Ruth- The Outcast    Ruth 1:16                                                                          

Where you taught the story of Ruth as a story of widowed daughter in law who showed unbelievable love and faithfulness to her destitute heartbroken widowed mother in law? That part of the story is accurate in that Ruth said to her mother in law, Naomi, “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. Ruth 1:16

Yet there is more to this story of God’s love and providence. Ruth was from Moab, a Moabitess, whose god was Chemosh who needed to be appeased by child sacrifices. Ruth meets Mahlon, son of Naomi from Bethlehem rejects Chemosh and turns to Jehovah. Then, viewed as a traitor and an outcast by her people her husband dies. Ruth chooses to leave her homeland, her family, to be with Naomi and her God. She was going to Israel where she would be viewed with suspicion and perhaps ridicule and rejection because she was a Moabitess. Her decision was made. She would return with Naomi who needed her and she would be faithful to her God, Jehovah. And God had a plan.

Question of the week: What did it mean to be a Moabite?

Answer: Moabites were descendants of Moab the son of Lot, Genesis 19:30-38. The land of Moab lay east and southeast of the Dead Sea. On the approach of Israel from Egypt, the Moabites acted with great inhumanity, Numbers 22:1-24:25 De 2:8-9; and though God spared them from conquest, he excluded them and their seed even to the tenth generation form the peculiar privileges of his people, De 23:3-6. They were gross idolaters, worshipping Chemosh and Baalpeor with obscene rites, Numbers 25:1-18 2 Kings3:27. At times, as in the days of Ruth, there was peace between them and Israel; but a state of hostility was far more common.