March is Women’s History Month and we are celebrating by highlighting the many women who play a major part in stories told in The Bible. Today we are spotlighting Naomi which means “My Joy” or “Pleasant”.
KEY SCRIPTURE: Ruth 4:13-17
Naomi was a woman who refused to hide her sorrow or bitterness after losing her husband, Elimelech and two sons in a foreign land, far away from family and friends. Her family left their home in Bethlehem to live in Moab to escape the famine. She believed in God’s sovereignty and attributed her suffering, after the loss of her husband and sons, to his will. The sorrow was overwhelming, dealing with double grief led her to hopelessness. She found joy when she returned safely to Bethlehem with her daughter-in-law, Ruth, who eventually rekindled Naomi’s happiness and hope. Being a loving mother-in-law, Naomi inspired unusual love and loyalty in her daughters-in-law. God’s faithfulness to restore her empty life would come when Naomi fully saw past her suffering and stopped holding onto the thought that her tragedies were punishment for her sins.
Scriptures To Read Around Naomi’s Story
RUTH 4:14-15 – The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the LORD, who this day has not left you without a kinsman-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Isael He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is beller to you than seven sons, has given him birth.”
PSALM 71:20 – Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again.
JOEL 2:25-26 – I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten… You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the LORD your God, who has worked wonders for you.
- Choose three or four words to describe what Naomi experienced in 1:3-5
- What kind of reception do you think Naomi expected when she returned to Bethlehem with her Moabite daughter-in-law?
- Who was at fault for Naomi’s circumstances? Naomi? Her husband? God? Explain your answer. Who controlled Naomi’s response to her circumstances?
- If you suffered what Naomi suffered, would you be bitter? Why or why not?
- What would it take for you to love and trust God in Naomi’s circumstances?
Source: Women of the Bible by Ann Spangler & Jean E. Syswerda
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