By Myke Morris
“Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgressions, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He bath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:6-8, KJV). With this statement, the prophet Micah summarizes the spirit that lies behind faithful service to the living God. He informs us both what is acceptable and what is not.
In the overall context of the book’s condemnation of Israel’s wickedness, it is apparent that the actions mentioned in verses 6b and 7a were not the answer to the question at the first of the passage. Although these things fulfilled the mechanical requirements of the law of Moses, they alone were not satisfactory. Paul explained in Romans 6:17 that obedience must be “from the heart”; that is, as a result of a love for God. It cannot be “of necessity” as Paul expresses in the example of giving in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7.
In the latter part of verse 7, Micah draws for example upon a practice common at that time-human sacrifice. Only the vain imaginations of men could conceive this to be pleasing to Jehovah. It is used here to illustrate the horribly depraved state of those who would add to the word of God Read 2 John 9 and Revelation 22:18-19 for comparison.
Micah does not leave us hanging, knowing only what is not acceptable. “He has told you, O man, what is good,” and from this we must necessarily infer that all else is evil. This is born out by 2 Peter 1:3 and 2 Timothy 3:16-17 as well as the passages cited in Revelation and 2 John above.
“To do justly.” God’s justice is certainly one of the overriding attributes portrayed in His word. It was first manifested in His dealings with Cain after the murder of Abel. Read the story in Genesis 4 and especially the expression of God’s justice in verse 7. Thomas Jefferson, reflecting on the slavery issue, said, “I tremble for my country when I recall that God is just.” Indeed, this fact should strike terror into the heart of the wicked and comfort. the righteous.
“To love mercy.” In this Micah expresses the corner stone of the disciple’s attitude toward the God of Heaven. Paul wrote “The end of the charge is love” (1 Timothy 1:5). To love mercy is to love God, for the only unbounded grace this old world ever received came from above, from the Father of Lights (James 1:17). Jesus tells us then that if we love Him, we keep His commandments (John 14:15).
“To walk humbly with thy God.” The greatest expression of humility found in the Bible is the description of Christ’s humility in the Philippian letter chapter 2:5-8. When God’s commands seem too rigid or His chastisement too severe, we should remember what Christ went through for us. We should have the same attitude toward God’s will that Christ had.
God really requires so little when fie has given so much. Yet the world continues to offer, not what Jehovah wants, but its “thousands of rams” and “rivers of oil.” Why not do what God has shown us is good and please Him, After all, He’s done a lot for us.
Truth Magazine XX: 31, p. 482
August 5, 1976