The toils of day are over;
We raise our hymn to Thee,
And ask that free from peril
The hours of dark may be.
O Jesus, keep us in Thy sight,
And guard us through the coming night.
Be Thou our souls’ Preserver,
O God, for Thou dost know
How many are the perils
Through which we have to go.
Lord Jesus Christ, O hear our call
And guard and save us from them all.
~ Prayer of Anatolius (5th Century)
He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul~ Proverbs 19:16a (NKJV)
There is something spiritually healthy about keeping God’s commands near and dear to our heart and mind. The Word of the Lord, His Law, His principles and precepts, the wisdom of God, are all divine nourishment to the soul. They bring vitality and strength to the faithful. By keeping the commands, one keeps, nurtures and renews their very soul.
The application of this verse isn’t to be understood in a legalistic manner where we believe we obtain greater grace or spiritual position simply because we adhere to the Lord’s Word. Rather, believers should come to understand keeping God’s commands is a privilege and spiritual benefit. God’s Word is sustenance. Therefore, let us keep the command as we keep our soul.
Thy main plan, and the end of thy will
is to make Christ glorious and beloved in heaven
where he is now ascended,
where one day all the elect will behold his glory
and love and glorify him for ever.
Though here I love him but little,
may this be my portion at last.
In this world thou hast given me a beginning,
one day it will be perfected in the realm above.
Thou hast helped me to see and know Christ,
to take him, receive him,
to possess him, love him,
to bless him in my heart, mouth, life.
Let me study and stand for discipline,
and all the ways of worship,
out of love for Christ;
and to show my thankfulness;
to seek and know his will from love,
to hold it in love,
and daily to care for and keep this state of heart.
Thou hast led me to place all my nature
and happiness in oneness with Christ,
in having heart and mind centered only on him,
in being like him in communicating good to others;
This is my heaven on earth,
But I need the force, energy, impulses of thy Spirit
to carry me on the way to my Jerusalem.
Here, it is my duty,
to be as Christ in this world,
to do what he would do,
to live as he would live,
to walk in love and meekness;
then would he be known,
then would I have peace in death.
~ Valley of Vision
What does the LORD require of you but to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? ~ Micah 6:8b (NKJV)
Maybe the greatest beauty of the Christian Faith is it’s meek simplicity. It is true that you can multiply ad nauseam the theology, doctrines, practices and controversies of the church making the most simple things complicated. Over the centuries, well-meaning men have excelled in the art of making straightforward things complex. But ultimately, the question that should most intrigue the heart of the true believer is: What does God require of me?
The passage before us offers a wonderful summary of both God’s demands and desires for His people. And it is presented here in plainness and eloquence in three equally significant parts; do justly, love mercy and walk humbly. Imagine what the Christian life would look like if we but just consistently and faithfully followed these? How different would your life be?
The purpose of this short devotion is to remind the reader to keep their eye on those aspects of their faith and life that most matter to the Lord. These three requirements here in Micah essentially sum up the law to love God and love your neighbor. While engaging in the more weightier matters of our faith has its place and is important, we must begin and retain the simplicity of Christ as well, to do justly, love mercifully, and walk humbly with the Lord.