Summary: Ruth’s pledge to Naomi has such a powerful effect on us that many include her words in their weddings and on jewelry. God also regards her commitment as the basis of true love.
A college man walked into a photography studio with a framed picture of his girlfriend. He wanted the picture duplicated. This involved removing it from the frame. In doing this, the studio owner noticed the inscription on the back of the photograph:
“My dearest Tom, I love you with all my heart. I love you more and more each day. I will love you forever and ever. I am yours for all eternity.”
It was signed "Helen,” and it contained a P.S.: “If we ever break up, I want this picture back.”
APPLY: How many of you think she was NOT totally committed to that relationship?
Real commitment is a highly prized commodity and those who have experienced it know how gratifying it can be to receive such loyalty.
God also loves commitment. That’s why He included Ruth’s statement in your Bible. In these two short verses Ruth tells her mother-in-law:
· I’ll never leave you
· I won’t turn away from you
· I’ll go where you go, I’ll stay where you stay
· AND where you die – that’s where I’ll die
That’s the kind of commitment God admires - unqualified commitment.
I. Unqualified commitment… that’s what God had in mind when He created marriage.
I’ve heard of people using these verses from Ruth in their weddings vows. Those in love have had it engraved on their jewelry to communicate their undying devotion to another. People recognize the value of commitment in marriage. And so does God.
Jesus said: “… what God has joined together, let man not separate.” Mk 10:9
In Malachi 2:16 God showed how much total commitment in marriage meant to Him by declaring “I hate divorce.”
WHY? Why is such loyalty important to God between husbands and wives?
First, because God regards marriage as His creation (not man’s).
When Pharisees challenged Jesus if divorce was permissible He replied:
"Haven’t you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one…" Matthew 19:4-6
He goes on to say: “…Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." (Mt. 19:6)
Marriage was God’s idea
Secondly, God prizes undying devotion in marriage because He desires couples to have Godly children. In Malachi 2 God says this:
"Has not [the LORD] made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking GODLY OFFSPRING." Malachi 2:15
When Paul was talking to Christians who were married to non-Christians he wrote:
“… If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise YOUR CHILDREN WOULD BE UNCLEAN, but as it is, they are holy.” (I Cor. 7:12-14)
I can’t explain it, I don’t fully understand it, but this is one of the main reasons God hates divorce and prizes total commitment in marriage.
In addition, God used marriage as a model of His relationship with His people. Describing His love for Israel, God used a description of the marriages of the day:
"’… when I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment over you... I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you,’ declares the Sovereign LORD, ’and you became mine.’" Ezekiel 16:8
Then in the New Testament, Jesus used the imagery of Himself as the groom & His church as the bride: “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son.” Matt. 22:2
THUS, because Jesus is our husband we have this powerful promise: "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13:5
That promise is almost an echo of the words Ruth used with Naomi.
II. What kind of commitment is necessary for a strong marriage?
1st – commitment to God. Ruth said: “Your God shall be my God”
There is an interesting piece of romantic thinking that believes… if I find the right one, the one I really am attracted to, the one who pushes my buttons and pulls all my levers it doesn’t matter...
1. what they believe or
2. whether they are a Christian or
3. whether they go to church or
4. if they even love God
ALL THAT MATTERS is the chemistry that exists between us. We’ll work the "church thing" out later. After all, why should this “religious issue” get in the way of true love?