MICAH 6:8: “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (ESV)
OBSERVATION: What does God require? Micah considers this question in the light of God’s coming judgment upon Israel. Israel had wandered away from the Lord. They had begun serving other gods. And at the same time they continued living with a “religious veneer” that feigned piety. Prior to this verse we read:
- “With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” (Micah 6:6-7 ESV)
Let’s put it in modern terminology. “With what shall I come before the Lord? How should I approach Him in worship? Will the Lord be pleased simply because I went to church on Sunday? Can I move the Lord’s heart simply through giving my tithes and offerings, or volunteering for a specific ministry? Will the Lord be pleased when I simply confess Bible verses that proclaim His promise of blessing over my life? “
All of these things are good within themselves, and they are a part of a believer’s life. However, if our trust is in these actions – they fall miserably short. We can do all these things, we can be just like the Pharisees, and miss the heart of God. The Lord is not interested in our outward show of piety, He is interested in our hearts. When our hearts are surrendered to Him, when we are walking in true repentance, it will be shown in the actions that truly move the heart of God. What are they?
To do justice! This is love that is directed to the “least of these“. It is not loving those who love us, but loving those who are unlovely. It is standing up for the widow, the orphan, the needy, the poor, the disenfranchised of this world. It is having a voice that cries out for the unborn and the elderly. It is reaching out to the broken, the imprisoned, the sick and in-firmed. All of this is the manifestation of love from a changed heart that does not seek the spotlight, but truly seeks the heart of God.
To love mercy! Mercy is not getting what we deserve. Mercy is God’s attitude toward a guilty sinner that should be sentenced to eternal punishment for their rebellion. What does God do? He Himself comes to live among us, to experience our sufferings, to die in our place. He comes to empathize with His creation and redeem them from their sins. When we love mercy – we look at others through the eyes and the gifts of God. We do not judge and marginalize the lost, we join Jesus in seeking them, in proclaiming the Gospel to them, in calling them to be reconciled with God through faith in Jesus Christ! We touch the lepers of this world with the love of God. As beggars who found bread we did not earn, we extend the “bread of life” to others.
To walk humbly with our God! Humility is not self depreciation. Humility is self examination. When we examine ourselves we see that we cannot do any of this without constantly being washed, cleansed and filled with the Holy Spirit. It is never by our might, nor by our power – but it is only by His Grace and the the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence and anointing. Humility brings us to the throne of Grace and the provision of God to walk in justice and mercy!
Lord, forgive me for all the times I have taken security in the outward Christian activities that are a part of my life, and not solely in you. Deliver me from “religion”, and call me into a deeper “relationship” with You! Today, guide me by Your Holy Spirit to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with You – through Jesus Christ my Lord!
In Jesus Name!