Sunday, November 2, 2014

What Does The Lord Require of Us?

"With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?" 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 6:6-8

The above passage from Micah 6:6-8 is considered by many to be one of the most comprehensive and all-embracing statements in the Old Testament.  Micah raises the question:  "What does the Lord require of you?"  Micah answers his own question, and makes some important points, which apply to us even today.

Micah first brings up some possibilities, even some absurdities.  God did indeed speak of some of these things, but the majority are examples of hyperbole for the sake of emphasis.  One could not please God by simply offering innumerable sacrifices, even things precious to the worshipper, because these things must be accompanied by other things just as essential.

First, we must act justly meaning to act toward God and man according to the standard of righteousness revealed in God's law. This did involve the offering of sacrifices commanded by God, but it also involved treating their fellow man in a way that was right and fair. Second, we show loving kindness, by which Micah means we are "to show a compassionate warm-heartedness toward our fellow man.  We are not only to treat others fairly, but to show mercy when others are mistreated.  Finally, we are told to walk humbly with your God which involves living in humble and submissive obedience to God's desires and will.

Some might think all the Lord requires is the observance of certain rituals like attending church on Sunday. We can't just attend church, act pious, and then do whatever we want just because we regularly attend church.  Don't get me wrong, I do think attending church is important, but it's not completely necessary to living a good Christian life.  Church enhances our spiritual growth, our commitment in the work of the church, and our close fellowship with God and other Christians.  I believe that it is essential that we observe what "rituals" God has ordained for us; but the Lord requires more than just "attending church."

A close relationship and fellowship with God requires that we daily listen to God, talk to God, and walk with God.  By walking humbly with God, we are more likely to keep in proper balance the demands to do justly and love mercy.  If we do not do these things, then all the church services you may attended, all the sermons you may have heard, all the prayers you may have offered, will benefit you nothing!


silvereagle said...

Much more than attending church is required but so many refuse to do more than that. ..they forget the remainder of the admonitions expressed here and elsewhere.

Damien Malachy said...

I love this passage and once learned a sung version of it when I was in seminary. I wish that ministers of every stripe would preach on it much more often! Instead we tend to hear "What the Lord requires of you is to vote for N.N, to love but actively discriminate against such-and-such-a-group and to walk proudly as an American."