As we read Ruth, one fact is inescapably clear: Ruth was a Moabite. The history of the origin of the Moabites is colorful. Genesis 19:30-38 tells us the story: simply put, Abraham’s nephew Lot lived in a cave with his two daughters. The daughters were afraid the family line would cease, and that they would not have the chance to be mothers, so one night the two daughters got their dad drunk, and the older daughter had relations with her father. Since he was intoxicated, he did not remember what happened. The fruit of that union was a child was named Moab. Moab is the father of the Moabites.
The following night they same thing happened again, except this time it was the younger daughter who conceived by her father, Lot. Her child was named Ben-Ammi, who became the father of the Ammonites.
Neither the Moabites nor the Ammonites were friends with the Israelites.
* * *
So what do you think about Moab now? We might be so taken aback by the content of this Bible story that we pause, not knowing what to say – in part because it does not fit with our Southern sensibilities of appropriate conversation.
It is now becoming clearer how stunning it is that Naomi’s family went to Moab to live. After all, this is in the chaotic days of the Judges when “everyone did as they saw fit” – even going to Moab to live. (If you want another window into Moab around this time, read Judges 3 with Eglon, King of Moab.)
But today’s main thought: Did you expect the Bible to contain a story like that of Moab’s origins? Or, have you ever read about Tamar, Er, Onan and Judah in Genesis 38? These stories (and more) are not typical Sunday school material. Yet, there they are, right in the Bible. So they were written for us.
I am not trying to make the Bible shock you; what I am saying is that the God’s Word is already astounding all on its own. Dare to read it, and you will uncover the unexpected. Passages like these can so disarm us that they leave in a place of openness. We are now listening. And then we realize: nothing about your life is off the table when it comes to talking with God.
Father, take away our preconceptions that we may more fully open our ourselves up to You. Bring us closer to You today. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.