Micah was a prophet in Judah during 742–687 b.c, who prophesied that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (which is probably his biggest claim to fame). After defending God’s actions towards the Israelites in Chapter six, one of the best Old Testament gems radiates forth.
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. (Micah 6:8 NIV)
I love this verse! It addresses the age-old question of what the Lord requires of us. Let’s take a look at the three components.
Some friends and I recently discussed God’s justice and how it’s one of the least favorite attributes of God (probably right up there with wrath). God is Holy, literally the Holiest of all. Part of what makes Him Holy is the stand He takes against wrongdoing and sin.
People love to hear about God’s mercy and grace, His forgiveness, and His abiding love. But, God’s mercy is a real and necessary thing because He is so just. If He was willy-nilly about sin, then He wouldn’t need to dole out mercy and grace like candy in a parade.
God especially protects orphans, widows, and those in trouble; He is a real help for all of us. He punishers wrongdoers and protects the weak. This verse outlines that we should do likewise.
I think this is linked to the great command to love one’s neighbor as oneself. We must prioritize mercy and kindness towards others, not because they deserve it, but because we didn’t deserve the love and compassion shown to us by our heavenly Father. Having a right relationship with God means we need a right relationship with our neighbor.
As a keeper of my own pride, this is the part that rings out the loudest for me. I have to focus on God for humility and humbleness to manifest in my life. But, I read my Bible and pray because I see that being humble and practicing humility are better; I see the benefit in the life of my Savior, Jesus.
Notice how it’s not simply, “Walk with your God.” I think this is intentional. It’s impossible to walk with God UNLESS we are walking humbly. We have to shed our conceit and disdain in order to be able to relate on the fullest level to God.
Equally as important, notice what was not said in this verse. There was no mention of sacrifice or ceremony. No, God values justice, mercy, and humility above sacrifice and above rituals.
Please help me to stand for justice and provide for those in need. Help me to be merciful to those who wrong and hurt me. Lead me to lean on Your strength instead of my own and to be grateful for all that You provide.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.