When I was little, I had a stuttering problem, and it was bad enough for me to go to speech therapy while in school. While in general conversation it has cleared up, enough of it is still around to plague me – especially when I am nervous. When I have to speak in front of large or strange crowds, I have difficulty getting that first word out – and it is most noticeable when the word I am trying to say starts with a vowel. I just really struggle with that.
On our wedding day, there were 300 people seated to watch my lovely wife and I exchange vows. Approximately 15 were there for me and 285 were for my wife (which is why we didn’t divide the guests into groom and bride sides). Getting married anyway is a nervous matter, but doing it in front of 300 people was even worse.
As I stood on the platform listening to my Father-in-Law (he was also the pastor) go on, I started to sweat. When it was my turn to say my vows, I listened intently as he recited them for me to repeat, took a deep breath, opened my mouth and…. nothing!!! I couldn’t get the word to escape my mouth.
It was a long 10 seconds and people were starting to look nervous. Finally I squeaked out a pathetic “I do.”
Wedding vows, a time where we covenant before God that we will be faithful and true to our spouse.
In our passage today we have an interesting conversation between Ruth and her mother-in-law, Naomi where a commitment and a promise takes place.
This isn’t a wedding – that comes later, but a reflection of Ruth’s heart.
After Naomi again unsuccessfully tries to convince Ruth to stay in Moab (vs. 15) Ruth speaks. And in her speech she makes her commitment.
“And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:
Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.” Ruth 1:16-17
Doesn’t Ruth’s commitment sound like wedding vows?
She tells Naomi that wherever Naomi goes, Ruth will go, and where Naomi lives, Ruth will live, and Ruth will identify with the Jewish people and the God of Israel.
And in her vow she promises to stick with Naomi no matter what. Vs 16 contain a self-curse. “May God abandon me if I ever abandon you” is the essence of what she is promising.
And through all of this, Ruth is the answer to Naomi’s prayers – even though Naomi doesn’t realize it yet.
I wonder how we as God’s people are at keeping our promises. I realize that the NT emphasizes being a man or woman of our word without having to pinky swear on every promise, but why do you think this is the case.
Isn’t it terrible that when we make a commitment, people have to ask if we promise?
That is because we live in a society where we expect people to lie to us.
May we as believers have our ‘yes’ mean ‘yes’ and our ‘no’ mean ‘no’.
When we make a promise about anything, or a commitment let us keep it.
“But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.” James 5:12