What Does the Lord Require of You?

I read the newspaper. Every single day.  I’m not naïve enough to believe everything I read, but there is certainly a lot of disturbing news in the world.  Sometimes I just want to fold up the paper and move on with my day.  It’s caused me to do a lot of thinking this week about Micah 6:8: “He has shown you, O man, 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 6:8- teal background with black branches with leaves

It’s a popular, inspiring verse, I’ve heard it many times. I wondered if there was more to it than what I think of it on the surface. Really- who doesn’t want to see justice done? Or receive a little mercy when we have done something wrong? Of course, we want to walk humbly with God! What does this verse mean for my Christian walk?

As in all Bible verses, we need to look at what was going on in the verses previously and look at the overall chapter. So let’s dive in….

Book of Micah

The book of the prophet Micah is a thin one; just seven chapters. He is writing to the people of Israel and Judah. 

The people were prospering economically but were spiritually decrepit. The Canaanite religion had infiltrated into some of the Israelites. Not only does Micah attack their idolatrous ways, but he also emphasizes the horrible social injustices that the ruling class had adopted.

We see God’s anger against sin and the judgment that comes from unrepentance.

It also shows his great love as he offers eternal life to all who repent and believe.

Micah speaks to the Israelites about their disobedience which was leading them to ruin. But he also encourages them with God’s power, sovereignty, mercy, promises, and future glory.

Micah Chapter 6

The 6th chapter gives a peek into an imaginary courtroom scene in which God lodges a complaint against Israel. The first word is “listen”-“Listen to what the Lord says.” God wants our attention to this important matter. Kind of like “Hear Ye, Hear Ye” in the courts of old.

Pay Attention!

God’s case begins with him asking the people of Israel, “What have I done to you? How have I burdened  you?” (v3) They certainly were acting with ingratitude after all the great things he had done for them.

Micah had previously laid out the sins of Israel: fraud, theft, greed, debauchery, oppression, hypocrisy, heresy, injustice, extortion, lying, and murder, among others!

The Israelites had forgotten their personal relationship with God and turned away from him.

Verses 6-7 show Israel’s response to the charges: they focus on what they can offer to God as offerings for their acknowledged great sin.

They first ask if God would be satisfied with the burnt offering of year-old calves. They ratchet up the ante after that.

What about thousands of rams; with 10,000 rivers of oil? Would that suffice? Their final offer is the ultimate; their precious firstborn sons. Would that cover it? Would God be happy with them then?

What The Lord Requires

The Israelites knew the Law of Moses; they should have known the answer to their questions. Micah responds- “He has told you, O man, what is good.”

God didn’t need their hollow religious rites or sacrifices.

The answer to their question went much deeper than any religious observance.  He wasn’t looking at the offering, He was looking at their hearts.  God had told them in Deuteronomy 6:5 to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

The Israelites desperately needed a change of heart.

God gives his three requirements for those who choose to seek, serve, and worship him:

To act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with him. (v8)

What does the Lord require of you

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Act Justly

“Act justly” means to live with a sense of right and wrong; living a life of integrity. God’s word provides the moral standards.  Injustice was a problem in Israel. They would have known what Micah was talking about.

God was asking his chosen people to look at their own lives and remove any unjust actions or thoughts.  He wants a commitment to help the poor and those who have been victims of injustice.  See others as God does– deserving respect, love, and concern.  We are all made in His image.

Acting justly is intermingled with the next command: Love mercy.

Love Mercy

If we are a follower of Jesus, the command to be merciful certainly will reveal the status of our hearts. We must freely and willingly show kindness to others.

Showing mercy means we don’t retaliate when harmed, we forgive freely, and we reach out to others without expecting anything in return. We received God’s mercy through Jesus’s sacrifice.

How then can we withhold mercy from someone just because we believe they do not deserve it?

This becomes easier when we truly realize the depth of the mercy that was shown to us.

Walk Humbly

And the final requirement: walk humbly with your God.

This brings to mind God’s garden walks with Adam and Eve “in the cool of the day.” He wants to walk with us.  He cherishes His relationship with us. We need to continually be in communication and spend time with him. The study of his word, prayer, and worship keeps us connected.

Living Out Micah 6:8

Micah’s message is just as relevant to us as it was to the Israelites. We need our hearts to align with what God requires of us. Our good deeds, our tithes, and our ministries are important but insufficient.

Micah boiled it down to the three basics-

God desires justice rather than sacrifices, loving others compassionately, with mercy, and faithful obedience to God.

Does all this sound nearly impossible?? These three things all involve action. 

It may require a change in lifestyle or time management.  No matter what, these are God’s requirements! The good news is that God enables us to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with him.  When we are in a personal relationship with God, he helps us, empowers us and leads us.

He wants us to “remember to remember” all the good he has shown us.  In doing so, we gladly and lovingly give him our whole heart in return.

God’s character is always right, always fair, and always kind.

What does the Lord require? He wants us to express those qualities in our lives to those around us. In this way, we can point others towards God.

Where is your heart today?

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”  Matthew 25:35-36



Photo by Justiniano Adriano from Pexels

4 thoughts on “What Does the Lord Require of You?”

  1. Pingback: Best 13 what does the lord require of you – aldenlibrary.org

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