In reading excerpts of the King James Bible it is apparent that the idea of covenant sanctions was a very important concept. A covenant is an agreement or promise between two people and sanctions are like consequences (e.g. when a child finishes his supper he gets dessert, when he does not he doesn’t get dessert).
Our first section of reading was in Deuteronomy, chapters 27-31. In those chapters Moses, who was a leader of God’s people the Israelites, taught about the significance of the covenantal law that God had told them to obey. It was expressed in further readings of the King James Bible that if you broke the law negative sanctions would follow.
In the book of Ruth we read about an Israelite family who moved to the condemned nation of Moab (a place looked down upon by the Law of Moses) because there was a famine in Israel. The two sons from that family married Moabite women. Then the sons and father died leaving three widows. The mother-in-law decided to move back to her homeland, Israel, and told her daughters-in-law that they should stay in Moab, their homeland. One stayed and one, Ruth, refused to leave her mother-in-law Naomi.
Naomi and Ruth set out on their journey home to Israel. By doing this Ruth was forsaking her covenant with Moab tradition and religion and was staying true to the religion of her deceased husband. She committed to following the God of Israel and made a covenant with Him.
Ruth and Naomi were very poor so in order to earn a little money Naomi sent Ruth to glean in the field of a relative. Ruth was a hard worker and obtained favor in the sight Boaz, the rich relative. Because Ruth was married to Boaz’s relative it was customary for a childless widow to marry the next closest relative to the deceased husband, so Ruth ended up marrying Boaz and they established a covenant, the covenant of marriage.
Marriage is a very strong covenant to make. When you get married it is a lifetime commitment.
“…till death do us part…”
People nowadays don’t seem take this covenant very seriously, in fact, people throughout the ages have taken this special covenant for granted.
In previous centuries, when a married couple divorced it was an extremely bad thing and that couple was looked down upon. Negative sanctions followed them. Unfortunately in today’s western world divorce has become the norm. If people are unsatisfied with their decision in getting married they get a divorce and start all over again.
In my opinion, the world wants to destroy the covenant of the family. The enemy doesn’t want lasting covenants and commitments between people.
“The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that you may have life and have it to the full.” –Jesus*
In my eyes, marriage is the earthly picture of how a relationship with God should be. If you’re like me and believe that once you are married there is no turning back and you are committed to your spouse for life then you have an idea of how a relationship with God should be. Think about it, God has said that He will never leave us nor forsakes us, He is always there waiting patiently for us to open up to Him, to give our heart and life over to Him. Husbands and wives are meant to be together and build each other up in Christ. If a husband is having a bad day and is ornery the wife should be patient and encourage her husband, pointing him back to the Lord, where his help should come from. She should not go straight to the attorney to file divorce papers.
God has given us so many second chances because He loves us and has made promises to us that He cannot break. When a person falls away from God, He waits patiently for the person to come back. God does not file a restraining order against a person because he has left Him.
Marriage is a gift from God. It is a lasting covenant just like the covenants God has made with us.
When you forsake a promise you’ve made with God, like leaving your faith in God, negative consequences will definitely follow. I’m not referring to your house burning down. I’m talking about losing the benefits that you receive when you have a relationship with God.
To conclude, breaking a covenant, contract, promise, or whatever you want to call it, is a very serious thing in the Bible. Covenants should not be taken lightly.