Moabite rejected

(Billie Corbett) #1

“"No Ammonite or Moabite shall enter the assembly of the LORD; none of their descendants, even to the tenth generation, shall ever enter the assembly of the LORD,”

I am curious about how this scripture reconciles with Ruth, who was Moabite woman…
She was included in the people of Israel…and was in the lineage of Jesus.

(SeanO) #2

@Billie God always forgives those who genuinely repent - think about Rahab, whom God saved out of Jericho, a city given to destruction. God even forgave King Ahab, one of the most wicked kings in Israel’s history, when he repented in sackcloth. People think God’s judgment was unfair in the OT - it was not. God always, always forgives those who humble themselves and repent.

So you’ve struck gold here! You’ve recognized that these seemingly absolute statements are never enough to trump God’s mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment!

Ezekiel 33:11 - Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’

I Kings 21:27-29 - When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly.

28 Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: 29 “Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house in the days of his son.”

(Sieglinde) #3

“Mercy triumphs over judgement!” That has been the theme of the week in my reading. Thank you Lord!!!

(Billie Corbett) #4

Very true.
It still is puzzling…in it’s context.
May be Ruth was past the 10th generation.

(SeanO) #5

@Billie This article points out that King David was a descendant of Ruth and entered the assembly of the Lord and offers a few explanations:

  • Moabite by physical descent is not the same as Moabite by religion
  • the mother did not determine the nationality of the offspring

Personally I think God always forgives the repentant and that is sufficient explanation, but the article is worth a read.

Another possible way of understanding this passage is that in ancient cultures rules served relationships. We in the West tend to think of rules as absolute - a Moabite must not enter to the 10th generation. But sometimes in the OT even after God had condemned someone He would forgive them if they repented - for example, God had proclaimed judgment on Nineveh, but when they repented He relented. Or with Ahab, a wicked King, God saw His humility and waited for the next generation.

So this rule - the 10th generation - may have been trumped by a relationship that an individual established with God through their humble heart?

In contrast to the modern Western worldview, in ancient worldviews it went without saying that relationships (not rules) define reality . (161)

(Billie Corbett) #6

Thank you, SeanO.

Definitely, I am cognizant of God’s unfailing mercy, love and grace, throughout all history and particularly in the historical accounts documented in His word.

I know there is always an answer for… what appears to be a contradiction.

Over many years, God has resolved with His own Word…other challenges of what appeared to be a contradiction between sections of scripture.

For example, for many years it troubled me that Jesus said he came to fulfill the law and the prophets and then forgave the woman caught in adultery.

The Lord revealed to me the Pharisees were actually tempting him to break the law and join the “old boys club”… by inviting him to stone the woman caught in adultery. The law required both the man and and woman to be stoned. They showed their disrespect / contempt for the authority of God’s law by choosing to bring only the woman forward to be condemed. They displayed in this choice their contempt for women…and partiality toward their own gender … their love of power and control…their pride and rejection of the truth.

All to say, that I know there is a righteous, just answer for what appears to be an anomaly…

(SeanO) #7

@Billie Patience and careful study do often lead to a satisfactory resolution to such questions. Personally, I find that the mercy of God is more than sufficient to explain both of these circumstances - the woman caught in adultery and the acceptance of Ruth / David into the people of God in spite of their Moabite ethnicity. God is not a book of laws - He is a Person - and He may choose to have mercy - in contrast to the letter of the law - when He sees the status of a person’s heart. In fact, the problem with the Pharisees is that they kept the letter of the law while ignoring the heart of the law.

For me, God’s righteousness includes His willingness to forgive the repentant. That is why the following two verses are not a contradiction. If we just read the letter of the law - the literal words on the page - without context and without consideration of God’s character, it appears God always punishes to the third and fourth generation. However, such a wooden reading misses the point - wickedness has consequences for multiple generations, yes, but the Lord is gracious, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love! Of course He forgives those who repent.

Exodus 34:7 - Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.

Ezekiel 18:29-21 - “Yet you ask, ‘Why does the son not share the guilt of his father?’ Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live. 20 The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.

21 “But if a wicked person turns away from all the sins they have committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, that person will surely live; they will not die.

So in the case of the Ruth / David being Moabite or the woman caught in adultery, the same principle would apply. God’s mercy must be considered and the law not read woodenly without any consideration of the relationship between God and the individual.

(Billie Corbett) #8

Hi SeanO,

Absolutely, God will have mercy on whom He will have mercy…
He alone knows the thoughts and intents of the heart. He is merciful and forgiving, so that the children of men may have hope and He may be revered.

That being said, under the Old covenant, the command of God, to the Hebrew people was to love Him and keep his commandments. God gave the law and expected the Israelites to obey His commands. The priests, Levities, kings, the elders / heads of tribes and all the people.

For example: When the Israelites were taken into captivity in Babylon, the Lord said, the land would have it’s Sabbath rests which the Israelites had not given it.
Lev.26:34-35, 2 Chr. 36:20-2, Daniel 9:2
It is curious to me, in this case, why God fulfilled His covenant law and ordinances…when the Israelites failed to do so? He brought to bear upon the Israelites what He has previously declared in His word, in the giving of the law…what he would do if they failed to keep his commands…exile for them and He would give the land it’s Sabbath rest.

Under the law, (if it was administered appropriately has commanded)…to my knowledge, it mattered not at all if a party was repentant…There was to be no mercy shown …for false prophets, witchcraft, adultery, homosexuality, murder etc…

So, I think it is important to understand the severity of the law and the Law Giver. The interfacing of the Old and New Testaments depends of a clear understanding of Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets. God can have mercy because we are in Christ, who is our righteousness. He suffered the condemnation of the law. He suffered the demands of justice in his own flesh. “He became sin for us, so that we may become the rightheousness of God”. “The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

The law is the school master to bring us to Christ. To reveal our sin and it’s deadliness…

It is important to keep the balance…
“Mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” Psalm 83:10

In our present day and age, there is a place to understand our moral failures under the righteous standards of the law of God. We cannot truly embrace ourselves as sinners (in need of a Saviour from sin), unless we can see sin as exceedingly sinful. Conviction of sin comes through a work of the Spirit of God and the Word of God.

SeanO, I perceive in your responses to me that you are quick to focus on the mercy of God,…which is absolutely well and good. “We are saved by grace (mercy) not by works (the rightheousness of the law) lest anyone should boast.”

But, it is also very important to understand the Word of the Lord endures forever. His Word cannot be broken. To trust the absolute authority of God’s Word, everyone needs to understand His Word is Himself…His power, His authority, His character. There is no place within the Divine revelation of Himself to humankind, where God would fail to be consistent…or true to His own Word. (Past, present or future.)

“God is not a man, thet he should lie, or s son of msn, thet he should change his mind. Has he said, snd will he not do it? Or has he spoken, will he not fulfill it? “ Numbers 23:19

To remember how serious the authority of God’s Word is…look at original sin. It was a challenge to the truth and authority of God’s word.
Adam and Eve died…( and the rest of us with them) because God’s word is true. The consequences of sin still came upon them and all of us…

Though we know God is merciful…because Christ was slain before the foundations of the world. 1 Peter 1: 18-20 Ephesians 1:4

Isa.59:16 “ And when He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor; therefore his arm brought salvation, snd his righteousness, it sustained him.”

It is important to me to understand the whole counsel of God…because then it can be “a lamp to my feet and light to my path”
Psalm 119: 105

(SeanO) #9

@Billie I agree 100% we must take the Word of God seriously! And yes, often God’s punishment came swiftly on those who did evil.

I think this particular statement is wrong though:

Under the law…it mattered not at all if a party was repentant…There was no mercy to be shown…

God did show mercy in the Old Testament - even to Ahab. Remember - Ahab was an idol worshiper - a man who persecuted God’s people - a wicked King. But when Ahab repented sincerely God had mercy.

I Kings 21:27-29 - When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly.

28 Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: 29 “Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house in the days of his son.”

There was always mercy for truly repentant people. However - and this is a strong however - repentance is more than just saying ‘sorry’ or trying to avoid punishment. God only accepted repentance that was sincere and from the heart - not someone who was only sorry because of the reality of their coming judgment. It had to be a sincere appeal to God for mercy.

(Billie Corbett) #10

Thank you, Seano.

Yes, I am aware of scriptural accounts where mercy was granted when there was genuine repentence. We are on the same page really.
With the exception that I am not myself very clear in the particular aspect of where the law showed no mercy. In fact, God commanded not to show mercy.

God shows mercy, but, in the carrying out of the Mosiac law…there was generally in the practice of it, no mercy. It was obedience or consequence.
Deu. 13:18 You shall not yield to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him, nor shall you conceal him.

The Israelites were not great at practicing or keeping the Mosaic law, so, definitely…God was quite merciful in His engagement with the people of Israel, their kings and their priests.