“But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.” – Genesis 6:18
Scripture reading: Genesis 6:9-21
I’m sure those who are married have not forgotten their marriage vows. Perhaps, as a groom you made a vow like this: “I solemnly declare to take to myself and acknowledge as my wife _______. And I promise that I will, with the gracious help of God, love, honor and maintain her, live with her in the holy bonds of marriage according to God’s ordinance, and never forsake her, so long as we both shall live.” As the bride, you made a similar vow.
Why are vows necessary? Why not solemnize a marriage without vows? Well, vows are necessary because of the fall into sin. Before the fall into sin, there was no need for formally bonded relationships, because there was no uncertainty in the relationship. After the fall into sin, all sorts of uncertainty crept into relationships. And so, because of the fall into sin, we make covenants with each other. We seal these covenants with an oath in the presence of God and each other.
God Himself also makes covenants with humanity and His people. Why would it be necessary for God to make covenants with human beings? Well, this is necessary because of the fall into sin. Because of the fall into sin, there often is uncertainty in the relationship between God and us. And so, God finds it necessary to formally guarantee His commitment to us as well as His commitment to His purposes for us and His world. This is also the reason why He makes a covenant with Noah.
Suggestions for prayer
When you feel uncertainty in your relationship with your heavenly Father, ask Him to take this away by having you focus on His commitment to you, signed and sealed with your baptism, a promise that He will provide you with everything good and protect you from evil or turn it to your benefit.
Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC. He and his wife Elsina have five children and 14 grandchildren.