Summary: The Lord uses Plain Janes to do great things. Ruth & Naomi were Plain Janes who left alegacy for others to follow.
From Plain Jane to Remembering her Name
Since we are in a study about Plain Jane’s, let me remind you of a few famous Jane’s.
• Jane Addams-In 1931 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, Organizations: Hull-House, settlement house movement, National Woman Suffrage Association, Anti-Imperialist League, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
• Martha Jane Cannery Burke- AKA Calamity Jane- known for her riding and shooting skills in the late 1800’s to her heroic efforts during the smallpox epidemic. Or maybe it was a description of a very hard and tough life. She got her name Calamity Jane because she said ‘calamity would come to any man who bothered her -- a calamity. Or perhaps it was due Jane Grey- AKA Lady Jane Grey-was queen of England in 1553 just for a little while then she was executed.
• Jane Appleton-AKA Jane Appleton Pierce- she married Franklin Pierce who became president in 1852 and was not very happy, in fact when he was nominated she fainted at the idea.
• Jane Grey- Lady Jane Grey was queen of England in 1853 for 1 year before she was executed.
Now, let me remind you of a few Plain Jane’s:
Naomi-A widow who’s love for her God changed the life of a young woman
Ruth- a widow who’s love for another person will be used as an example for generations and generations.
In the list of names I just spoke, of how did the latter two move from:
Plain Jane’s to remembering her name?
Let’s look at the life of the first Plain Jane-Naomi
The book of Ruth tells just a little about Naomi. But the results tell us a lot.
The first thing I know about Naomi
1. She was wife and a mother. Scripture does not go into detail about her past or her relationship with her husband, but she must have loved her husband a lot because she went with him when he said we were moving to Moab. She packed up, took her two sons, and left the land that she loved to go to a foreign land known to be detestable in the eyes of God.
a. Now I don’t know about you but if my husband told me we were going to move Iraq because the food was better there, I would seriously have to rethink my love for him.
Second thing I know about Naomi
2. After they were there for a little while her husband died.
a. Now she was left all alone with her two boys, no family, no church, their beliefs were different than hers, probably not many friends because she was a foreigner. Just her, her two boys and her God.
Third thing I know about Naomi
3. Her sons married Moabite woman
a. Ok, now things seem to have gone from bad to worse. . Deuteronomy 23:3-6 lays out some pretty strong words: “No Ammonite or Moabite or any of his descendants may enter the assembly of the LORD, even down to the tenth generation. For they did not come to meet you with bread and water on your way when you came out of Egypt…Do not seek a treaty of friendship with them as long as you live.”
b. Naomi was an Israelite, they were taught to follow God’s commands to the letter and now her sons were married to Moabites,
c. Moabites worshiped many gods,
d. They practiced, human sacrifices, and ritualistic sex for their gods
e. This was the family her sons married into.
f. Then they too die.
g. Ok this sounds like every woman’s worst dream…
The last thing I know about Plain Jane Naomi, but most important:
4. She was a Godly woman.
a. Even in her despair she kept her faith in God. She listened and stayed in tune with Him.
b. Ruth 1:6 says, ‘she heard that the Lord had blessed his people by giving them good crops again’.
c. I will talk more about her faith later…
d. She was only mother in law to Ruth and Orpah for just a little while and yet they were willing to leave all they knew to go with her when she decided to go back home.
e. There had to be something she did, how she responded to things, maybe stories she told, or the unconditional love she gave them, something drew them to her.
f. Maybe it was the way she handled the death of her husband, their Father in law, that they attached themselves to her to help them go through the loss of their own husbands.
g. Maybe she lived up to her name ‘Naomi which means Pleasant’. That’s it! She was just kind
h. I believe she had something to offer them that their god, lower g, could not give them.