Wednesday, October 27, 2010

How Gentle God's Commands

The invocatory hymn this week at church was “How Gentle God’s Commands.” Today may be the first time I’ve ever paid attention to the lyrics and as we sang, a few lines from some of the verses stuck out to me.

Hymns, How Gentle God’s Commands, no. 125

How gentle God’s commands!
How kind his precepts are!
Come, cast your burdens on the Lord
And trust his constant care.

Beneath his watchful eye,
His Saints securely dwell;
That hand which bears all nature up
Shall guard his children well.

Why should this anxious load
Press down your weary mind?
Haste to your Heav’nly Father’s throne
And sweet refreshment find.

His goodness stands approved,
Unchanged from day to day;
I’ll drop my burden at his feet
And bear a song away.

Text: Philip Doddridge, 1702–1751
Music: Hans Georg Nägeli, 1773–1836; arr. by Lowell Mason, 1792–1872

The author suggests that we cast our burdens on the Lord and trust His constant care. Some think that the commandments of the Lord are grievous, or burdensome and oppressive. This simply is not the case. The love of God is this: that we keep His commandments. God’s commands are gentle. His commands outline how we can live a joyous life, free from unnecessary trials and burdens. We must trust Him and trust that keeping His commandments is the best choice. As we trust Him, He will give us strength as we strive to withstand the temptations of the adversary.

Christ has commanded us to come, follow Him. He offers us comfort and rest. Why should our anxious loads press down our weary minds? As soon as we kneel before our Heavenly Father in prayer we will receive comfort. He will not necessarily take our burdens from us but He will lighten them.1 Remember the command of our Savior: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30).

The Lord knows how to succor us according to our infirmities (see Alma 7:12). He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows (see Isaiah 53:3-5) and knows best how to help each of our individual situations. So come, heed the Master’s call; drop your burden at His feet and bear a song away!


1. Read the story of Alma and his people when the Lord lightened the burdens placed upon them by Alma’s former friends and colleagues found in Mosiah 24.