Something very remarkable in the story of Ruth is her elevation from her debilitating heathen background to the redemptive lineage of Christ. To better appreciate the elevation of this Moabite from insignificance to a higher pedestal of life we have to read from Nehemiah 13:1-2.
“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 come into the assembly of God, because they had not met the children of Israel with bread and water, but hired Balaam against them to curse them. However, our God turned the curse into a blessing.”
(Nehemiah 13:1-2 NKJV).
Divine law prohibits Moabites from the assembly of God as a punishment for their maltreatment of the children of Israel and for engaging Balaam to curse the children of Israel while they journeyed in the wilderness. Despite their wickedness, we read that God turned Balaam’s curse into a blessing for Israel in the wilderness. It is important to bear in mind that Nehemiah’s narrative above occurred after the incident in the book of Ruth. The event where God reversed the curse placed on Israel by Balaam predates Ruth. The big question is, how did this reversal of a curse apply to the person of Ruth, a Moabite?
The answer, I believe, lies in Ruth’s trademark confession found in chapter 1 verses 16-17.
“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. Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me.” (Ruth 1:16-17 NKJV).
Ruth’s confession has several implications. First, it showed her doggedness. The writer of the book of Hebrews wrote this about Moses, “…for he endured as seeing him who is invisible.” Ruth, by her confession to Naomi, acted in faith as one who saw “him who is invisible.” She saw into the future. Second, she renounced her pedestal god for the supreme God of Israel. That meant, she extracted herself from the grip and curse on the Moabites and identified with the blessings of the greater God of Israel. Third, she changed her lineage from an idolatrous foundation to a righteous pedigree. Fourthly, by her confession, she renounced her debilitating past for a brighter future. Fifthly, Ruth teaches us the power of confessions. Thus, Ruth became an example of how we can be redeemed from a generational curse.
Ruth teaches us that when we identify with a lower deity it imposes on us a wrong destiny, but we can renounce the shackle of that deity for a better destiny that bestows divine blessings on us. This is what it means to be a child of a better covenant sealed with the blood of Jesus. Again, from Ruth, we learn that we can change our position in life. It all depends on us. She teaches us the power of confession. Like the scripture says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Proverbs 18:21 NKJV). What we confess affects our destiny.
She refused to be bugged and limited by the traumatic experiences of her past. We could all rise above adversity the way she triumphed over her adversities.