“Now, therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love, let not all the hardship seem little to you that has come upon us, upon our kings, our princes, our priests, our prophets, our fathers, and all your people, since the time of the kings of Assyria until this day,” (Nehemiah 9:32, English Standard Version).
“Because of all this we make a firm covenant in writing; on the sealed document are the names of our princes, our Levites, and our priests,” (Nehemiah 9:38, ESV).
“We will not neglect the house of our God,” (Nehemiah 10:39b, ESV)
Renewal of vows is the focus of Weddings for Warriors. The nonprofit organization, founded in Savannah by Becky and James Byous, seeks to celebrate military marriages that remain firm despite the challenges. Each year, hundreds of volunteers provide their services and supplies to help military couples remember the priority of their marriage.1 I have never attended a renewal of marriage vows, but I can imagine it is a meaningful and moving event. Family members publicly vowing to love and value one another is powerful.
Chapter 10 of Nehemiah reads almost like a renewal of vows. As a nation, the Jewish people looked back to previous spiritual journeys. Together, they vowed total allegiance to what God said to them through the covenant made with Moses, “to follow the Law of God … and to obey carefully all the commands, regulations, and decrees of the LORD our God.”2 The covenant was both a personal and corporate commitment that people signed, sealed, and recorded. They publicly testified to their neighbors that they were presenting themselves afresh to God. This covenant held specific and precise promises because true renewal cannot succeed on sweeping statements and vague declarations.3 This covenant got to the nitty-gritty details of marriage, money, and worship.
A renewal of vows can be lovely and meaningful, but is not necessary to renew the commitment you and your family have for God and for each other
The people of God purposed to make their commitment more than just a new desire; they purposed to show their commitment through renewed action.4 This was an opportunity to start fresh and get it right—to make changes and adjustments.
A renewal of vows can be lovely and meaningful, but is not necessary to renew the commitment you and your family have for God and for each other. In what ways do you desire to start fresh in your commitment to one another?
Consider writing and signing a family covenant. Affixing a name to an agreement can be a public declaration of intent and can serve as a means for accountability.
Prayer for the Journey
Thank you, Lord, for the hope that comes from knowing and serving you. Help my family to be committed to loving, honoring and serving you. Make our commitment to you and one another strong and sure. Amen.
If you are dealing with this issue, you do not need to face the challenge alone. Jesus has conquered every challenge so you can move from your present situation to a life of overcoming hope. Invite him to lead you in your journey. He will forgive, comfort, and heal you.
There are warriors who know what you are going through and can give you guidance. Please click one of the buttons below and allow one of them to connect with you. Your connection and correspondence with with them is completely confidential.
2 Raymond Brown, The Message of Nehemiah (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1998), 173.
3 Ralph Davis, “Ezra-Nehemiah: Part 17,” IIIM Magazine Online 3, No. 25 (June 2001), 4, http://thirdmill.org/magazine/article.asp/link/http:^^thirdmill.org^ articles^ral_davis^OT.Davis.Neh.10.html/at/Ezra-Nehemiah,%20part%2017 (accessed March 7, 2015)
4 Dahlen and Larson, Holman OT Commentary, 247.