WHAT DOTH THE LORD REQUIRE OF THEE
Micah 6:8 He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
In the first few verses of the sixth chapter of Micah, God recites to His people how He had brought them up from captivity and had established them in the land of Canaan. God asks them what He had done to cause them to act so contemptuously toward Him. God, who had done such wonderful things for His people, had now been abandoned by them.
Whether sincere or not, Israel's reply was that they had sinned greatly against God. There questions to God were many.How could they redeem themselves of such great sin? Shall we offer burnt offerings? Will thousands of rams be sufficient for atonement? Shall we offer ten thousands of rivers of oil? This seemed to be an impossible task. But if it were possible to obtain this amount of sacrificial animals and oil, would it be enough to atone for their great sin? Finally, as extreme as it seems, if each family would offer their first born child as a sacrifice for their transgression, would it be sufficient?
Israel seemed to be saying that atonement for their great sin was not possible. There was no offering that could possibly be made, that would redeem them from their sins. They were in such a deep state of sinfulness that it would be impossible for God to forgive them and take them back as His children once again, and to be their sustainer of life, their protector from harm, their provider of all good things, as He was at the time they were delivered from bondage.
Micah records God's reply is in verse eight. His reply is the text of this lesson. Through Micah, God tells Israel, as well as us today, that one is never too far from God to return and become His child once again. There are conditions, however, that must be met. Micah lists three things that the Lord required from the Israelites, and the same things are required of us today, in order to return to Him and to show that one is deserving of his saving grace: to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him.
To do justly is to do what is right to all to whom we have a responsibility. First, we have a responsibility to God. In Matthew 22:34-40, Jesus is asked what is the great commandment of the law? Jesus reply was, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.This is what each of us owes to God if we sincerely desire to be His child. From each of us, this is what God is due - Our All!
Secondly, we have a responsibility to our neighbor. The great commandment of the law continues to say, And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. We are to demonstrate our love for our neighbor to the extent that we love ourselves. We are just as responsible for the spiritual and physical well being of our neighbor as we are for the same things in our lives. If we are negligent in fulfilling either the first or second part of this Great Commandment, we can not be called a child of God.
To love mercy is to go beyond what justice requires. Mercy is the compassion within us that convinces us to forgive others. Justice for a sinful action may require punishment. Mercy is that step beyond justice. It is a willingness to extend kindness and sympathy beyond what is fair and just. We are to have a forgiving spirit toward all others - a spirit of understanding and tolerance in judging others.
To walk humbly with God is to go where God would have us go - to do what God would have us to do. With God leading us, we will always be doing what He wants us to do in the manner He wants us to do it. To walk humbly means that we are to conduct our lives as He would have us act. When our own selfish will wants to take control of our lives, we must repress it in favor of doing what God would have us do.
God has shown us what is good. To be a child of God, we must conduct our lives as He has shown us in this simple guide to obedience. We are to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.