The Paths of Mercy and Truth
"All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant." Psa.25: 10
It is an extremely sweet doctrine to be assured that every step of the consecrated life is under the control of our loving Father in heaven. At all times it is comforting to be reminded that "All things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to His purpose," (Rom.8: 28) but it is especially helpful to have this assurance repeated frequently in seasons of trial and difficulty. Most of the children of God are such leaking vessels, that the sweetness of the morning's promise is apt to be forgotten before tired eyelids close for the night's repose. And for that reason every consecrated child of God needs the frequent reminder that every phase of his life is under the supervision of an Eye that never sleeps; that all the way he is kept in the hollow of a Hand that never grows weary. It is not that we want to forget that sublime fact—it is not that we find any pleasure in the slips of memory which afflict over the years.
But because the summers and winters steal by with increasing speed (or so it seems) and because modern life is so full of responsibilities of so many kinds, the things that belong to the higher life seem at times to be crowded into a very small corner of our day, even if they are not fully crowded out for a time. But no true child of the Father in heaven, is ever averse to being reminded again and again of that loving Father's Care. He will find it soothing to his heart, after a worrying day, to be told again that he is one of the sheep of His pasture; that the Lord is his Shepherd and that whether his pathway lies through the green pastures or the valley of shadows, the Lord is with him to keep and protect him all the way. When, during the day, the tender spirit of the New Creature has been wounded by the instability or harshness of some poor son of Adam, how good it is to be told of a Friend who stands closer than any Brother, to whisper a word of comfort to our aching heart. It is the perfect end to any day to be able to listen to the gentle assurance of tongue or pen that no act or word need have cost us our Father's smile. Not that the day's page would not show blot or smudge (for indeed, no day is entirely free from short‑coming or failure) but because by the grace of God, so many of His paths are paths of mercy. Long ago, the Father of Mercies made provision for our need. He sent down from heaven a Saviour, who, by His death, can save His people from their sins. Himself without sin, yet in His compassionate love for men, became Himself the bearer of their sins. He gave Himself, the "just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God (1 Pet.3:18.) He reconciled us by His death; He now lives to save us by His living, loving care (Rom.5: 10.) The path of mercy, from our first feeble Christian days, till now, is hedged about by His precious blood. It is a scarlet trail, for precious blood made possible our first faltering step in Grace, and precious blood has made safe our every further step.
From those first feeble feelings after God, when escaping from the darkness of sin, till now we know our God (and also are known of Him) the blood upon the lintel has been the constant pledge of our security and safety. No day has passed but that we have drawn upon the store of compassionate mercy—yet our constant claims have not impoverished the store, nor exhausted its supply. New every morning, and fresh with each evening's shades have been these resources of grace, for that precious blood was of compensating worth for every man, and for all time, and so, because Divine Law was satisfied, Divine Grace has been free to come to our relief, abundantly—yea, more than that, we have received superabundantly of His Grace. Thus, many paths in our lives which the Lord has directed have had their commencement in His Mercy, while all along the way, the shady bowers and quiet resting places have been fragrant with His Grace. Let us thank our Gracious God for His Goodness.
But along with Grace He gave us knowledge; along with mercy He gave us truth! "The paths of the Lord are mercy and truth." First those simple elementary truths which told us of our need for a Saviour to free us from our sins, and to release us from Father Adam's condemnation. The truth about God's own love was wonderful—it cost Him His dear Son. The greatness of His Gift was the measure of His Love. That truth was sweet to our famished hearts. It was the first satisfying Truth we had ever learned. No collegiate course ever imparted Truth so satisfying and refreshing. Nor has any instruction from any other source in later days, brought such abiding joy. To the end of our earthly days, nay, let us say for all eternity, the remembrance of that blessed fact that God loved the world so much that He gave His Son to die, will never lose its soul‑reviving power.
But Redeeming love was but the prelude to Paternal Love. We learned another transcendent Truth that He who redeemed us at such infinite cost desired to have us as His sons and daughters. He called us to follow in the footsteps of His First‑born Son, that we might enter the innermost circle of His family, and be the Father's eternal delight. Our Gracious God caused His beloved Son to become unto us a channel of Wisdom, Justification, Sanctification, and ultimate Redemption. And in order that all these steps of Grace might be realized in us, and experienced by us, He gave us Truth accordant with each step. He taught us not only to learn the Truth, but also how to profit by that Truth. Knowledge thus acquired, then rightly applied, became in us "Wisdom." Knowledge that the Victim died for sin (and that means, among other things, for my sin; for our sins) led us humbly to seek our acquittal at God's hands, so that henceforth there should be no condemnation laid to our charge.
Knowledge that God desired the submission of our lives, so that we should no longer serve sin, but live solely unto Him, brought us to the point where He could invest us with His Holiness, and set us apart to His Will and Purpose. What a wonderful School God keeps! What an excellent syllabus He has arranged! How incomparable is the education He provides! He educates His pupils for Eternity; for Omniscience! He trains them for Kingship for the highest Throne! He dedicates them for a Priesthood—to succour untold millions "who are out of the way!" He moulds them to be replicas of Himself, to be channels of His Great Love, of Infinite Mercy and, tender Compassion.
This is all so wonderful, but—(is there a "but" in this overflow of grace?), yes indeed,—this glorious accomplishment is contingent upon the keeping of "His covenant and testimonies."
God requires as the condition of His oversight in our lives, first, a covenant of sacrifice—a vow intelligently and solemnly sworn—and then obedience to His Sovereign Will throughout our days. Disobedience would dam the refreshing streams of mercy and grace. Frowardness and headiness would blight the fruitage of His Truth. His word would cease to satisfy, and soul hunger, such as no plenty on earth could gratify, would set in. But if His children keep His Covenant, and observe His testimonies, then "neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature" can interfere or block one single path of the Lord's mercy and truth in their lives.
Do we know that this is true? Then happy indeed are we!