Monday, December 7, 2009

A Gentile Named Ruth

Ruth was a Mobite. Her Israelite husband broke God’s law by marrying her when he lived in the land of Moab. Then he died, and when his mother Naomi prepared to return to Israel, Ruth must have seriously thought about staying in her homeland. She would surely face rejection and persecution in the land of her husband’s family.

But Ruth was unwilling to separate herself from God’s people. The Bible tells us she clung to Naomi. She said, For wherever you go, I will go; wherever you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. (Ruth 1:16b NKJV)

The young woman born outside of God’s kingdom decided she would chose God by identifying with His people. She journeyed to Israel with Naomi. When she demonstrated great tenderness and love for her mother-in-law, she was accepted in spite her background.

Then, in one of Scripture’s most beautiful love stories, Ruth became the wife of Boaz. Their first son, Obed, became grandfather of King David. And centuries later Jesus descended from the lineage of David.

The outcast named Ruth—the Moabite Gentile—played an important role in the ancestry of Jesus. She was a forerunner of God’s plan to include Gentiles among the people who belong to Him.

Originally published December 14, 1990.

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