Most of us would have a favourite scripture or portion in the Bible. I wonder what yours is? Mine is from one of the Old Testament minor prophets – Micah. Micah 6:8 spoke to me many years ago and has helped me throughout my life.
He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you; But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? - Micah 6:8
Micah 6 describes a conversation between the Lord and Israel. In verses 1-5 the Lord introduces His case against the disobedient people of Israel. Verses 6-7 record Israel’s response as a series of questions to God.
Israel was focused on their external religious rites. They ask God questions about what He would be satisfied with as a burnt offering, then how much and how many? They even went as far as asking whether they should offer their firstborn sons! Would that be enough to cover their sin? Would God be pleased with them then?
God’s answer and response is found in verse 8; “He has shown you, O man, what is good.” In other words, Israel should already have known the answer to their questions. God then says that He did not need or desire their religious rites, sacrifices, or offerings. Instead, the Lord sought Israel’s justice, mercy, and humility.
What does God require from us – it certainly isn’t more sacrifices or performing of rituals and religious ceremony. No, God is looking for something deeper from us: a change of heart, character and lifestyle. God wants our hearts and lives.
This is the basis of Micah 6; Micah was imploring the Israelites to understand that believers have to be willing to live lives that are radically different from the rest of the world.
Do justly – let us live with a sense of right and wrong and act the right way towards people.
Love mercy - means to love with kindness. We are to live showing mercy to others. Both justice and mercy are part of God’s character (Ps 89:14).
Walk humbly is a description of our heart attitude toward God. We are nothing without Him and need to depend on Him rather than on our own abilities.