An Â oracle against Moab: Ar in Moab is devastated, destroyed in a night. Kir in Moab is devastated, destroyed in a night. Dibon went up to its temple to weep at its high places. Moab wails on Nebo and at Medeba. Every head is shaved; every beard is cut off. In its streets they wear Â sackcloth; on its rooftops and in its public squares everyone wails, falling down and weeping. Heshbon and Elealeh cry out; their voices are heard as far away as Jahaz. Therefore the soldiers of Moab cry out, and they tremble. My heart cries out over Moab, whose fugitives [flee] as far as Zoar, to Eglath-shelishiyah; they go up the slope of Luhith weeping; they raise a cry of destruction on the road to Horonaim. The waters of Nimrim are desolate; the grass is withered, the foliage is gone, and the vegetation has vanished. So they carry their wealth and belongings over the Â Wadi of the Willows. For their cry echoes throughout the territory of Moab. Their wailing reaches Eglaim; their wailing reaches Beer-elim. The waters of Dibon are full of blood, but I will bring on Dibon even more [than this] – a lion for those who escape from Moab, and for the survivors in the land. Isaiah 15:1-9 (HCSB)
This is one of the many oracles against the nations that surrounded Judah. Their residents were cousins of one another and of Judah, but each also had taken advantage of Judah after they stumbled. Moab had been jealous of Judah’s position in the region, as Judah appeared to have the Lord’s protection while Moab evidently did not. Their jealousy led to conspiracies to drag Judah even further down. They understood why Judah was under the Lord’s blessings. They themselves were well aware of the Lord and His covenant teachings, but they failed to enter the covenant. They preferred to trust in other gods and their own alliances for their protection.
The story of Ruth in the Old Testament is clear about her Moabite heritage, but she became exposed to the Lord’s blessings through the testimony of Naomi, her mother-in-law. In the face of tragedy Ruth sought Naomi’s advice to receive the Lord’s covenantal care, and she discovered her righteous husband: Boaz, a prominent landowner of Judah. Their child, Obed, became the grandfather of David, the king of Israel.
Ruth’s story of redemption serves as encouragement for all who desire to enter the the Lord’s covenant care. However, God blessings do not fall upon someone just because you confess to know the Lord. Each of us must submit to a genuine life-altering relationship with the Lord to realize his care and redeeming love. Just as Ruth’s story testifies of the Lord’s protection and provision, we too can experience God’s care in our life; one lived under the light of God’s will, ways, and wisdom. A life that recognizes that we cannot claim to be right, but are made right by God’s loving kindness. A life that declares that you cannot claim the benefits or blessings of the Lord without being in a right relationship with the Lord.
The warning in the passage from Isaiah is this: Don’t stand on the outside looking in wondering how to become like those on the inside experiencing God’s blessings. Knowing what it takes, desiring it, and likewise, dreaming about it does not make it so. If that is all you are doing, you will grow frustrated and find yourself jealous that you are not able to embrace the same blessings. You will succumb to bad-mouthing Christians, pointing out their mistakes to justify your status as an outsider, living a life absent of God’s fellowship. The Moabites did exactly that and faced God’s judgment for their self-serving actions and attitudes.
What about you? Are you just an interested, jealous onlooker or an active all-in participant? Both know what is right, but only one chooses right.