Acts 25; Ruth 1-2; Psalm 47
It’s interesting that words shared in almost every Christian wedding ceremony were spoken by a widow to her widowed mother-in-law. “But Ruth replied, ‘Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.’” (Ruth 1:16-17) Those words are an amazing example of faithfulness. Ruth, a non-Israelite lady, felt commitment and loyalty to her mother-in-law even though that commitment and loyalty offered her no hope for the future. Naomi had no more sons for her to marry. Following her mother-in-law back to Israel was not a good career opportunity given the relationship between Israelites and Moabites. Yet something about the relationship between Ruth and Naomi compelled Ruth to follow Naomi. Something about Ruth’s character compelled her to stay with Naomi. It is an amazing example of loyalty and concern. We live in a time when mother-in-law jokes tend to be a staple on the comedy circuit and among friends. We continue to hear about problems between daughters-in-law and mothers-in-law. Still, some of the most touching words in most Christian wedding ceremonies remain these words from Ruth to Naomi. They set an example of commitment and loyalty that will give strength to any marriage.
Lord, we live in a time when marriages are in trouble. Divorce rates are up. Marriages are seen by many as temporary arrangements if people even bother to get married. Your word reminds us of the commitment that is needed to make marriages succeed in today’s world. I pray for each and every marriage in our world today; first that the husband and wife would commit to You and second that You would give them the strength to commit to each other.