“No Ammonite or Moabite or any of their descendants for ten generations may be admitted to the assembly of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 23:3)
Relate: I want to quote something from the end of the book of Ruth: Boaz was the father of Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David. Now I want to look at a very similar text from the beginning of Matthew: Boaz was the father of Obed (whose mother was Ruth). Obed was the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of King David. David was the father of Solomon.
Two question pop quiz:
1) What nationality was Ruth?
2) Who built the Temple?
If you answered, 1) Moabite 2) Solomon… Congratulations! You won. Give yourself a great big pat on the back. Now it’s time for a little math. How many generations are there from Ruth to Solomon? If you said 4… wow. You’re really good at this stuff. So here’s the kicker. If Deuteronomy 23:3 was followed then Solomon wouldn’t even be allowed inside the Temple that he built. Even worse, his kids, grandkids, their kids and grandkids, and their kids and grandkids all would not be allowed inside the Temple. That’s seven generations of kings of Judah not allowed inside the Temple. Anyone want to guess how many of these kings entered the Temple at one point or another? Anyone want to guess how many were barred at the gates? I’m too lazy to look it up but I would think a very educated guess would be all and none. So what is Deuteronomy 23:3 all about?
React: Some commentators would say that this law applied only to males and therefore the Ruth case is exempt. I would say to those commentators, read Ezra 10 and Nehemiah 13. You’re wrong. So who can enter the Temple. Personally, I think it would be safe to guess that a very significant percent of the Hebrew population down through time would be barred from this law alone. Throw on top of that the overabundant ways a person may be unclean, and the six hundred plus other laws they are all required to keep and a fairly accurate answer would be nobody.
I don’t deserve to be allowed into the assembly of the Lord. You don’t deserve to be allowed into the entry of the Lord. Our neighbors, our friends, our pastors, our coworkers and bosses, are all guilty. We are all barred. Only one man can enter. His name is Jesus. I’m just sneaking by riding his coattails (the hem of His garment).
God, You alone are worthy. You alone have paved the way. You alone can open the gates. I don’t deserve to come into Your presence. I have no right to stand before You on my own credit, breeding, or worth. It is only through Your imputed righteousness can I come. It is only by Your blood that I can be made clean. Thank You. Thank You. You are the way. The only way.