Summary: As we gaze into the Story of Ruth, we find that it is really the story of another woman whose influence changed the course of history!
The Story of Ruth Naomi
When Benjamin Franklin was the Ambassador to France, he occasionally attended the Infidels Club -- a group that spent most of its time searching for and reading literary masterpieces. On one occasion Franklin read the book of Ruth to the club, but changed the names in it so it would not be recognized as a book of the Bible. When he finished, the listeners were unanimous in their praise. They said it was one of the most beautiful short stories that they had ever heard, and demanded that he tell them where he had run across such a remarkable work of art. He loved telling them that it came from the Bible!
As we gaze into the story of Ruth, we find that it is really the story of another woman whose influence changed the course of history. Like a mother who hides in the background so that her children can stand out, Naomi becomes the supporting actress in this drama from the time of the Judges. Each Act in this story displays for us the character qualities of this godly Mother, Naomi.
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.
3 Now Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons.
4 They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten 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.
Naomi lived her faith everyday, in everyway. Sometimes we are tempted within the walls of our home, among the people closest to us, to let her hair down and say or do things that are not godly. We would never act that way in front of strangers, but our family sees who we really are.
The only thing of value we can give is what we are, not what we have!
Virgil Hensley shares this story: Several years ago in a tropical country where many Americans were living, a terrifying eye disease struck. It affected primarily children. American children were seemed to be more vulnerable, apparently due to an immune deficiency. The signs of the disease were unmistakable. Five days after the first symptoms appeared the child would begin to go blind.
One morning…one of the American mother’s awoke to see all the symptoms of the disease in her little girl’s eyes. She immediately took her to the doctor, only to have her worst fears confirmed. Holding back the tears, the mother then took her daughter by the hand and walked her to a nearby field. The mother picked up her child and held her. She told her to notice how the sunlight lit the landscape dotted with wild flowers. The mother then picked one of the yellow flowers, placed it in her daughter’s hand and they carefully examined together the lovely complicated structure that only God could make.
Then the mother turned the little girl’s face toward her own. “What color is my hair?” she asked. “Black. Mommy. Black and pretty.” “And my eyes…look at them. What color are they?” “Blue, blue like the sky,” she said, patting her mother’s face. And as the mother looked into her daughter’s eyes soon to go dim, she asked, “And what do you see in your mother’s eyes?” “Love, Mommy. I see love!”
Mammas, what do your children see when they look into your eyes? Do they see love? Do they see God?
Looking into the eyes of Naomi, Ruth saw a God who was strong enough to sustain her no matter what. Naomi had every reason to be unhappy - she’d just her lost husband and 2 sons, and had no visible prospects for her future. In her lament she declares that she believes God is punishing her. BUT she doesn’t curse God or turn from Him.
The devotion the Naomi had for God was obviously so intense that Ruth committed herself in devotion to Naomi.