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Ruth

26th February 2010, mgh

 

1) “Intreat me not to leave thee”(Ruth 1: 16)

Ruth the Moabitess would have to be a great example of faith. The Moabites had been condemned because of their treatment of the Israelites when the Israelites came out of Egypt under the leadership of Moses. They had also hired Balaam to curse the Israelites.

For this reason they were not to enter into the congregation of Israel.

An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever: Because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when you came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you.(Deuteronomy 23: 3-4)


Also, the Moabites were an idolatrous nation and the Israelites had turned to the worship of the gods of other nations including Moab. For the worship of foreign gods Israel were condemned and had been forbidden to worship the gods of Moab.

And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim, and Ashtaroth, and the gods of Syria, and the gods of Zidon, and the gods of Moab, and the gods of the children of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines, and forsook the LORD, and served not him.(Judges 10:6)


Ruth, a gentile from the despised race of Moab, was to not only enter the congregation of Israel after the tenth generation, (see Deuteronomy 23 above) but found a place in Yahweh’s plan of salvation, and as David’s great-grandmother was in the line through which the future Redeemer and King of mankind was to come. See here


The first chapter of the book of Ruth records how Naomi and her husband had left the land of Israel, the fruitful land, because of famine, which was often the means by which Yahweh punished His people because of sin. (1 Kings 8:35 and 2Chron 7 :12-16)


The worst famine is a lack of obedience to the Word, as in the days of the Judges in Israel. Elimelech and Naomi left Bethlehem. Elimelech’s name is significant in that it means “my king is God (El)”. However his family found no relief in Moab, where Elimelech and his two sons died. Ruth, Naomi's daughter-in-law, whose name signifies ‘to pasture a flock’ or ‘to nourish’ identified herself with Naomi and with the hope of Israel. When Naomi decided to return to her homeland Ruth chose to go with her.


Naomi had told her daughters-in-law to return to their families. Orpah did so, but Ruth refused, preferring to go with Naomi. Ruth no doubt had developed a strong attachment and love for Naomi, but it was a faith that Ruth had acquired in the God of Israel that motivated her. The history of the events related to Israel's entry into Palestine, the amazing escape from Egypt and such victories as that against Jericho, would be well known among the inhabitants of the surrounding nations such as Moab and Ammon. Ruth would have had a faith in a God who had done such remarkable things for the people of Israel as she clearly gives assurance to Naomi that Naomi's God would be her God and Naomi's people her people.

And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.
And she said, "Behold, your sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return you after your sister in law.
And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou die, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. (Ruth 1: 14-17)

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