TODAY’S READING: MICAH 5-7
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” – Micah 6:8
What does God require of me?
As I read Micah 6:8, I am amazed at how simple the answer is. It is just three things.
- Do justice
- Love kindness
- Walk humbly
There are a whole lot of things left off that list that we add to it. Our expectations, our requirements, are much longer, more onerous, and more exacting than God’s.
Where is tithing? Where is the proper appearance and dress? Where is adherence to a code of rules, laws, doctrines? Where is the strict moral code to be followed? Where is keeping the 10 commandments? Where is judgment of the sin of others? Where is holding others accountable? Where is getting people saved? Where is Bible study and scripture memorization? Where is the proper time in prayer?
All of those things are nowhere to be found in Micah’s simple and profound statement of what God requires from us.
Did you know that this same requirement of God is found within the law?
Deuteronomy 10:12-13 says, “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep all the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good?”
All the elements of Micah 6:8 are found right here. Jesus even pulls from Deuteronomy 10:12-13 when he is asked what is the greatest commandment of all.
The same three things that God requires of us
- Do justice
- Love kindness
- Walk humbly
are exactly how we see Jesus lived in the gospels.
Jesus was always doing justice. However, I think we fail to recognize this because we have a warped view of what justice is.
Justice is not punishing people for their bad actions, for their sin. We tend to think of justice in a legal sense. God is a judge. Therefore, he’s going to hand down a sentence on all the bad people because of the wrong things they have down. But, that is not God’s justice at all.
Deuteronomy 10:17-18 says, “For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.”
God’s justice is about doing what is right for the oppressed, for those that are without, for those that are the least, for those that are afflicted, for those that are the stranger, for those that are the outcast. God’s justice feeds, clothes, and provides for needs that the world ignores and overlooks.
Look up the word justice in the Old Testament is you will see that is regularly and repeatedly used in exactly the same context as Deuteronomy 10:17-18.
Isn’t this exactly what we see Jesus doing all throughout the gospels.
He elevates those that have no status. He spends time with them. He eats with them. He provides for them. He encourages them. He nurtures them. He notices them.
Jesus elevated the Samaritan in the parable of the good Samaritan. Jesus ate with the drunkards and the sinners. Jesus fed the multitudes when they were hungry. Jesus encouraged and care for the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus loved prostitutes. Jesus taught women and had them as disciples.
Everywhere Jesus went he did justice.
Because he loved kindness.
In Micah 6:8, the Hebrew word for kindness is hesed. It means loyalty, joint obligation, faithfulness, goodness, graciousness, favor. It is even translated as mercy. We can even think of hesed as compassion.
Jesus did justice to the oppressed because he was kind, merciful, and compassionate to them. He saw how they hurt. Jesus understood that what people were doing that caused them pain or caused others pain was the result of oppression, ultimately oppression from our spiritual adversaries.
Jesus loved kindness because he regarded no one after the flesh. Instead, he regarded everyone after the spirit.
Why did Jesus regard people after the spirit and not the flesh?
Because Jesus walked humbly with God. The Hebrew word humbly in Micah 6:8 is used only this one time in the Old Testament. It means to be humble, clear, pure, cautious, careful, reasonable, attentive, deliberate. One Hebrew dictionary says it means to act “in a manner respectful and careful of another’s direction.”
Jesus only said what the Father said and he only did what he saw the Father doing. Jesus truly walked humbly with God.
When we get right down to it, this is all Jesus required of us. Jesus commanded us to do exactly what God said he required in Micah 6:8. Jesus said to love God, love your neighbor as yourself and as he loved you, and obey his voice or abide in him.
Jesus didn’t command tithing.
Jesus didn’t command we hold to the ten commandments.
Jesus didn’t command that we look a certain way.
Jesus didn’t command sacrifices and rituals.
Jesus didn’t command a certain way or amount of time in Bible study and prayer.
Jesus didn’t command that we meet on a certain day to worship him.
Jesus didn’t command that we make others think the way that we think.
This is all so evident if we strip away all the religious teaching and doctrines. It becomes clear if we get out from under what others have told us, which they generally know only because others have told them, and ask the Holy Spirit to shows us what Jesus, and therefore what God, is truly like.
If we just look at how Jesus lived, then it becomes clear he lived by doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly with God.
That’s what Jesus would do.