The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become – C S Lewis
Anyone who has had an encounter with God will know we have nothing to bring to the table but our flawed imperfect selves. Often, we become ready to meet God once we hit rock bottom. So many of us have met Him when we felt cursed, defeated, broken, shabby, unfaithful or empty-handed and each time He has met us with acceptance and love.
Born out of incest between Lot and his daughter, Moabites were always at odds with the nation of Israel.
No Ammonite or Moabite or any of their descendants may enter the assembly of the Lord, not even in the tenth generation. 4For they did not come to meet you with bread and water on your way when you came out of Egypt, and they hired Balaam to pronounce a curse on you. 5However, the Lord your God would not listen to Balaam but turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the Lord your God loves you. 6Do not seek a treaty of friendship with them as long as you live. (Deuteronomy 23:3-6)
From Balaak the Moabite king trying to curse Israel out of fear and jealousy (Numbers 25) to the many times liaisons with Moabite women led to idolatry and downfall of Israel, history shows Moab as the cursed infiltrator who seeks the destruction of the people of God (1 Kings 11, Nehemiah 2,6). Ruth, the Moabite was part of this cursed bloodline when she married the son of Naomi and Elimelech. For ten years she remained barren and then her husband died. So far in this story, Ruth is a cursed, barren and widowed woman from Moab.
Her story changes when she made a commitment to a new identity. When Naomi asks Ruth to go back to Moab to marry and live as a Moabite, Ruth’s response to her old mother-in-law is both brave and breathtaking.
“Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you;
For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God.
Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried.
The Lord do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me.” (Ruth 1:16-17)
With no assurance of being accepted or fruitful Ruth dug her heels and clung to her Israelite mother in law, forsaking everything that she is familiar with. She was ready to step out of her history and submit to the direction of her life, to the living God.
She faithfully served Naomi expecting nothing back and then God began working for her. Ruth, the cursed woman that we see at the beginning of the story meets Boaz, who redeems her.
So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And he went in to her, and the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son. (Ruth 4:13)
Ruth, the barren woman now holds a son named Obed who became a sign of God’s benevolence towards Naomi and Ruth. Ruth, the widow was found by Boaz, a prominent Hebrew and a gentleman with good report and is now his wife. Ruth the Moabitess was wholly accepted by God so much so that she would become the great-grandmother of David and then of Christ, through the Davidic bloodline.
Every time we surrender our identity to God he will put over us the identity we have in Christ. Every time you let go of your history and cling to the future with God and his people, God begins the work of restoration in your life. Every time you give up your emptiness to Him, you will bear fruit in Christ.
Sometimes giving up your identity to God’s will can come at a cost of losing out on what was once familiar and stepping into territories that are unknown. It may cost you your community, your family, right standing in the only society you have known. Yet clinging to Him will ensure your reward is pressed down, shaken together and running over.
God bless you!