True Learning (6)
All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth,
To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies. Psalm 25.10
In our text, the word keep is really, in the Hebrew, guard. We guard something when we are very careful to keep an eye on it and cherish it as though it were our own. Guardrails on a highway keep us from veering off into danger on one side or the other. David tells us that when we guard the covenant and testimonies of the Lord, the way He has chosen for us will be full of mercy (or steadfast love) and truth (or faithfulness).
True learning – and genuine discipleship – will be evident in us as we faithfully guard the covenant and testimonies of the Lord.
When we are thus instructed by the Lord, His Word and Spirit work transforming grace in us, so that we both know and express the steadfast love and faithfulness of the Lord.
This is how God wants us to walk the path He has chosen for us. By preparing faithfully each day, using our conversations and acts of service as means of grace, encouraging our fellow disciples, working to reconcile others and our culture back to God, we follow the path Jesus did, because we have been sent as He was sent. All day long we continue in a learning mode, waiting on the Lord, listening for His Spirit to guide us in our chosen path, and being quick to confess our sins as He prompts us. This is the path of true learning.
This path in which true learning is expressed is protected by twin guardrails – the promises of God and His Law: His covenant and testimonies. By keeping between these guardrails, we may learn the steadfast love and faithfulness of the Lord.
Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ gladly embrace and eagerly seek to know the precious and very great promises of God which are in Him, and which draw us into participation in God (2 Pet. 1.4; 2 Cor. 1.20). The promises of God’s covenant were first articulated to Abraham (Gen. 12.1-3). Essentially, these promises are two: God promises to bless us with His Presence, favor, and provision; and He promises to use us as a means of bringing His blessings to others as well. We are blessed to be a blessing, to bring Christ and His Kingdom to the people in our path.
By seeking and laying hold of these promises, we partake of the divine being, of Christ Himself, because all the promises of God are fulfilled in our Lord Jesus Christ. The promises become powerful motivating forces in our lives as the indwelling Spirit of God enables us to realize those promises, be transformed into the image of our Lord Jesus Christ, and live as witnesses for Him. (2 Cor. 3.12-18; Acts 1.4-8). The promises of God are greater, and hold out the prospect of more transforming power, than you or I could ever imagine or dare to hope for (Eph. 3.20). By focusing on the promises of God, and living toward them in faith and obedience, we may expect to increase in steadfast love and faithfulness for every aspect of our calling from the Lord.
So, on the one hand, we follow the guardrail which has us looking to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. He is our blessing, and He will bless the people in our world with His grace and truth. We walk in the Spirit, Who is the power for our daily lives, waiting on the Lord and seeking to lay hold on the promises of God, that we might be blessed and a blessing to others (Heb. 12.1, 2; Gal. 5.16). In your time with the Lord, therefore, focus on the various ways these promises are expressed throughout the Word of God. And as you walk His path throughout your day, keep those promises in mind, as you wait on Him Who extends them to you.
The other guardrail is the Law of God, for, as we have seen, the Law teaches us everything we need to know about sin (Rom. 3.20) as well as how to love God and our neighbors (Matt. 22.34-40). Neglect the Law, and you won’t have enough love to make disciples of anyone, including yourself (Matt. 24.12).
The path that marks out the way God has chosen for us, along which we wait for Him and live out what He has taught us, is guarded by the covenant promises and gracious Law of the Lord. We keep or guard His covenant and testimonies (or Law) when we allow His Word to dwell in us richly (Col. 3.16), seek the things of Christ exalted at the Father’s right hand (Col. 3.1-3), and listen in our souls for the instruction and conviction of the Spirit (Jn. 16.8-11). We seek out treasures of learning from the Old Testament and the New, so that we might show the wisdom of God in all our dealings with others (Matt. 13.52).
Thus, all the steps of our daily walk with the Lord lead us to seek Him for His blessings, so that we might extend those blessings to others by doing the good works sketched out in the Law of God. We will know true learning as we work out our salvation in terms of the righteousness, holiness, and goodness of the Law of God, and all His Word, and as we strive to gain the promises God holds out for us in Jesus Christ.
Any believer who does not aspire to true learning is only deceiving himself about the efficacy of his Christian educational activities and the reality of his discipleship.
True learning follows the path which is marked out by God’s covenant and Law, and true learners keep to this path, guarding it humbly before the Lord.
1. Does your time in the Word of God reflect a healthy balance between the Old and New Testaments?
2. What does it mean to guard the promises and testimonies of the Lord? What are some ways you might be able to do this throughout the day?
3. The promises of God motivate our direction in life, while the testimonies of God guide our every next step. The way to the promises is through the Law. How can you see that in Israel’s experience in the Old Testament? How can you see that in Jesus (Heb. 12.1)? How should that work out in your own experience?
Next steps – Conversation: How can believers help one another to stay between these two guardrails? Encourage a fellow disciple today with the promises of God and teaching of His Law.
T. M. Moore
Know, Love, Serve
The great thing about following Jesus is the more we learn of Him, the more we love Him; and the more we love Him, the more we will serve Him in every aspect of our lives. This is the argument of our book, Know, Love, Serve. A free copy is waiting for you by clicking here.
Are you a Gospel sponge? You can be, and wouldn’t that clean a few things up nicely? Check out this month’s Personal Mission Field Workshop by clicking here.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.