Have you ever done one of those DNA tests to find out your family lineage? I haven’t but recently some of my distant relatives recently began messing around the 23 and Me DNA test kits that you can get. You spit in a tube and mail it away and then they send you all kinds of genealogical data. And, the results can be quite a shock. For instance, a good friend of mine submitted his spit and discovered that his dad wasn’t really his biological dad. That was quite a shock (he says he wondered why his siblings looked nothing like him). So, back to my family and the 23 and Me tests. When we were talking about these DNA tests, one person had a surprising and very strong reaction: She emphatically said No! She didn’t want to know if she was not 100% German.
Discovering that someone unacceptable is in your genealogy can be disrupting. It can make you feel less “pure” (whatever that means). It’s this fear that motivated the book of Ruth. Some in Israel, during David’s reign were quite upset that David’s 23 and Me DNA results came back with a Moabite in his genealogy. That’s a problem for Jews who prided themselves in a pure genealogy. Could he be king? Should he be king?
Fast-forward to the book of Ruth.
We just wrapped up the book of Ruth Sunday and we noticed that it ends with the worst possible way to secure the readers interest – with a genealogy! Really? A genealogy? Yawn. What a letdown, I mean, what is the author thinking? It’s one thing to end with a genealogy, but quite another to have that genealogy include a Moabite in the king’s lineage!
Jews would have had super negative emotional reactions to any “Moabite” – and especially one that ends up in the genealogy of King David. (You get the sense that some during David’s rule were freaking out that he had Moabite blood in his genealogy). However, God was less concerned about genealogical purity as he was about a heart of faithfulness and love - which ironically, he saw in Ruth, the “Moabite.”
But why end the book with a genealogy? Because one of his main points was how God’s plan is to include the outsider who responds in faith it made sense to end the book with the genealogy of Ruth which leads to King David, even if (especially if) the outsider is “a Moabite.”
The book exalts the love and faithfulness of Ruth and Boaz, but that’s not really the point of the book. The point is to exalt God’s audacious kindness and compassion for any that respond to his kindness with faithfulness.
Are you representing God’s audacious compassion for outsiders in your sphere of influence?
Are you fixated on some kind of external image or purity at the expense of seeing God’s compassion?
A special note: This will be the last blog I write until August. A number of other church responsibilities are adding up and I simply need to put this on the back burner for a while. I’ll resume writing these in August!