The Mercies of God: Ruth

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
    His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
    his mercies begin afresh each morning.

Lamentations 3:22-23 NLT

When you read genealogies, do you skip over the names? The lineage of Jesus is fascinating because Matthew departs from tradition and lists five women. In that list, 3 of the 5 were adulteresses, 3 were Gentiles, and of course, his mother, Mary, was pregnant before her marriage to Joseph.

Ruth is one of the five women listed in Jesus’ genealogy. She was a Moabitess, Gentile, a people who were Israel’s enemy. Maybe you remember the story of the Moabite king Balak. He is the one who hires Balaam to curse the Israelites but is foiled by a talking donkey. Later in the prophets, Amos, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel prophesy that Moab will be destroyed.

But God chooses to use a Moabite woman to continue the lineage promised in Genesis 3. In a famine, Naomi and Elimelech leave Judah and settle in Moab. While in Moab, both of their sons marry Moabitess women. And then, all three men die, leaving Naomi and her daughters-in-law destitute. From this story, we get the famous words used in weddings – “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.”

So where’s the mercy?

When we read, “For God so loved the world,” we are reminded that He loved even the Gentiles, the ones cast out of His assembly, the foreigner, strangers, and those who were poor, even destitute. Israelites were forbidden to marry Moabite women; they were not supposed to have any contact. But God intervenes on behalf of Ruth, invites her into the family of God, redeeming her and using her to continue His plan. Ruth and Boaz have a son, Obed, who has a son, Jesse, who has a son, David. Ruth is King David’s great-grandmother!

Ruth’s story shows us how God’s redemptive plan has always extended beyond the Jews to include all peoples! One day we will celebrate around the throne with every nation, tribe, people and language, praising God for His mercy and grace!

Prayer of Gratitude

Father, thank you for leaving the story of Ruth for us. It causes us to marvel at your mercy and grace for all people! No matter the circumstance of our birth, families, or personal sins, You still invite us to confess that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that He is Your son, the one who died for us and lives even now to intercede for us. May we tell of Your greatness and exalt Your name together! Amen.

**This story can be found in the book of Ruth!

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