Ruth the Moabite

The Book of Ruth is easy to dismiss as one of those interesting books in the Hebrew Scriptures that may seem to be of little consequence. After all, this isn’t a recipe for Christian living, is it? And it’s all about women and their emoting; not very manly, especially since the Book of Ruth is tucked in among all those Old Testaments books relaying wars, the establishment of kingdoms, and the actions of God in human history. But it is hard to understate the Book of Ruth’s importance in salvation history.

The Book of Ruth is the ultimate demonstration of the outreach program of the ancient Hebrews, and a clear sign of Jesus’ mission to the Gentiles. For openers, it gives the lie to the notion of a racially pure Jewish nation, and should be read by anyone today who thinks that being Jewish has anything to do with race. Not only that, it also demonstrates how a direct ancestor of Jesus dame from a despised people, the Moabites — recalling that Moabites all descended from an act of incest (Genesis 19:34-38).

One lesson for me is that our Savior, while without sin himself, did not hesitate to have his mortal self born from a line that included Ruth the Moabite, Ruth the descendant of incest, one of the most heinous of sins. And yet, in Ruth we have the literal seeds for “the root of Jesse”, who, of course, was himself Ruth and Boaz’ grandson.

Finally, the thought we should all take away from Ruth is the notion of joining the family of God, which many of us, even those who profess to be saved, should do, at least spiritually. Let us always remember these words; words that convey the power of God Almighty to cause us to join to Him. From Ruth 1:

16But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. 17Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.”

Amen.

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