“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)?
Have you ever looked around the world around you and felt overwhelmed with all the problems you see? When observing so much of the evil in the world, have you ever thought, “What does God want me to do? What does God require of me?”
The prophet Micah certainly lived in times when much evil was going on the world around him. The people of his day seemed to spend all their time devising iniquity and planning evil (cf. Micah 2:1-2). The rulers were oppressing the people (cf. Micah 3:1-3). Micah adds regarding their hypocrisy, “Her heads judge for a bribe, her priests teach for pay, and her prophets divine for money. Yet they lean on the Lord, and say, ‘Is not the Lord among us? No harm can come upon us’ " (Micah 3:11).
Furthermore, Micah mentions how difficult it was to find people one could trust: “The faithful man has perished from the earth, and there is no one upright among men. They all lie in wait for blood; every man hunts his brother with a net” (Micah 7:2). He adds, “The best of them is like a brier; the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge…” (Micah 7:4). Things were so bad that one could not even trust his or her family members: “Do not trust in a friend; do not put your confidence in a companion; guard the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your bosom. For son dishonors father, daughter rises against her mother, daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man's enemies are the men of his own household” (Micah 7:5-6).
Living in such darkness, where could Micah turn for help and support? In the midst of such ungodliness, Micah knew that He could still turn to the Lord for support. God would not abandon Micah. Micah states, “Therefore I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; My God will hear me” (Micah 7:7).
How did God want Micah to serve Him in the midst of such an evil society? Micah wonders if God expects Him do make some great sacrifices: “With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, ten thousand 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). God didn’t expect anything like this. Instead, as the opening verses above indicate, what God required was simply “to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly” with God.
Israel was about to face severe judgment for her sins (cf. Micah 3:9-12). In a great statement of faith, Israel is pictured as showing forth the kind of humility God had desired to see in her all along. She says, “Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; when I fall, I will arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against Him, until He pleads my case and executes justice for me. He will bring me forth to the light; I will see His righteousness” (Micah 7:8-9).
What does God require of me? God doesn’t heap unreasonable expectations upon me. Today, I will strive to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with my God!
“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3).