He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
The prophet Micah was chastising his people for their indifference to all the good God had done for them. They sought to appease the Lord with ritualistic sacrifices rather than humble service and faithful obedience.
A few years ago, paying-it-forward entered pop culture. If somebody did something good for you, you responded with a good deed for someone else. Admirable behavior for sure. Micah’s point in this passage is that God’s good should be followed by paying-it-forward into the lives of others. Additionally, God’s good should be reflected in our conduct and thinking.
You can’t please God with sacrifice alone. Religious ritual accompanied by ungodly behavior is useless.
Jesus confronted a similar concern during His ministry. “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.” (Matthew 23:23)
Are you familiar with the concept of a sales and marketing funnel? Capture a potential customer in the funnel and then through a series of pre-defined steps convert that individual into a buyer. Well, we’re like funnels for God’s good. He pours His mercy, grace, love, blessings, and help into our lives. We then funnel all that good into the lives of others.
In our focus text we learn that God requires us “…to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your (our) God.” Three expectations are listed here. Justice. Mercy. Humility.
To act justly is to demonstrate godly behavior. To love mercy is to withhold wrath when wronged. Rather, respond with kindness, grace, love, and forgiveness. And to walk humbly with your God means to submit ourselves to His instruction and guidance.
Walking WITH God is a beautiful picture of the relationship God desires. He wants us with Him, but we are to walk humbly. We don’t lead Him. He leads us.
Christians don’t serve a distant God who is disinterested in the minutia of daily living. He’s not a king who stays in his castle and only makes appearances on special occasions. God is WITH His people. In the birth narrative, Jesus is called Immanuel, which means “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23)
But with that nearness to holy God comes responsibility — requirements. And when we stumble, He is there to catch us and forgive us.
The Bible emphasizes the closeness of God to His people. We are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 3:16) Christ lives in us. (Galatians 2:20) In fact, due to the presence of the Spirit of God our bodies are called temples. (1 Corinthians 6:19)
Have you ever heard a parent say to a child, “Is it too much to ask for you to behave?” Naturally, the expected response is “no.” After all the parent has done for the child, good behavior is a reasonable request.
That same question can be asked of God’s children. After all the good He has done for you — is it too much to ask for you “…to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God?”
For more on this topic, check out this article: Your Amazing Victory in Jesus
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 3 (July – September) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.