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By M. U. Adikwu

Naomi and Ruth
The stories of the two women, Naomi and Ruth are two good examples of disappointments women easily face in life. In many societies there are large numbers of widows just as the case of these too women.

The stories of these two women cannot, however, be told separately, as there can be no Ruth without a Naomi. Naomi was an Israelite and Ruth was not. Their story, therefore, clearly exemplified how God can bring disappointment into the life of any man or woman from any tribe or race. Naomi followed her husband Elimelech to the land of Moab in search of food.

Many great men of God in the Bible went down to cities that may be termed ungodly in search of food. It may be a sign that God, in His infinite mercy can show them favour and visit them. Abraham went down to Egypt in search of food. Jacob and his descendants went to Egypt in search of food.

These were places that one can refer to as heathen nations. Egypt was symbolic of a heathen nation in the Old Testament. Moab was typical of a polluted nation – a nation with polluted foundation. The nation of Moab came into existence as a result of the incest relationship between Lot and his first daughter (Genesis 19:30-38). God had said of the Moabites that they shall not enter unto the congregation of the Lord. Incest is a serious sin and God does not tolerate such behaviour.

In our degenerate society, people no longer take such sins serious. All people involved in such sins should cry out to God for help. His mercies endure forever. When the children of Israel where conquering nations to possess the Land, God insisted that the tribe of Moab should be spared (Deuteronomy 2:9). When God’s appointed time came, he allowed Elimelech and her family to go and dwell in the land of Moab. In the eyes of men, it is hunger that sent this family there. Similarly, in the eyes of men it is hunger that made Abraham to go down to Egypt.

The Bible says that all things work for good to them that love God (Romans 6:28). When Abraham went in search of food to Egypt, he caused God to visit them. At least the hand of God was heavy upon the king of Egypt. When God visits a king, there must be influence upon his people as he will keep telling them how powerful the God of Abraham is. Pharaoh had to warn all his people concerning Abraham and his wife (Genesis 12: 12-20). That is enough preaching.

Do not however, see this as an opportunity to do illegal migration. Abraham did not come out free. His journey into Egypt made him to tell lies that Sarah was not his wife! He also came out of Egypt with Hagar that became trouble in the family and for generations to come. The most
ardent enemies of Christians today are the children of this bond woman. Jacob also went to Egypt. Unfortunately for him, he did not live to return. He died there. His death, however, was not in vain. When his descendants were leaving there many years later, some of the
Egyptians had repented and followed.

The Bible recorded that a mixed multitude left Egypt (Exodus 12:40-41). Like Elimelech and his family, Abraham and Sarah, Jacob and his family, many Nigerians and people from other Third World Countries have moved in “search of food” to other nations of the world. These, like the group of people mentioned above have gone to their own “Egypt” and what may become of them may also be like what happened to these people.

Some may die there. Some may lose their family members. These days it is easy to lose one’s family members to the devil, even if they are not physically dead, in some advance countries where the devil is on the rampage, in form of hard drugs, pornography and other vices. Some may return with a “Hagar.”

In all these, what is important is whether we will still be with God. The stories of the people are in the Bible today because of their walk with God. It will be a pity for any man to lose out completely because he has gone in search of “food” to a “far country” like the prodigal son. Remember too that the prodigal son returned to his father.

Back to the story of Ruth and Naomi. Naomi lost her husband and her two sons. I am sure there is no disappointment greater than this in life. Ruth too must have been extremely disappointed after losing her husband at such an early age. Apart from the pains of widowhood, her mother-in-law was from a strange country. At last Naomi had to return
to her own country and to her people. Ruth decided to follow her after much insistence. Orpah decided to stay back in Moab. She was not sure of what would become of her. Ruth followed her mother in-law into the unknown.

In fact, on their return to the land of Israel what to eat was even a problem. At the instruction of her mother in-law, she had to go and glean in the farm of a man she did know (Ruth 2). Again, at the instance of Naomi, her mother in-law, she had to go and almost plead to be married by Boaz her father’s in-law relative. Her life was marked by great strides of faith and obedience. A combination of these two virtues will also lead any person to have a good standing with God. No wonder, this Moabite woman was able to have a place in the genealogy of Jesus Christ the Saviour (Mathew 1:5).

Adikwu writes from Abuja and can be reached on 08034378988; adikwum@yahoo.com

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