God's Mission to Restore All Peoples--Part 3
Numerous texts throughout the Hebrew Bible emphasize God's mission to restore all peoples. Let us note four specific examples involving individuals.
Ruth was not an Israelite, but a Moabite. She married Mahlon, a Moabite, but he died. After a famine in the land of Judah, Ruth went to Bethlehem to live with her mother-in-law Naomi. After a while, Ruth met and married a Judean man named Boaz. Ruth became a worshipper of Yahweh. The whole story about Ruth emphasizes the conversion of Ruth. She was a foreigner, but her mother-in-law and her second husband Boaz influenced her to become a follower of the true God. Ruth made her commitment in Ruth 1:16:
"Do not press me to leave you [Naomi]
or to turn back from following you!
Where you go I will go;
Where you lodge I will lodge;
your people [the Israelites] will be my people,
and your God [Yahweh] my God."
The words of Boaz to Ruth emphasize this truth in Ruth 2:12:
"May the Lord [Yahweh] reward you for your deeds, and may you have a full reward from the Lord, the God of Israel, UNDER WHOSE WINGS YOU HAVE COME TO REFUGE."
When Moses fled from Egypt after he killed the Egyptian taskmaster to Midian near Mount Sinai, he met and married the daughter of the priest of Midian, Jethro. Her name was Zipporah. In time, they had two sons. When they returned to Egypt after the incident of the burning bush, they came to a lodging place, and the Lord tried to kill Moses because Moses had not circumcised his son Eliezer. Zipporah obviously had turned away from her Midianite gods to serve Yahweh. She swiftly circumcised the son of Moses and Zipporah, and Yahweh did not kill Moses. After the exodus from Egypt, Moses met Jethro, and he became a convert of Yahweh. Exodus 4:24-26; 18:1-10.
The Syrian commander of the army was a leper. He learned about Elisha and went to Samaria to be healed. After Yahweh healed Naaman, Naaman went to Elisha and said in
2 Kings 5:15:
"Now I know that there is no God IN ALL THE EARTH except in Israel." Naaman became a worshipper of Yahweh even after he returned to his land in Damascus.
When two Israelite spies came to the house of the Canaanite prostitute Rahab, Rahab declared that she knew that Yahweh was the only true God. After Joshua and the Israelites utterly destroyed the Canaanites at Jericho, they saved Rahab and her family. Rahab became a worshipper of Yahweh. Joshua 2; 6.
Numerous additional stories emphasize the biblical truth that God has always been on a mission on earth to bring all peoples to HIM, not just the chosen people of Israel.
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