Nehemiah 13:1 On that day the Book of Moses was read aloud in the hearing of the people and there it was found written that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever be admitted into the assembly of God, 2 because they had not met the Israelites with food and water but had hired Balaam to call a curse down on them. (Our God, however, turned the curse into a blessing.) 3 When the people heard this law, they excluded from Israel all who were of foreign descent.
The first commentary this morning comes from the easy English site.
Twelve years after the people rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem, Nehemiah returned to Persia. Some time later, he asked the king to allow him to return to Judah (Nehemiah 13:6). There, Nehemiah discovered that the people were doing many wrong things. In this chapter, we can read what Nehemiah did about these serious problems.
This seems to mean a particular day after Nehemiah returned to Judah. It seems that, until then, the people had neglected to read the law of God. But on that particular day, they heard the law. Then they knew that they had not obeyed God’s commands. God’s law said that they must never allow the Ammonite and Moabite people to join the people of God. The Ammonites and Moabites were descendants of Moab and Benammi, the sons of Lot. Moab and Benammi were born after Lot’s daughters made him sin (Genesis 19:10-38). The Ammonites and Moabites were always the enemies of the Jews. The Moabites encouraged the Jews to serve false gods at the time of Moses (Numbers 25:1-5).
So the people obeyed God and they separated themselves from all foreigners.
(God did not want the Israelites to marry people from other nations. This was because the Israelites were God’s special people. But God still cared about the people from other nations. In fact, God’s plan was to use the Israelites so that he could do good things for people from every nation (Genesis 12:3). So people from other nations could still serve the real God. For example, Ruth was from Moab, but she became an ancestor of Jesus. So God even allowed Moabites to join his special people, the Jews, if they really worshipped him. See Ruth 1:16-22; 4:13-17; Luke 3:23-32.)
This is from enduringword.com.
No Ammonite or Moabite should ever come into the assembly of God: As the people drew near to God in worship (as seen in Nehemiah 11 and 12), they became aware of God’s standards. In this case the standard stated in Deuteronomy 23:3-4, where the Ammonites and Moabites were not to be regarded as part of Israel (unless they converted to the worship of Israel’s God).
I titled this "Lot's Boys" because this issue goes all the way back Sodom. I've heard this used to exclude a lot of people for a lot of reasons.....
After the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot's wife was gone [turned to salt] and he was living in a cave with his two daughters. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was a lot like a meteor shower and an earthquake rolled into one. God uses nature in battle.... and as the story goes.... God was waging war on Sodom and Gomorrah. After running from a natural disaster of that magnitude, from the inside of that cave it must have seemed that the world was ending and they were the only ones left.
Now these are two young women who were raised in Sodom.... where they worshiped whatever god that looked good with their dress that day.... and sex had little meaning.... still procreation was a NEED.... So... these girls thought the world was about to end and they needed to start it all over again.... but the only man around was their own father! Yep Lot...... so internal clocks screaming.... they got Lot drunk and then slept with him. They both got pregnant.... and that was the beginning of the Ammonites and the Moabites.
The commentaries all remind us that Ruth, the great great greatwhatever grandmother of Jesus the Christ, was a Moabite. The commentaries are quick to explain that Ruth offered to give up everything in her culture to go with Naomi back to her home.
So why is it that the Moabites and Ammonites from Lot's sons are all supposed to stay away.... but Ruth got to stay with Naomi? On top of that.... Ruth married Boaz.... a descendant of Jacob [who God renamed Israel]..... so how?
Ruth chose..... Just like Lot's daughters chose to lay with their drunken father..... Ruth chose to walk away from all that and go with Naomi.... serving the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
I want to throw one more little thought in the mix here..... Some people don't accept God.... Some people don't accept Christ.... because they don't think they can. They've been labeled "unfit" by their fellow humans.... and they think they have to make themselves better.... or different....
If God is calling.... don't let the fear of change stop us from responding. Believing doesn't require anything else from us. All we have to do is Believe. If change is necessary after we believe.... well.... God will take care of that.
So.... all this talk about segregation..... it's not about Catholics and Protestants.... Jews and Gentiles..... it's not about where the family came from.... it's not about how many dots decorate you nose or how long your fingernails will grow.... it's about faith. I have faith in my Lord Jesus Christ..... if you have faith in my Lord Jesus Christ.... then I am your sister in Christ.
Back then they didn't have Christ.... they only had a vague promise..... but they believed in a jealous God.... He wanted their whole attention.....