Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother’s house. Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her. Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.
Ruth 1:8-17 (excerpts)
It’s disappointing that most of what we know of about Naomi is after the tragedy of loosing her husband and two sons. Too often I think we fixate on her declaration to “Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.” (1:20) Yet, her very name speaks of sweetness and pleasantness. A sweet, loving woman she must surely have been to have become a mother to Ruth, greater than Ruth’s own.
Look at it from Ruth’s perspective. Her husband has died. Who is it that Ruth goes to for comfort? Who is it that Ruth seeks to emulate? Who is it that Ruth clings to? Naomi tells Ruth to return to her mother. Ruth tells Naomi that she is already there.
A mother is not simply the construct created by birth. A mother is a role that can be carried out by those who like, Naomi and Ruth, bloodlines are even in opposition. One a Jewess. The other a Moabitess. Their lineage could not have been further separated. Nevertheless, Ruth found a mother in Naomi.
As Christians, we need more women like Naomi. Women, full of sweetness, that will adopt the Ruths and teach them the ways of the Lord. Women, who like Naomi, cause others to emulate her godly ways.
Dear Christian woman, won’t you be a Naomi?