INTRO: We see here commands and promises! These verses actually sum up the Christian life.
1,2- COMMANDS (1): “Keep my commands” or “obedience” PROMISES (2): “Length of days” “Years of life,” i. e., of a life worth living “Peace,” tranquility inward and outward, the serenity of life continuing through old age until death.
Compare 1Ti 4:8 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.
This is basically what Jesus communicates in his time on earth. Lk 11:28 But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
3,4- Mercy and truth is an important pair of words in the Bible, describing God’s character (Ps. 100:5 For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.) and the demands He makes of His people. The apostle John used the Greek equivalent of these words, “grace and truth,” to describe Jesus’ character (Jn 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth)
COMMANDS (3) “live in mercy & truth” PROMISES (4) “divine favor”
RECAP: Only four verses in, 1/3 of the way, and we can say, “Obedience to God’s Word accompanied with a lifestyle exemplifying mercy and truth will produce peaceful years of life through divine favor of God.” WOW, not a promise of struggle free life, but definitely something desirable.
5,6- SOME OF MY FAVORITE VERSES! COMMIT THESE TO MEMORY!!!
I personally think this is where far too many struggles exist in Christians today! Many are faithful to attend on the Lord’s Day morning and then drift off in the world the rest of the week. Many Christians paths are not directed by God because we are not trusting with all our heart, and we’re leaning on our own understanding!
We don’t understand that producing fruit is Christianity. We see Christianity as weekly lip service, and I fear the church is turning into a withering fig tree!
COMMANDS (5) “trust in and lean on the Lord” PROMISES (6) “The Lord will direct our paths”
7,8- The Bible reflects the thought of verse 7 over and over. He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool (Proverbs 28:26) Let a man deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" (Matthew 16:24). "Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes" (Proverbs 5:21); Paul said, "Be not wise in your own conceits" (Romans 12:16).
The great hindrance to all true wisdom is the thought that we have already attained it.
“depart” most teachers will tell you that this word means avoid. Literally means to turn aside not just occasional, but totally/complete!
JDG 16:20 She said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he awoke from his sleep and said, “I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him.
God knows we are sinners. He understands that, but through Christ we’re forgiven, but when we are the sloppy son and don’t avoid or depart from a sin we know we’re committing that is what we will be punished for. NOT SPOTLESS BUT LATHERING UP! NOT SINLESS BUT WORKING ON BEING SANCTIFIED!
COMMANDS (7) “don’t trust in your own knowledge, fear the Lord, & depart from evil” PROMISES (8) “health and strength”
9,10- These verse tell us that our offerings “honor” the Lord. It isn’t a formality of worship, but honoring God and saying these possessions, substances, or capital gains are not more important to me than you. You are the giver of these and I know I will receive more buy giving you the first and best that I have!
COMMANDS (9) “give of your firstfruits” PROMISES (10) “ you will have plenty and overflowing”
11,12 “chastening” WHAT DOES THIS WORD MEAN TO YOU? This word is often thought of as punishment. It is literally defined as correction which results in education.
The discipline of the Lord is the other side of His grace. We should cherish God’s correction in our lives, because God disciplines only those He loves. HEB 12:7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
COMMANDS (11) “do not reject God’s correction” PROMISES (12) “he will be our father”
Obedience to God’s Word accompanied with a lifestyle exemplifying mercy and truth will produce peaceful years of life through divine favor of God. When we trust in and lean on the Lord he will direct our paths. As we depart from evil/sin in our lives from a holy and reverent fear of God we are given health and strength on those paths directed by God. As we walk this path with God we are to offer him our best and firstfruits from our hearts in response to love shown us from God in the full confidence and trust that we will be rewarded with plenty and overflowing blessings. When we do happen to venture this path God has directed us upon we must not reject his correction so that we will get back on that path and this correction shows us God looks at us as a child and he is our father!