Naomi is the mother’s name and her story is told in the book of Ruth. Naomi, with her husband and sons, had been driven from her country by famine. Her husband and two sons died, leaving her bereft of kin and means of livelihood. She decided to return to Israel and advised her two Moabite daughters-in-law to remain where they were.
One took the advice. The other, Ruth, clung to Naomi and spoke the beautiful and memorable words: “Don’t urge me to leave… where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16).
Think of the life and faith of the woman who called forth those words. Ruth’s life-altering decision was made because Naomi’s religion had impressed her with its truth and hope.
This mother’s religion was strong. It is quite easy to be religious in a favorable climate, surrounded by like-minded people. But Naomi kept her faith in a strange land and among alien people. She lived in Moab, but she didn’t do as the Moabites did. For Naomi there was one God and she remained true to Him.
This mother’s religion was attractive. We don’t know how much Naomi talked about Israel’s God, but there is little doubt that the way she lived for Him was impressive. It was a life so attractive in its faith and works that Ruth was willing to reject previous claims of country and religion and accompany Naomi to Bethlehem. We could all do with a religion that attracts.
This mother’s religion was shared. It was strong enough and attractive enough to be conveyed from one person to another. Naomi’s faith won the devotion of a daughter-in-law from another family to herself and from another religion to her God. How deeply and broadly it was shared is expressed in eloquent words and practical deeds. It included going and staying, new relationships with people and a whole-souled commitment to God. Naomi’s faith was communicated and it became life-changing.
George Eliot is credited with saying that, “There are those whose celestial intimacies seem not to improve their domestic manners.” Naomi was different. Her life with God had a healing, helpful influence on those about her and Ruth’s words and actions are a continual witness to this mother’s religion.
Bramwell Tripp, The War Cry