Walking Humbly with God
With what shall I come before the Lord
and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
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 6:6-8 NIV)
In Micah chapter 6, the Lord tells Micah the prophet to plead His case against Israel (vv. 1-2). He tells Micah to remind Israel of all the Lord had done for them (vv. 3-5).
In verses 6 – 7, the Lord (through Micah) asks Israel what they think will please Him. Israel was quick to offer sacrifices to the Lord, but they thought their dedication to Him was satisfied and ended there. They thought that after their obligatory sacrifices were made, they were free to do as they pleased.
In verse 8, Micah speaks on behalf of God, and reminds them of what God desires:
- act justly
- love mercy
- walk humbly with God
Based on Israel’s history and the track record of other nations at the time, justice and mercy were not the norm. The norm was that every person looked out for themselves, and God was to be appeased, not related to. In non-Jewish cultures, gods were self-absorbed and angry, and required sacrifice to appease them.
God showed Himself different from the other gods, in that He desired a relationship with His people first and foremost. God was more interested in a relationship with Him, than in their sacrifices. Moses made that clear to Israel in Deuteronomy 10:12-13. Jesus also spoke about sacrifice vs. worship in Matthew 23:23, where He called out the Pharisees for dutifully sacrificing one tenth of even the herbs in their gardens, but missing the heart of compassion that God desired.
When we love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind (Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 22:34-40), our relationship with Him comes first, before anything else, including sacrifices to Him. Out of that relationship comes love for others as God works in and through us to care for others.
Micah reminds us that we cannot act justly and love mercy without walking with God. We may try (on human terms) to provide justice and show mercy from our own power and will, but it will ultimately fail without the right heart attitude.
May we walk humbly with the Lord today, showing love and mercy as He has shown us through the example of Jesus, His Son as He lived and loved and sacrificed for us.