"The Lord bless thee|
and keep thee...."
- Numbers 6:24
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What Doth the Lord Require of Thee?
...and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with thy God?
Some of the greatest blessings to be derived from studying the Bible are not only to be able to learn about the life and ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ (vital to our faith), but as well, to know of the tender regard the apostles had for the flock who would follow after they themselves were gone. Letters such as First and Second Peter, 1 John and others provide essential information and reveal a deep concern that the Lord's followers would be able to overcome the trials that awaited them, even from within the church. Adulteration of "truth" already plagued the early church. Paul himself expressed almost frustrated disapproval for the tactics of "chiefest apostles" who might lead the Lord's flock away from "the simplicity that is in Christ" (2 Corinthians 11:3); those that "preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached" (2 Corinthians 11:4). Such concerns effected Christ's followers then, and would continue to do so throughout all generations until the end.
While great theological minds may debate the fundamental principals of Christianity, and from group to group doctrines and definitions vary so greatly that it can cause extreme confusion (if not intellectual exhaustion!), one simple fact remains absolutely clear - that the real nature of true religion is one that promotes moral qualities which reflect the spirit of Christ. The Old Testament prophet Micah identified those required qualities as simply being, "to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God." (Micah 6:8)
Christ Jesus provided a living example for us to follow in this regard. His life was one of justice without prejudice. He taught about mercy and love towards all people. Christ's focus was on God's kingdom, not the distractions or politics of the world around Him, and He humbled himself to the will of His Father and died for the sake of all mankind.
In the early church, Christ's true followers lived simply, taught the principles of peace, brotherly love and salvation through Christ, and became living examples of their faith by following their Lord closely and relying on His spiritual presence. The Scriptures provide us with that record and give principal guidance for us to do the same. John wrote that our love must be something "active and genuine" - "in deed and in truth" not just words or empty talk (1John 3:18, KJV/NJB). George Fox clearly understood that when he wrote; " The Light with which Christ has enlightened you is that which makes manifest all that is contrary to it."
Today, true followers of Jesus endeavor themselves to imitate Him closely and await enlightenment from the Lord so that the spirit of Christ might be manifest in all matters and aspects of their lives. Christ Himself actively shepherds his flock and personally provides guidance to all who earnestly seek him. Only by faithfully relying on Christ Jesus, is it possible to avoid stumbling into the snares of modern day "chiefest apostles" who pervert Christ's message.
May we ever endeavor, through Christ Jesus, to walk peacefully and humbly with our God as our Lord requires, remembering that "the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever". (1 John 2:17).
Dona nobis pacem