The Bible makes a big deal about covenants and vows. When our promises are tested, God wants us to take the high road and show grace. He wants us to lean into His promises, making certain we do not give Satan a foothold and take serious our covenantal relationships.
Thinking about vows made me think about the covenant between Naomi and her Moabite daughter-in-law, Ruth. In the book of Ruth, chapter one, we get to hear Ruth make a solemn vow with her mother-in-law.
Ruth declared that she was completely committed to Naomi. She declared, “Your walk will be my walk.” In other words, your interests are mine. I care about what you care about. Ruth went on to say, “Your lodging will be my lodging.” She was promising to live near Naomi, to care for her and to be a part of her whole life.
Then Ruth said, “Your people will be my people.” She was choosing to be a part of Naomi’s culture. She was aligning herself with that extended Jewish family. She added, “Your God will be my God.” Ruth was turning away from the false gods of Moab and turning to Yahweh. And lastly, she made those commitments “until death.” Her vow was final, a forever covenant.
Sadly, we don’t have many real covenants in our culture today. Often commitments are circumstantial not binding. Even our marriage vows tend to be watered down and filled with fluff, it’s hard to sense any real commitment on the part of the bride and groom.
Now days, we don’t bind ourselves with a handshake, but prefer to protect ourselves with lengthy contracts that the legal eagles have written. Our word is subjective rather than our bond.
Maybe it’s time to rethink our various agreements and contracts. Maybe we should rename them, vows and covenants. Maybe that would help us take them more seriously. And maybe we ought to pay attention to the smaller, insignificant “vows” that we make every day.
We tell our kids we will pick them up at 4pm. That’s a covenant. We tell our boss the job will be done by Friday. That’s our word. We should keep it. We promised our spouse that we would care for their needs. Maybe it starts by really listening to them.
As people consider whether or not they can trust God, they often start by looking at His kids. Can they trust us? Do we keep our word? Do we honor our commitments? Do our promises matter? Do we have a good testimony at work? Is the message of our marriage positive and healthy?
This week…no more pinkie promises. Let’s keep our vows.