The Moabite Curse

It’s funny that as many times as I’ve read the book of Ruth over the years, it was only recently that I realized it held the answer to another question I had about the Scripture.

An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter the assembly of the LORD; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the LORD forever,

because they did not meet you with bread and water on the road when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you.

Nevertheless the LORD your God would not listen to Balaam, but the LORD your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the LORD your God loves you.

You shall not seek their peace nor their prosperity all your days forever.

-Deuteronomy 23:3-6 NKJV (emphasis mine)

So, at first glance, that seems pretty harsh. Just because the Moabites at one time opposed the people of the Lord, now none of their descendants can come to God?

But then you have the exception of Ruth. She was a Moabitess who married an Israelite refugee named Mahlon. But Mahlon died, and Ruth chose to return with her mother-in-law to Israel. There she met and married an Israelite named Boaz, and became the great-grandmother of King David.

That makes David one-eighth a son of Moab, and David went into the assembly of the Lord (along with his father and grandfather, I daresay). We have an exception to that no-Moabites-allowed rule.

But God doesn’t just make random exceptions, does He? I mean, what made Ruth such a good person that God could overlook the lineage she passed on to her sons?

(I suppose some could say that the curse couldn’t pass through a Moabite woman, only through a man. But, taking the whole Old Testament into consideration, that reasoning didn’t hold up well enough to satisfy me.) 🙂

So I kept pondering over it, trying to reconcile it in my mind. Until the answer hit me between the eyes, as is often the case.

Ruth rejected her lineage.

When her Israelite mother-in-law tried to convince her to stay in Moab, Ruth would have none of it.

But Ruth said:

“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.

-Ruth 1:16 NKJV

Ruth rejected the gods of her homeland and chose to follow the Hebrews’ God. She refused to identify with the people she’d been born to and instead chose to identify with the people who worshiped God.

Ruth never lost her Moabite DNA. But she chose in her heart to follow God, she gave voice to that resolution, and she changed her life to live as a Hebrew.

Her choice gave her a whole new heritage.

Doesn’t this sound exactly like Jesus’ offer in the New Testament?

We humans are born into Adam’s sin, bent toward corruption from the moment we have the mental power to choose.

Jesus offers us life free from sin and its wages. All we have to do is reject the world and choose Him, with our hearts, with our words, and with our lifestyles.

Ultimately, God is not concerned with what we call bloodlines. He’s concerned with our hearts. Anyone from any heritage on this planet can accept Jesus’ gift and join the family He calls the Church—a vast family that stretches around the globe and across the ages.

It starts with a simple choice.

The more I look, the more I am persuaded that the God of the Old Testament is no different from the God of New Testament. The interface may look different, but His operating system has always been the same.

-Miss Darcy

P.S. In Jeremiah, God spends all of Chapter 48 describing how He will judge and destroy Moab because of their idolatry. But in the final verse, He says, “Yet I will bring back the captives of Moab in the latter days.” Something He also promises to Elam and Ammon. Interesting, is it not?

Come Out From Among Them

Last Sunday, my church showed God’s Not Dead 2. I enjoyed it; I found it encouraging; and I found it decidedly challenging.

So the next day, I was nosing around on the Internet to see if they planned a third movie. And I ran across an article that basically bashed God’s Not Dead 2. Now I suppose from a critical standpoint, a person could find all kinds of things to complain about. But one complaint in their article stood out to me.

They said the movie was only for evangelical Christians. That by all other standards it was a flop.

These (unashamedly biased) reviewers went on to say that evangelical Christians are always drowning in the big pool of modern entertainment and modern education. So we go out and make our own movie companies, our own publishing companies, our own colleges to serve this little clique of evangelical Christians.

They said it like it’s a bad thing.

But what does God say?

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?

And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?

-2 Corinthians 6:14-15 (NKJV)

This verse is often quoted in regard to marriage, and it certainly applies there. But the context doesn’t mention marriage at all. It’s simply about keeping away from the world.

What fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? None whatsoever. They’re opposites by definition.

What communion has light with darkness? None at all. They don’t meld. They compete. Go flip a light switch in a dark room and watch.

What accord has Christ with Belial? Not the slightest. They are always at war.

So what part has a believer with an unbeliever? Fundamentally, nothing.

And before you write me off as saying we should never speak to a non-Christian, that is not what I’m saying. I’m saying our closest friends ought not be unbelievers. The ones we look to for approval ought not be unbelievers. The ones we measure ourselves by ought not be unbelievers.

Because a Christian is redeemed by the Lord Jesus and belongs to Him. We recognize that He has a right to command us, and we follow Him. We know that this life ultimately will end and only what lasts for eternity really matters.

That flies straight into the headwind of this world’s ideals.

So though I may have many things in common with an unbeliever; I may genuinely respect him; I may enjoy his company once in a while; when it comes to our foundations, we are fundamentally different.

And I cannot, I dare not, compromise.

I’m a writer, and the writing industry is full of do‘s and don’t‘s, requirements for this, and guidelines for that. Many of them are extremely useful. But when it comes down to the root of the matter, my writing must please God. If it dishonors Him or displeases Him, then I have failed, no matter how well it sells. On the flip side, if it barely sells at all but I have satisfied my Lord, then I have succeeded where it really counts.

It’s okay for Christians to hold to their own standards, perfectly independent of the world. Because the Christian worldview is fundamentally separate from any other worldview.

Therefore

“Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.”
“I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the LORD Almighty.”

-2 Corinthians 6: 17-18 (NKJV)

On a fundamental level, God’s Not Dead 2 is a film primarily targeted at Christian viewers. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

God calls us to be totally separate from the world.

It seems to me that applies especially in our choices of entertainment.

-Miss Darcy

Choosing Your Enemies for Masters

Right at the end of the book of Deuteronomy, Moses delivers a final sermon from the Lord. He asks Israel who they will serve. Who will they choose for their master? He warns that whatever path they take will bring its unique repercussions.

Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom the LORD will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in need of everything; and He will put a yoke of iron on your neck until He has destroyed you. 

-Deuteronomy 28:47-48

The Lord has brought us from darkness to light.

“He has delivered  us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the son of His love,” (Colossians 1:13)

“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

He has delivered us from sin’s consequences, and its power.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” (Romans 5:8-9)

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2)

He has made us his children and heirs.

“And if  you are Christ’s, then you are…heirs according to the promise.” (Galations 3:29)

“And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba, Father!’ Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” (Galations 4:6-7)

Besides all this, He gives us peace, joy, hope, comfort, strength, and a host of other blessings that I don’t have room nor time to reference. 

Why wouldn’t we choose to serve Him?

But somehow or other, I find myself unwilling from time to time to obey my Creator who did everything for me.

So He lets me serve my enemies. Not people, but the world, sin, Satan, and my flesh.

What exhausting taskmasters these four are! You serve and slave, but still they demand more–more sin, more worldly satisfaction, more fleshly pleasure–without rest.  Contrast this with the One who bids us “cast all our care upon Him, for He cares for us.” (paraphrased from 1 Peter 5:7)

If I insist on serving my enemies, I will be weak and weary, “in need of everything.”

I will hunger, unsatisfied, for the Word of Life.

I will thirst, desperate, for the Living Water.

My taskmasters will strip from me my robe of righteousness.

And I will cry out for rest, peace, and relief from the yoke of the masters I chose instead of Christ.

Strange, the way I find it difficult to remember this before I tell the LORD, “No, I don’t think I want to do what You asked of me. Not this time.”

The LORD certainly doesn’t desire us to choose our enemies for masters. He warns us what they’ll do to us. He says:

“I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days;” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)

Why would we not cling to our Life?

When I find myself serving my enemies, I don’t have to throw off the yoke by myself. I can’t anyway. All I must do is beg my Lord’s forgiveness, and He gives it. He calls me back to His service, and then I may try again to do what He asks. He is a gracious Master.

-Miss Darcy