans of her father and David. She becomes bitter and disillusioned. She rejects God and her husband and spends her remaining days a very unhappy woman.

 

Conclusion:

The men betrayed Michal in her life. She felt let down and helpless and her mistreatment by men made her bitter. Unlike Leah, she did not

turn to and come to appreciate God.

Sometimes painful life events crowd out our awareness of God and his love. Michal like us felt justified in bitterness. In truth, there is no justification for bitterness. We need to give up our bitterness to God and then the Holy Spirit can work in us.

 

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, help me to be less like Michal and more like Leah.

Help me avoid bitterness and look toward you as I move through painful

life events.

 

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