Then Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show kindness to you, as you have shown to your dead and to me. May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.” Then she kissed them and they wept aloud and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.” — Ruth 1:8–10

Every Friday at the Sabbath meal, it is the Jewish tradition for the husband to sing the words from Proverbs 31:10–31 to his wife, praising her as an eishet chyail, a “woman of valor.” It is the highest compliment one can bestow upon a mother, a wife, a daughter. But what constitutes a woman of valor? This devotion is one of ten exploring what it means to be an eishet chyail, looking at women from the Bible and in our lives.

Who are the role models who have inspired you during your life? Who has influenced you on a personal level? Who helped you to overcome obstacles and encouraged you throughout life? Who did you want to be like when you grew up?

Everyone, regardless of age, needs good role models. Role models are an important part of our personal development. They are the people who come alongside us, give us guidance, and offer encouragement throughout our lives. Maybe you’ve been fortunate to have several of those types of people in your life. It’s a blessing to have one.

If you’re familiar with the biblical story of Ruth, then you know that Naomi and her family left Bethlehem during a famine and went to the land of Moab, where her husband and two sons died. Naomi’s two sons had married Moabite wives, so the three widows decided to head back to Bethlehem because God had blessed the land with fertility again.

Childless widows usually returned to the home of their parents (see Genesis 38:11Leviticus 22:13), but Naomi’s godly character must have impressed her daughters-in-law because both young women wanted to go with her. Although Naomi urged them to return to their families, her daughter-in-laws initially refused.

Naomi was the type of woman — a role model — who they would follow anywhere, even to a foreign land. Eventually, one of her daughter-in-laws returned home. But Ruth remained steadfast in her desire to follow Naomi. Ruth even left behind the Moabite gods of her culture and accepted Naomi’s God by converting to Judaism. In a beautiful statement of loyalty and love, Ruth told her mother-in-law: “Your people will be my people and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16).

As you think about the godly influence Naomi had over these two young women, it is important to remember being a role model doesn’t always have to look flashy. Naomi was a mother and a wife. She kept the household running. Yet, in carrying out her responsibilities and duties, she had exerted an influence over all who knew her and observed how she lived.

Who are the people in your life right now watching you? What is your life teaching others?

For more lessons on the Proverbs 31 woman, please download our free devotional booklet, A Woman of Valor.

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