" My son, do not forget my law,
But let your heart keep my commands;
2 For length of days and long life
And peace they will add to you.
3 Let not mercy and truth forsake you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart,
4 And so find favor and high esteem
In the sight of God and man."
is a rather strange way of telling us to stay faithful to God. Poetic, really.
As if mercy and truth were like sheep or pets that could wander off and leave
you. You don’t want that to happen. You need mercy and truth as close
companions in your life, so keep them close, and take the trouble to make sure
they stay close. In our sinful nature, we actually keep driving mercy and truth
away from us. We get hard-edged toward people after a while. We continually
deceive ourselves about the truth of our situation. Without truth we minimize
our sin. And without mercy we magnify the sin of others. So bind them around your
neck. The only other thing Scripture tells us to bind around our neck is God’s
Word. This is because God’s Word defines mercy and truth. Write them on the
tablet of your heart, like God wrote the 10 Words on tablets. Set these down
firmly in your heart. As you do, you will find favor and esteem before God and
man. That is something we deeply need: God to accept and love us. Mercy and
truth is the pathway, leading past the cross of Christ, where we accept the
truth of God’s law and our sinfulness. Where we accept the mercy of Christ and
extend it to others.