What Can We Learn From Naomi? Part 1: The Book of Ruth

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Last week I posted about spiritual laziness and I am determined to shed that skin and renew my spirit.  Laziness comes from different places, like complacency, ungratefulness or just burnout.  It doesn’t matter where it stems from if it is affecting your walk with God things need to change fast.

Last week I began reading Ruth and wanted to do a Bible study starting with Naomi and what we can learn from her.


 Ruth chapter 1 (NIV)

  1.  In the days when the judges ruled there was a famine in the land, and a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab.
  2. The man’s name was Elimelech, his wife’s name Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.


This is Bethlehem the birthplace of Jesus. Although Jesus was not born yet this was the time when the judges ruled and there was a famine in the land. Elimelech and Naomi move their family to Moab for a while to escape the famine.

3.  Now Elimelech, Naomi‘s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. 

4.  They married Moabite women, one named Oprah and the other Ruth. After they live there about 10 years,

5.  both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.

6.  When she heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, Naomi and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there.

7.  With her two daughters-in-law, she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah.

8.  Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show kindness to you, as you have shown to your dad and to me.

9.  May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.”  Then she kissed them and they wept out loud.  

10.  And said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.”

We see no mention of Naomi having more children, and no mention of grandchildren. There was no life insurance, no inheritance, there was nothing. Having children, and grandchildren was a sign of prosperity back then, but Naomi had neither. Instead, we see in verse 9 Naomi blessed both women. Back then a blessing was something you spoke out loud, it was words of good fortune.  It wasn’t merely “may God bless you”  it was sometimes extensive.  Naomi wished her daughters-in-law to have a good future, with husbands who loved them.  We know that Naomi loved her daughters-in-law.  

We also see that Naomi had made an impact on their lives, even in a different country.  When they had nothing left Naomi still made an impact on them. They loved their mother-in-law not many can say they get along with their mother-in-law to the point they are willing to live with their mother-in-law instead of their own mothers.

Naomi was an example to these women they learned about God through her while living in their own land.

This chapter has taught us that

Naomi brought God with her where ever she went. 

It is easy to act like a Christian at church, or to be kind to people you go to church with, but what about people at your job, people you meet at the PTA meetings, the sidelines of your kids’ soccer game?

Some people go to church read their Bible but when they get together with people outside of that circle the pristine gloves come off. They use different language, act differently, they have two sides to themselves. Naomi was the same person at home in her own land and the same person when she moved to Moab.  Naomi was a light to her daughters-in-law and she showed them who God was in their own land, a foreign land with other gods. Orpah and Ruth were even willing to go live with Naomi back in Bethlehem. Would you leave your home state, or country to go live with your mother-in-law? I can’t say I would.  Orpah and Ruth wept out loud when Naomi told them to go back to their mothers’ homes. Who does that? Cry out loud? Someone in sorrow. These women cried at the thought of leaving Naomi. 

Verses 12 through 18 tell us that Naomi encouraged the women to go back to their mother’s home but in verse 16 Ruth replied, “don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where are you go I will go and where you stay I will stay. your people will be my people and your God will be my God. Where are you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me. When Naomi realized Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.

Naomi made an impact on Ruth. Ruth changed her faith because of Naomi.  She gave up her old life and wanted to follow Naomi‘s God, because of what she had seen in Naomi.

Are you making an impact at work? You may not be able to share your faith openly at work but your good and godly attitude will shine bright through the crowd.

How do you impact your friends? Are you the one they come to when they want advice or are you the one they come to when they want to be worldly?

Look around, you may be the only person showing God’s love to those around you.  Take advantage of that and shine.

Today commit to being a Naomi. Commit to impact others.   

What will you do this week to let the light of God shine through you?  How will you

Take God With You?

Share in the comments below.

Next, we will look at the rest of Ruth in this study on Naomi


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