Genesis 19 reveals the bawdy beginnings of the nation of Moab, “the daughters of Lot became pregnant by their father. The firstborn bore a son and called his name Moab. He is the father of the Moabites to this day” (Genesis 19:36-37). The Moabites became an enemy of Israel and to bring God’s curse against Israel (Numbers 22:6), but instead were themselves cursed by God, “No Moabite may enter the assembly of the Lord. Even to the tenth generation, none of them may enter the assembly of the Lord forever, …because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you” (Deuteronomy 23:3-4). Yet, God delights in redemption and, thus, the story of Ruth is in God’s Word. Ruth is a Moabite. And Ruth is faithful to God and displays her faithfulness in her most memorable words to her mother-in-law, Naomi, “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). People follow God when they find someone who follows God. Be that someone.
Central to this story is a person called a kinsman-redeemer. In ancient Israel, the brother of a man who dies childless would marry the widow left behind and father a son to carry on the dead man’s name and care for his family (Deuteronomy 25:5-9). The kinsman-redeemer in our story, however, refused to fulfill his role, because he did not want to put his own inheritance at risk. He wanted to keep it for himself and the children who would take his name, not his brother’s. His name was important to him.
There is a list of names found in Matthew 1, a record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. “The List” chronicles the family tree of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus. From the book of Ruth are five people whose names are included in “The List,” Ruth, Boaz, Obed, Jesse, and David. One guy, however, did not make “The List.” The would-be kinsman-redeemer chose, rather, to cling to his wealth, and thus his wealth consumed him. We do not even learn his name.
Our God, You are All in All. Your Name, “I Am That I Am,” proclaims who You are. You are Creator, the First and the Last. Simply put, there is nothing more important, more valuable than knowing You. You are most worthy of my attention and praise.
God, my desire is to stay focused on You, to hold loosely all things except You, to seek first Your Kingdom and Your righteousness, to leave my name in Your hands and to hold onto Your Name.