Isaiah 16-17

Feb 13, 2024    Pastor Daryl Zachman

“Let the outcasts of Moab stay with you. Be a hiding place to them from the destroyer. For the extortioner has come to an end; destruction has ceased. Oppressors have completely disappeared from the land.” (Isaiah 16:4, NASB)

Devastation was about to come upon Moab. Because of her pride God would judge her with the sword of the Assyrians. Moab was located east of the Jordan River and the Dead Sea in the area of modern Jordan. It is thought that Isaiah wrote this in 704 BC, three years before the Assyrian invasion.

Now the history between Israel and Moab had not been good. Moab was one of two sons born to Lot by his daughters after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:30-38). When the children of Israel came out of Egypt, the Moabites refused to let them pass through the land, and they would not sell them bread and water. Furthermore, they hired Balaam to curse the people. Therefore, Moses said:

“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.” (Deuteronomy 23:3, NKJV)

But there had been a notable exception to this rule. Ruth was a Moabitess who married a Jew from Bethlehem when he moved to Moab with his family during a famine. Ruth’s husband died, but she refused to leave the side of Naomi, her mother-in-law. When the famine was over, they returned to Bethlehem, and Ruth made the LORD her God. She married Boaz, and they gave birth to Obed, who was the grandfather of David. Ruth had entered the assembly of the LORD.

Now apparently, during the Assyrian invasion of Moab, there would be Moabitess women who would flee to Jerusalem seeking refuge. So Isaiah said to the people of Jerusalem, “Let the outcasts of Moab stay with you. Be a hiding place to them from the destroyer.” It was time to allow these refugees to enter the assembly of the LORD.

I believe this has much to say to us about grace and forgiveness. There may be people who are estranged from us because of offenses. But hearts can change, and we should always keep a tender and hopeful heart that those who have been enemies may turn and seek refuge in the Lord. We should also be willing to receive them for Christ’s sake.

Are there any Moabites in your life whom God is calling you to receive in the name of Christ?