How Ruth’s commitment can reflect the marriage vows of a man and woman

“Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me”(Ruth 1:16-17).

IDEA: The pledge that Ruth made to Naomi could fit into a modern wedding ceremony if the couple really understands it.

PURPOSE: To help listeners appreciate the meaning of a beautiful vow.

Several years ago, I was hosting a farewell party for a man who had served a Christian organization for more than four decades. As I reflected on the men and women who had served with him, I remarked, “There were giants in the land in those days.” After dinner a brother rebuked me, saying, “You believe that the context of a verse matters. That verse refers to the giants in the promised land that had to be conquered.”

Would you defend me or pile on with him?

I. Sometimes the Bible uses a passage of Scripture one way in one context and another way in a different context.

Jesus does this in Matthew 18:16 when he quotes Deuteronomy 19:15. In Deuteronomy it was applied to a law course and in Matthew it is applied to settling disputes in a church.

Paul does this in 1 Corinthians 9:9 when he quotes Deuteronomy 25:4 to prove that ministers should be paid for their work.

II. Would it be a wrong use of Scripture for a couple to use the words of Ruth 1:16-17 for their vows in a wedding today?

Ruth 1:16-17 – “Entreat me not to leave you, or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me.”

What are the differences in the situation in Ruth and the wedding vows today that you would have to consider?

III. If Ruth’s pledge followed a pattern involved in any pledge of commitment, it could be used.

Dan Block points out at least four elements of pledge in Ruth’s statement:

There is a promise to resist all pressures to break the relationship.

There is a commitment to the other person for life.

There is an abandonment of all previous allegiances.

There is awareness that God is witness to all of the promises we make.