“What does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8
Recently, while out for Chinese food with friends, I noticed a man walking his dog past the restaurant. Normally I wouldn’t have looked twice. But the dog’s owner had taken the leash, put it in a figure-eight configuration, and placed it firmly in the dog’s mouth.
My friends explained that it’s against the law in their town to walk a dog without a leash. This clever dog owner had found a loophole—the law didn’t stipulate that you actually have to hold the leash! The amazing part is not the loophole, but that the dog was walking in obedient step with his owner, even though he could have bolted away to chase a nearby squirrel.
Our walk with God needs to be like that. While God in His mercy gives us a long leash and rarely gives us spiritual whiplash by yanking on it, He doesn’t delight in the struggle to keep us in line. He delights when we walk in a surrendered way with Him.
When Israel whined to the prophet Micah about how hard they thought it was to please God, He replied with a straightforward, simple way to please Him. Being just and loving mercy while we walk humbly with Him brings God great pleasure (Mic. 6:8). You’ll know He is pleased when He doesn’t have to hold your leash anymore.
All to Jesus I surrender,
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live. —Van de Venter
Find true freedom by walking obediently with God.
“Partakers of the divine nature.”
2 Peter 1:4
To be a partaker of the divine nature is not, of course, to become God. That cannot be. The essence of Deity is not to be participated in by the creature. Between the creature and the Creator there must ever be a gulf fixed in respect of essence; but as the first man Adam was made in the image of God, so we, by the renewal of the Holy Spirit, are in a yet diviner sense made in the image of the Most High, and are partakers of the divine nature. We are, by grace, made like God. “God is love”; we become love–“He that loveth is born of God.” God is truth; we become true, and we love that which is true: God is good, and he makes us good by his grace, so that we become the pure in heart who shall see God. Moreover, we become partakers of the divine nature in even a higher sense than this–in fact, in as lofty a sense as can be conceived, short of our being absolutely divine. Do we not become members of the body of the divine person of Christ? Yes, the same blood which flows in the head flows in the hand: and the same life which quickens Christ quickens his people, for “Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” Nay, as if this were not enough, we are married unto Christ. He hath betrothed us unto himself in righteousness and in faithfulness, and he who is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Oh! marvellous mystery! we look into it, but who shall understand it? One with Jesus–so one with him that the branch is not more one with the vine than we are a part of the Lord, our Saviour, and our Redeemer! While we rejoice in this, let us remember that those who are made partakers of the divine nature will manifest their high and holy relationship in their intercourse with others, and make it evident by their daily walk and conversation that they have escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. O for more divine holiness of life!
“Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me?”
This was a strange question for Job to ask of the Lord. He felt himself to be too insignificant to be so strictly watched and chastened, and he hoped that he was not so unruly as to need to be so restrained. The enquiry was natural from one surrounded with such insupportable miseries, but after all, it is capable of a very humbling answer. It is true man is not the sea, but he is even more troublesome and unruly. The sea obediently respects its boundary, and though it be but a belt of sand, it does not overleap the limit. Mighty as it is, it hears the divine hitherto, and when most raging with tempest it respects the word; but self-willed man defies heaven and oppresses earth, neither is there any end to this rebellious rage. The sea, obedient to the moon, ebbs and flows with ceaseless regularity, and thus renders an active as well as a passive obedience; but man, restless beyond his sphere, sleeps within the lines of duty, indolent where he should be active. He will neither come nor go at the divine command, but sullenly prefers to do what he should not, and to leave undone that which is required of him. Every drop in the ocean, every beaded bubble, and every yeasty foam-flake, every shell and pebble, feel the power of law, and yield or move at once. O that our nature were but one thousandth part as much conformed to the will of God! We call the sea fickle and false, but how constant it is! Since our fathers’ days, and the old time before them, the sea is where it was, beating on the same cliffs to the same tune; we know where to find it, it forsakes not its bed, and changes not in its ceaseless boom; but where is man-vain, fickle man? Can the wise man guess by what folly he will next be seduced from his obedience? We need more watching than the billowy sea, and are far more rebellious. Lord, rule us for thine own glory. Amen.