I am often asked by people from various walks and stages of life the question of what does God require of me? The question comes in various forms but the essence of the question is still the same ‘What does God require of me?” Every time this question is asked, my mind casts back the words of Micah 6 verse 8 “The Lord God has told us what is right and what he demands: “See that justice is done, let mercy be your first concern, and humbly obey your God.”
As Micah wrote his ‘prophecy’ he wrote into a world in the eighth century before Christ, that is about 2800 years ago, a world that was experiencing similar problems to us today. With a widening gap between the wealthy ruling class at the expense of the rest of society, and the social injustices of the ruling elite and the affect that these injustices were having on the rest of the Nation of Israel. As Micah writes, he writes to remind and to challenge the Israelites to remember what it is that God truly requires of them as God’s chosen people.
As we come into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, by accepting the grace of God through placing our Faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour, as those who are the children of God of today – what is it that God wants from us?
To Act Justly
Micah starts with “See that justice is done” in other words we are “To act justly”, another translation says “Do what is fair and just to your neighbour”. Here Micah is using the Hebrew word mispat which is translated justice but which also carries with it the sense of a movement into action ‘something needs to be done’. For justice is something that all people are to do, not just to wish that justice would happen and complain and speak harshly about instances were justice is lacking, and try to point a finger at others. What Micah is saying, is that as God’s people we need to work for fairness and equality for all people, particularly the weak and powerless – those who are most often exploited.
To Love Mercy
Micah secondly says that we need “to love mercy” or “let mercy be your first concern”. Here Micah is using the Hebrew word hesed, it is a word that cannot be accurately translated by using only one English word, but has to do with love, loyalty and faithfulness. Another Bible translations use the words ‘constant love’ and ‘compassionate and loyal in your love’. Micah is here saying that as God’s people we need to freely and willingly show kindness to others. He is speaking about the key element in relationships, be it a marriage or friendship between humans and also between God and people. This element is that of showing mercy out of a place of faithful love and not out of duty, out of selfless love and not resentment or manipulation to get our own ends. In other words, it is loving for the sake of loving and not to get something out of it.
Humbly obey your God
Lastly, Micah says “humbly obey your God”, Micah here changes his focus from relationships with other people to our relationship with God. The Good News Bible translates this as “and to live in humble fellowship with our God.” Here Micah is saying that as God’s people we need to live in careful fellowship with God, in which we exercise a spirit of humility before God.
It about a relationship in which we are to put God first and constantly work at conforming to God’s will. In our life journey we are to walk with God as our constant companion and guide along the journey of our life, both earthly and eternally.
Perhaps, we need to set time aside to examining our actions and thoughts, to honestly ask ourselves if we acting justly, loving mercy and walking humbly with our God in all that we do.
- Act justly – do we do things fairly and for equality sake, in relationship with all other people?
- Love Mercy – how are we loving others? Are we compassionate and loyal in our love for others?
- Walk humbly with our God – who is leading who at times? – are we walking in humble submission to God and his directing on our lives, or are we telling God what we think is ‘good’ for us and giving God orders?
Above all, we need to remember that it is about our lifestyle and outlook on life as God’s people, living as people who know what it is that God requires of God’s people.