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What We Can Learn From Naomi In The Bible When We Feel Empty

Have you ever left full, only to return empty? Maybe you followed God’s call, you journey out with Him excited and ready to do what He has put in your heart. Maybe God called you into ministry or missions, or maybe He called you into the unknown in your very own home. Perhaps God called you away from something, some people, some situations, a job. And now, now you find yourself exhausted, spent, used up, empty.

Maybe God led you to a far-off place, only to bring you back void. You followed God into the deep waters of faith, you abandoned the boat and the safety of the shore to fling yourself into His calling and now here you are being led back to shore. But suddenly what was shallower before, is deeper, it’s not easy going back in as it was going out.  You’re tired, bone-weary, it’s all you can do to keep a mask in place, to keep others from seeing the battered places.

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The Story Of Naomi In The Bible


We are so quick to think that the label of Christian should make our way easy, we think it means we won’t have to experience the flames. But we forget that we were promised that God would be with us in the midst of the flames and in the storms. It didn’t promise that the fire would never come, but then when it does He will sustain us. That when the storm is at its very worst, we will not be lost in the waves.

I’m reminded of Naomi, returning to her homeland alone and broken. She’d lost everything – husband, children, home, provision, comfort. She’d followed her husband into a distant land, and suddenly everything she’s known, everything she’s loved, everything that is familiar is gone. She’s a stranger in a strange land.


Where Is The Story Of Naomi Found In The Bible?

The story of Naomi in the Bible is found in the Book of Ruth, it’s believed to take place during the same time period as the Book of Judges. The Book of Ruth tackles many important questions like does God Care? and Is God good? as we navigate through the story of a faithful woman who dealt with great heartache and loss.
Naomi in the Bible was a follower of God who endured heartbreaking tragedies that left her grieving the loss of her husband and sons in a foreign land. The book of Ruth brings us into Naomi’s story from the high point to rock bottom as she looks to God through despair, struggling to find the strength to trust God. The Book of Ruth and Ruth and Naomi in the Bible along with Boaz give us a beautiful picture of who God is on the mountain and in the valley, sacrificial love, loyalty, and reminds us that even during the darkest circumstances when doubts about God overwhelm us, God’s love for us is sure.

Who Was Naomi In The Bible?

Naomi in the Bible was an Israelite woman in the Old Testament book of Ruth, she was a wife and a mother who through tragic events was left alone in a foreign land with her two daughters-in-law.

What Is The Biblical Meaning Of Naomi In The Bible?

The name Naomi is from the Hebrew name נָעֳמִי which means “pleasantness”.

What Kind Of Person Was Naomi In The Bible?

Naomi was a caregiver, a woman of faith, a wife, and a mother who loved her family. But she was also much more, through life’s circumstances she was broken, shattered, and became bitter. In fact, when she returns to her homeland later in the book of Ruth she tells them to call her Mara which means bitter. And much like Rahab in the Bible and many other women in the Bible, we find that God had a massive role for her, and a plan even though she felt like she had been abandoned and crushed. 

Who Was Naomi In The Bible Married Too?

Naomi in the Bible was married to a man named Elimelech, the Bible doesn’t tell us much about these two Biblical figures. They are thought to have belonged to one of the outstanding families in Israel, being a brother of Salmon, prince of Judah, who married Rahab. If this is so, then Naomi began her married life in comfortable circumstances. 



The Life Of Naomi In The Bible

Naomi In The Bible Verses

In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. The man’s name was Elimelek, his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there. Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons.  They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years,  both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband. Ruth 1:1-5 NIV

Why Did Naomi Leave Bethleham?

Naomi in the Bible and her family left Bethlehem becomes of a great famine, food had become scarce, and chose to leave their homeland in search of better lands where the famine had not impacted. 

Why Did Naomi Leave Moab?

When Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had come to the aid of his people by providing food for them, she and her daughters-in-law prepared to return home from there. With her two daughters-in-law, she left the place where she had been living and set out on the road that would take them back to the land of Judah. Ruth 1:6-7

After the death of Naomi’s husband and two sons, Naomi in the Bible chose to return home after hearing that the famine had broken and the Lord had again blessed His people. 


What We Can Learn From Naomi In The Bible

Naomi in the Bible returned to her homeland changed, the people who had once known her greet the woman they used to know- but the journey has changed her. She’s not the same person as she was when she left. She left them as Naomi full, but she returns a Mara. Bitter because she returns broken, and empty, believing that God has cast her aside. Doubting He cares. Wondering if He’d used her up, only to cast her aside. Whenever brokenness finds us, bitterness isn’t far behind.

Sometimes God takes you far away to teach you to rely on Him, and then He squeezes you out into other’s lives because He knows you have what they need. Naomi in the Bible had to leave her homeland so she could meet Ruth. The famine had to come so she would leave her comfort zone, the place she had always known. Naomi and Ruth in the Bible had to go through the storm so that it would bind them together.

Naomi in the Bible had to experience great loss so that she would return home. Each step was orchestrated to bring these women together so they could lean on each other when life was hard.  But We so easily forget, that just one heart touched makes it all worth it. Just one life impacted makes the pain of feeling empty worth it- and even if you don’t see the impact today it’s worth it because it was for Him. All for Him.

Naomi In The Bible Had To Return To Her Homeland

Sometimes God brings you back to the familiar, to your homeland, because someone back there needs what you’ve learned squeezed out. Sometimes He brings you back because someone needs what you’re bringing back with you. You are a landmark in someone else’s journey. He brings us back because maybe someone needs to know that no matter how battered or empty your life looks to the world, He is weaving your story. The places that we return empty are the places He will shine through the most.


Home doesn’t always look like what it did before we left, but that’s ok we’re not the same person we were. We’ve changed, we survived storms, We’ve walked through the fire, we’ve struggled with things the people back home will never see and sometimes never understand. We’ve been poured out. The journey has changed us. It’s easy to claim the name Mara in this season… but as we continue to read Naomi’s story it’s clear she didn’t stay in this place. She kept believing in spite of the pain, in spite of feeling empty.

Finding Hope From Naomi In The Bible

Are you in this season? Are you returning empty? You left full, your hands filled, praising God for what He was doing. But now you are returning empty-handed, struggling to understand, to find Him in this empty place. Wondering what happened, what you did wrong. But we forget that was the whole reason we were called out into the unfamiliar, to be squeezed out into other’s lives. To plant seeds of truth, or water those that have already been planted. If we came back full, the whole journey would be pointless. We weren’t meant to come back full.


Perhaps like a parent teaching their child to swim, God draws us into the unknown where we can’t touch the bottom- and then when we are tired He draws us back to the familiar shore to be filled once more and to speak into the lives of those getting ready to embark on their own journey. No matter how empty you feel in this moment you are never truly empty. No matter how confused, no matter how broken you feel, no matter how useless you feel He still there. He is still working, He will not abandon you.

It’s OK to return empty, as long as you let Him pour back into you. As long as you soak back into Him. Sometimes He allows us to return empty, so that like when Simon had been out fishing all night and returned to shore empty-handed there was room for Jesus. He lets our decks grow empty so that we have to return and when we do, there is room for Him. If our hands, our decks are full when we return to the shore there would be no room for Him. No place for Him to step into and proclaim His goodness. Perhaps this empty season is yet another way to teach us to rely on Him. We get so busy asking why we are returning empty, that we forget to trust that He won’t leave that place empty. We forget that He is using all of this for our good.

Naomi In The Bible Reminds Us Of Our Role In The Storm

We often forget that the reason it seems so dark is that we are the light, and we can’t see it is because we’re standing in it. We can’t see the lighthouse because we are the lighthouse and we shine the brightest in the darkest place.

I know you feel empty, that He can’t use you, that He’s done with you. Maybe you feel like He’s forgotten all about you, that you aren’t enough anymore but you’ve forgotten that you don’t have to be enough because He is enough. He is enough in every season, on every day, in every place, HE IS ENOUGH. When you pour what is enough into what is not enough, what is not enough becomes enough. When you take the one who is enough and pour Him into your empty places, the empty becomes full.


The Story Of Naomi And Ruth Teaches Us God Is Here


God is here in this season with you, ready to pour over your dried-up wasteland. Ready to breathe life back into what is barren, ready to soothe the broken places, to pour life back into dried bones, prepared to fill you back up. Don’t fear coming home empty, it’s a place that only those who abandoned the shore and sailed into the unknown with Him will ever experience. To be filled, you first have to be emptied. We may never see, the impact of us being poured out but I promise, it’s there. It may not look like what you expected. You may not even see it in your lifetime. It may look like a drop in the ocean, but there was a reason. Just like Naomi in the Bible had to leave, only to return empty with Ruth. God has a plan, and even in the midst of the storm, He has you firmly in His hands.

Don’t fear this season, if He saw you through the storms over and over again, do you think He’ll abandon you here? Even though Naomi in the Bible felt like she had been abandoned, she was never alone.Don’t try to cover this place up, don’t bury it beneath a mask, and plant artificial flowers. Throw the doors wide, and prepare for Him to rain down, prepare for Him to flood over those dry places in your life.

Looking to dive deeper into the story of Naomi in the Bible? Check out our printable study guide!

“But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-9 NIV

Praise Him in the dry season, praise Him for the rain that’s coming even though you can’t see the clouds gathering. Rest in the knowledge that even though you can’t see the clouds or smell the rain it’s coming. Praise Him for the rain, even though you can’t feel it yet, because maybe that’s the reason He brought you back home empty. To show others there is hope in this place, that He will not abandon them because He didn’t abandon you. That they have not been forgotten in this season. Prepare for the rain, praise Him, before you feel the first drops. Perhaps this is just another step in learning to follow Him like Naomi in the Bible into the unknown scary places of faith. 

Perhaps this season is here to teach us that no matter how many times God calls us out into the unknown, no matter how many times He pours us out He’ll always fill us back up.


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1 thought on “What We Can Learn From Naomi In The Bible When We Feel Empty”

  1. I shared the video link. Oh, my, this hit me right where I am at today! Thank you for stepping out in boldness, not only to write the devotion, but to broadcast it. I admire you, and I thank you for sharing.

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