(SERMON BY GRANT VISSERS)
One of the most well known AND one of the most misquoted verses in all of scripture is Micah 6.8 – He has showed 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.
Quotes can take on a life of their own when taken out of context.
Micah 6.8, standing by itself, is unbearably weighty. I’m just not that good of a person. Left to myself, I can not always act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with my God. Yet, we often quote this verse as the standard of how we are to live as Christians.
I’ve never been to court but I know what TV tells me a courtroom and a court case look like. I understand that charges are laid, witnesses are called and examined. Lawyers testify for the their client. The focus is on the action of the defendant – the one who is deemed as guilty.
Micah is right in the middle of a court case.
The Lord is laying a charge against Israel, the defendant ( verses 1,2) and the court is going to determine the guilt or innocence of Israel. We often think of God as angry and revengeful, seeking punishment for our wrongdoings. But this isn’t the case here. God shows up and instead of naming all the ways that the defendant has turned against Him, He turns the line of questioning on Himself. He asks, “What have I done to you? How have I burdened you? Answer me.” (verse 3) God traces Israel’s history and reminds the Israelites of His faithfulness to them by giving three examples of His presence and protection. (verses 4,5)
How does Israel respond? They turn back and cling onto what they know – religion. They offer burnt offerings, calves, olive oil and even their firstborn children. (verses 6,7) They plead to God, “Tell us what to do and we’ll do it.”
He has showed 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. (verse 8)
In Jesus, God turns the judgment of the whole world onto Himself so He can empower us to live victoriously as His children. We can’t do it on our own. God works it out in and through us. In Him, we can find ourselves acting justly, loving mercy and walking humbly with our God.
The question becomes, “Will I let God live this out in me?”