Pastoral Letter August 2015

‘Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart’ – Proverbs 3:3

We have been considering the book of Proverbs on some midweek evenings. Proverbs 3 begins with a series of charges from a father to a son, and each one comes with a promise attached.

I want to share with you briefly one of the things we have been looking at. ‘Mercy and Truth’ must never be far from us as followers of Christ. What does this mean? ‘Mercy and Truth’ here are a reference to God’s promises. His mercy in making them, and His truth in keeping them. So we need to make much of God’s promises, and live by them, but how? The answer is before us — we need to wear them like a necklace and write them on our hearts. Perhaps that doesn’t help to answer the question very much, so let me expand a little!

Think of the picture–language that is being used. It is pretty graphic, and that helps. We need to do three things. First, we need to glory in God’s promises. A necklace is a way of displaying something — precious metal, or stones, or perhaps something of sentimental value. So we should display God’s promises, we should speak of them, and give Him the glory for all His keeping of them in our lives. Are you displaying your jewellery?

Second, we need to meditate on God’s promises. This is touched on by both pictures. If we carry something of God’s goodness with us day by day, we will think about it. A ring on our finger leads us to reflect on what it signifies — so often, the promises made to a loved one. We need to think about God’s promises and all He has done for us, and when we pray, plead His promises, giving Him thanks for all the promises He has kept. We need to have these things written on our hearts, deep within us, so it is vital to keep on turning to God’s Word to mine out more and more promises, and to hold them in our hearts, engraved!

Thirdly, we need to act by God’s promises. Has He promised? Then we must believe, and so live. We can trust Him to deliver. Has He delivered? Then we must give Him glory, and seek His further blessing as we encourage those around us with the account of what great things He has done for our souls! May He help us in all these things.

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