Putting God's Word into Practice…

Notes from Nehemiah (Chapter 13:1-3)

on December 22, 2014

Strap on your seatbelt and welcome to the roller coaster of my mind!

On that day they read from the Book of Moses in the hearing of the people.  And in it was found written that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever enter the assembly of God, for they did not meet the people of Israel with bread and water, but hired Balaam against them to curse them–YET OUR GOD TURNED THE CURSE INTO A BLESSING. (vs. 1-2)

My first thought was, “Wait a minute!  There is a Moabitess in the family line of Jesus! How can that be if He is so opposed to the Moabites?”  Step one:  look up a biblical timeline.

The passage they were reading from was Deuteronomy 23:3-6 which was written around 1406 B.C.–nearly 400 years prior to the reading of it in Nehemiah’s day.  Sandwiched between those 400 years–around 1140 B.C.–there was a famine in Bethlehem in the land of Judah and a man named Elimelech took his wife, Naomi, and sons to Moab to find bread.  The sons married Moabite women.  Elimelech and his sons died, and one Moabite daughter-in-law, Ruth, returned to Bethlehem with Naomi.  One thing led to another and Ruth remarried to a man from Bethlehem named Boaz.  They became the great-grandparents of King David and twenty-eight generations later Jesus was born in Bethlehem into their family line. (Matthew 1:5-6, 17)

When Elimelech went to Moab in a time of famine, God knew exactly what He was doing.  It was God’s plan to add a Moabitess into the lineage of our Savior.  It wasn’t Plan B to compensate for Elimelech’s lack of faith.  God is sovereign.

Is it contradictory for God to command “no Moabites” and then bring one into the lineage of His Son, Jesus?  No!  It’s called Redemptive History!  When Ruth said to Naomi, “Your God will be my God,” she was woven into God’s family BY FAITH!

Just like God turned Balaam’s curse into a blessing, He took the curse on Ruth’s life and turned it into a blessing to foreshadow Jesus removing our curse–taking it on Himself– and blessing us with salvation.

All of this has led me to realize anew that Christmas was well-planned by a perfect God orchestrating the times and places of all people to fulfill His purposes in spite of disobedience, rebelliousness and sin and because of our disobedience, rebelliousness and sin.  It’s really quite amazing!

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