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 ESV)
This morning, my Bible reading was Micah chapters 5, 6, and 7, as we continue reading daily through God's Word. This is the third year in a row without a break that I've been diligently reading through God's Word. Once January 1, 2019 comes along, I will simply start over again with Genesis 1 and read through the Bible in another year. The benefits are eye-opening.
As I read through the three designated chapters in Micah, I came across verse 8 of chapter 6, as noted above. Micah is speaking to Israel of course, but he is also speaking to all humanity ("O man"). Notice Micah point-blank notes that "HE" - God - has already informed all of humanity what is good; the best way to live. In case no one is aware, Micah the prophet breaks it down in a very succinct way for everyone with no possibility of misunderstanding. He starts off by asking the question: "and what does the Lord require of you..."
Micah notes three things:
to do justice
to love kindness
to walk humbly with your God
Folks, if ever the religion of Christianity is summarized, it is here in these few words, though first spoken to the nation of Israel and by extension, the world. They speak to us as Christians as well.
I recall during my very early days as a Christian (I received the Lord when I was 13 and the incident is still very real to me as I can tell you where I was, what I was wearing, and how it came to be that I went down front of the church we were attending to be prayed over and to make a public confession of faith before the congregation), initially I was "on fire" for the Lord. Because of my newfound life in Christ, I told my classmates about it and was probably a bit overbearing.
As time went on, things cooled and I began experiencing several frustrations, most of which had to do with the fact that I did not "feel" like a Christian. I had no one who came along side me to help me understand God's ways. I had no idea what to do and I can see I clearly went off track for a number of years.
Some 40 or so years later, it is easy to look back and pinpoint what the problem was all about. Of course, then, without any real training or discipling from other strong Christians, I had no clue. I'm not blaming anyone except myself for not persevering. In fact, it would appear that my issues back then stand out as being things that actually helped me find my way eventually. For that I'm grateful though it took a while after making a few wrong turns here and there theologically.
Had someone told me about Micah 6:8, things might've been different, but who knows? I can look at this passage now and understand what it means. Back then, I may have read way too much into it and become legalistic.
Micah talks about doing what is "just" to others. Today, we might easily confuse this with what is termed the "social justice warrior" (SJW) syndrome. For instance, being a social justice warrior means welcoming those who are illegally here in the United States as they go on welfare fraudulently or receive social security or disability benefits even though they've not paid into those systems. Too many Christians wear hearts on their sleeves and believe that any law that prohibits people from being here illegally is a bad law and should be ignored.
This is not what Micah is saying. Micah is specifically speaking to the corruption and graft found within the leaders and priests of Israel and other nations of the world. Corrupt leaders routinely used people to further their own selfish gain. They'd often profit handsomely as judges, government officials and/or priests with bribes and kickbacks from those who could afford it. These people were not interested in truth or justice. They were interested in getting rich off the backs of average people. In other words, the bribes they accepted enriched them and they willingly set true justice aside.
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