There is far too much to Moab for just one day.
When Naomi’s husband died she was “left with her two sons.” Then they died and she was “left without her two sons and her husband.” So she begins the journey home in verse 7 with her two Moabite daughters-in-law.
Now consider this: Deuteronomy 23:3 reads, “No Ammonite or Moabite or any of his descendants may enter the assembly of the Lord, even down to the tenth generation.” Down to the 10th generation! And is Naomi bringing them to Judah? This is going to be awkward.
So it makes sense that in Judah, Ruth so often is called not “Ruth” but “Ruth the Moabite.” Maybe we should say, “Ruth-the-keep-her-at-arms-length-Moabite.” Or “Ruth-the-eye-her-with-suspicion-Moabite.” Or “Ruth-she’s-not-really-one-of-us-Moabite.”
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What about you? Have you ever felt rejected? Felt like you were an outsider? Ever felt like others were silently judging you? Maybe you felt not understood, or known, or accepted—even though you may have not done anything wrong. …well then you have something in common with Ruth.
Something shocking is about to happen: “Ruth-the-keep-away-from-the-assembly-of-the-Lord-down-to-the-10th-generation- Moabite” is about to have a prominent place in the History of God’s People. Deuteronomy says this should not happen. So how does it? God’s love. God’s loves reaches to the Ninevites. The Moabites. The Outsiders. The Rejected. The Downcast. The Oppressed. The Broken. …to Sinners.
Yesterday’s look at Moab’s history was shocking; today God’s acceptance of outsiders is downright scandalous.
And that is a good summary of the Gospel: a Scandal. It is a Scandal that God so loves people that Jesus died on the Cross ( “scandal” is often translated “stumbling block”, e.g. I Cor 1:23). He died for the unlovely. For the unattractive. The unaccepted. The outsider. He died even for the Moabites. …and, amazingly, even for you and me.
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Father, thank you for your love. You are great and You are so good! Thank You for accepting us even when others do not. Thank you for making us a part of your family. For our identity truly lies in You alone. In Christ’s Name. Amen.