Remember: The Lord is my Shepherd [so] I shall not want? Simple truths. Even so …
Micah 6:8 [New King James Version] ~ 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?
“O man” … Who is that?! Without any qualification, it could be anyone, or everyman. But this is in the midst of a prophecy which God brings to the nation of Judah, a people in covenant with the Lord. The book of Micah ends with a reference to Abraham and Jacob, God’s promises sworn to the forefathers from the days of old. Micah 6:7 (just preceding our verse of interest) refers to people going through the motions of ritual worship (sacrifices, burnt offerings, oil, etc.). So this man God calls to attention (O man) is a person in public covenant with God; he is at least a professor (professing faith in God). That is critical, or we might be tempted to read this verse as a salvation formula: ‘Here it is, everyman ~ how to get right with God: Three duties, to merit heavenly entrance.’ NO! Rather, here are three faithful responses of the redeemed man toward his heavenly Savior. We could have cut to the chase by considering the end of our verse, Micah 6:8, where the Lord is called ‘your God.’
- Do justly. That is, do righteousness. Do what is right. In context, God has just mocked the empty rituals of animal sacrifice IF that worshiper has no interest in doing what is right in his life (as God determines the right). This is the same truth which God spoke to King Saul through His prophet Samuel: “To obey is better than to sacrifice.” In that Old Testament era, God did desire animal sacrifices, as a symbol of the worshiper’s faith in a coming Substitute, but without the inner resolve to do justice and to obey God in all the ways God reveals His truth to us, that wasted meat served to condemn the proud fake. So this comes to you today. We are not antinomian (against the Law of God). The Lord requires His people to do what is right and just.
- Love mercy. Desire more and more God’s grace, His lovingkindness to fill up your daily life, His tenacious love to support and surround you. And care to grasp from whence it comes ~ through Jesus Christ. And if you do love God’s mercy toward you, then you will more and more want to extend it to others, in two ways: Tell your friends, neighbors, and enemies about the gospel of God’s grace, and model it to them by extending mercy, lovingkindness, grace, and covenant love (even against merit). We can say this with full confidence, since there are separate Bible commands for us to love God, to love our brothers and sisters, to love our neighbors in need, and to love our enemies! The best translation of the word given as “mercy” here is ‘loyal love,’ what God displays to us.
- Walk humbly with your God. That is required, but go back to the full verse to see that, in the first place, it is GOOD. What is GOOD? Whatever God says is good and very good! Then God specifies: It is GOOD … when we walk humbly with Him. There is nothing better. I have a story to help seal this point: My grandson Drustan is the last great lover of trains (especially anything having to do with Thomas the Tank Engine)! Love is too slight a word for this; it is Drustan’s passion (waking or sleeping ~ his one desire; heaven, to his young mind at this point, probably looks much like a freight-yard terminus)! So at a recent Renaissance Festival, a young lady in a fairy costume approached little Drustan, offering to sprinkle him with fairy dust, which would empower him with three wishes for anything he wants. “Would you like me to do that?!” Drustan turned to look at his mother, with a confused expression on his face, then said to the ‘fairy’: “But I have trains at home!” Oh, to be so committed, focused, and undistractable! Not concerning trains … but about your God. Walk with Him, and that will be enough!