Thursday, January 21st, 2016
The Enemy's Game (Part 81)
Star Players: Naomi*
Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, 'Go, return each of you to her mother's house. May the Lord deal kindly with you as you have dealt with the dead and with me...'
Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. Then she said, 'Behold, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her gods; return after your sister-in-law.' But Ruth said, 'Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried.'
Ruth 1:8,14-17 (NASB)
The small Book of Ruth packs a powerful punch. For a lesson on how to witness God well, especially to outsiders who know you, especially in idolatrous nations, think about Ruth's mother-in-law, Naomi. The name, Naomi, means sweet and pleasant. Her joyful example would change the world.
Consider some of Naomi's story:
1. When God ordained a famine in Judah, Naomi's husband sought greener pastures, taking his wife and two sons to Moab. But personal disasters followed them.
2. In ten years, both he and his sons perished, but not before each son would take a wife: foreign wives, which was against Jewish Law. Even so, Naomi was kind to them.
3. However, she wanted to return home. Knowing outsiders might not be welcomed, she blessed and released her daughters-in-law, hoping they would find new lives in Moab.
4. One left, but the other (Ruth) clung to her, refusing to leave Naomi's presence, willing to be a stranger in Judah, asking to worship the God she loved. Why?
5. Was it Naomi's wonderful kindness? Was she the best person Ruth ever met? One who offered the fruits of God's Spirit? One who knew of a better way to live?
Actors, models and talent for Christ: What can Naomi's life underline? Maybe kindness is God's calling card. Maybe examples mean more than words. Maybe when people get to know you, they'll see the best person in their world. Maybe they'll give up all they now know to follow you to the one true King. Maybe that Naomi ended well, gaining much more than she ever lost - through her witness in a foreign land.
To Be Continued...
* Short article: Who was Naomi in the Bible? http://www.gotquestions.org/Naomi-in-the-Bible.html
* Longer article on Naomi (Women of the Bible): https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/all-women-bible/Naomi
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the The Enemy's Game series.