Key Verse: “I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The LORD has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.” Ruth 1:21
When we meet Naomi, she is a widow and a foreigner in Moab. In Scripture, Moab represents a place of worldly compromise. While other nations attacked, the Moabites offered a hand of friendship. They invited them to join their societies, worship their gods, marry their women, to enjoy what they had to offer. This tactic is far more sinister than straightforward attack. It makes us lower our guard and compromise for short term benefits.
Have you found yourself slowly drift into the world? Slowly living by its standards rather than God’s. Has it suddenly drawn upon you that you are in the wrong place spiritually?
Naomi had moved there just for a ‘while’ (see Ruth 1:1) with her husband and sons for better circumstance, but while there, they settled down and her son’s married Moabite women. Not long after, the place that looked so inviting became a place of devastation and Naomi’s husband, and two sons die. I wonder how many people have gone into wrong relationships that looked so inviting only to end in distress. How many people have taken a new job, that promised the world, but has brought misery? How many people have moved into a new house, that promised a better life but has brought bankruptcy? We understand the situation Naomi was in because we too often find ourselves there.
Naomi looked at here future and seen only one outcome. If she stayed, she would end up dead like the rest of her family. So she decides it time to turn around and return to the place of blessing. Is this not a picture of what repentance is? We find ourselves in the wrong place, so we make a U-turn leaving the world behind and fixing our eyes on Jesus, “the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:2).
Naomi was out of touch with God and far away from his people, but she is determined to return to the place of blessing. She returned to Bethlehem with nothing, but her daughter-in-law Ruth who refused to leave her. In Ruth 1:21 she says, “I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The LORD has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.”
She was poor and hungry, but at least she was now in the right place. The account of Ruth is a remarkable one, which we will save for another devotional, but Naomi future was changed when she left the place of compromise and returned to God.
If you find yourself in the wrong place today, physical, mental or spiritual it’s time to return to God. Acts 3:19 says “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” Do you need a time of refreshing? Turn to God! Have you made decisions that have led you further and further away from God? Turn to God!
Naomi had lost her son’s in Moab, but listen to what the women told her in Ruth 4:14-15 “Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.” God gave Naomi a daughter-in-law who loved her more than seven sons, and a grandson, what later became King David’s grandfather. God restored to Naomi more than she had lost, but it all began with returning to the right place.