ENDURING BLESSING Interactions between Israelites and Moabites illustrate that earned blessing will endure and be fulfilled at God’s choosing irrespective of other events that may occur in its path. Moabites incurred God’s anger by showing themselves to be a source of temptation to alternative worship and presenting enmity when prior relationships called on them to be friendly. God frowned on their behavior and prohibited Israelites from intermingling with them. Yet he granted them protected territory and selected Moabite daughter Ruth to become a grandmother along the lineage of the Messiah, which fulfills blessing that the ancestral father of the Moabites earned by following Abraham on a mission to establish homeland for Christ’s ancestry.
We continue our study series on Ruth by looking back at interactions between Moabites and Israelites prior to her time. The interactions illustrate that earned blessing will endure and be fulfilled at God’s choosing irrespective of other events that may occur in its path. Moabites incurred God’s anger at various times. They were a source of temptation because they worshiped other gods and lured their friends into their form of worship. Furthermore, they failed to honor friendship that they owed to Israelites on account of relationships between their ancestors. Instead, they sought war against Israelites: invoking a diviner to weaken them with a curse or taking up arms against them when they could. Despite all these, God granted Moabites a protected territory and, several generations later, chose a Moabite daughter Ruth to become grandmother along the lineage of Christ.
These interactions help our understanding that earned blessing and incurred punishment are parallel promises from God that may coexist for a person and be fulfilled separately at God’s choosing. Furthermore, they do not off-set or trade off against each other.
FAITHFUL FOLLOWER AND COMPASSIONATE HOST Lot assisted Abraham on a mission to establish homeland for Christ’s ancestry and earned a stake in God’s promise that “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Several generation’s later, his descendant Ruth married Abraham’s descendant Boaz and both became grandparents in the lineage of Christ. Lot performed an act of righteousness by providing food, shelter, and protection in Sodom to angels that he thought were ordinary strangers. His compassion to the “strangers” positioned him to benefit from Abraham’s intercession, whereby God promised to not sweep the righteous away with other inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah. God saved Lot on account of Abraham as he destroyed the twin city.
We continue our study series on Ruth by looking back in her ancestry to understand interactions between Lot and Abraham in relation to God calling Abraham (then Abram) to a special mission and Lot’s interactions with his community prior to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. We are interested in Lot because he was father of the Moabites and therefore progenitor of Ruth’s lineage.
FAITHFUL FOLLOWER Lot assisted Abraham on his mission to Canaan and worked with him until their peaceful separation: “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you” [Genesis 12:1]. As we discuss in a previous bible study (Leading or Following: Right Heart for Strategic Alliance), Christ taught several generations later that God rewards faithful followers: people that assist in his mission and contribute to its fulfillment. Therefore, by following and working with Abraham on a mission to establish a home for Christ’s ancestry, Lot placed himself in position to partake in God’s promise to Abraham that “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” [Genesis 12:3].
INTERCESSION God revealed himself in human form to Abraham, told him about his judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah, and promised to offer the people one more opportunity to repent: “I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know” [Genesis 18:21]. Abraham interceded on behalf of the people and God promised to save the city if enough people showed themselves righteous. Lot was saved on account of Abraham’s intercession because he showed compassion to angels that he thought were ordinary strangers. However, other inhabitants of Sodom did not take advantage as they confirmed themselves wicked by seeking to attack and molest the “strangers.”
COMPASSION Lot’s compassion to the two strangers endeared him to God and contributed to he and his daughters being saved as God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. God offered a final opportunity for repentance to the people through two angels that visited them in human form. Lot saw the two strangers in the evening, offered them shelter and food, and stood his ground to protect them as Sodomites descended on his house from every direction to attack and molest the strangers: “But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof” [Genesis 19:8]. God saved Lot and his family when he destroyed the city with all inhabitants.