Lucia's Blog: MICAH: WHAT DOTH JEHOVAH REQUIRE OF THEE?
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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Thursday, February 22, 2018

MICAH: WHAT DOTH JEHOVAH REQUIRE OF THEE?

“Hear ye now what Jehovah saith: Arise, contend thou before the mountains, and let the hills hear thy voice. 2 Hear, O ye mountains, Jehovah’s controversy, and ye enduring foundations of the earth; for Jehovah hath a controversy with his people, and he will contend with Israel. 3 O my people, what have I done unto thee? and wherein have I wearied thee? testify against me. 4 For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of bondage; and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. 5 O my people, remember now what Balak king of Moab devised, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him; remember from Shittim unto Gilgal, that ye may know the righteous acts of Jehovah.  6 Wherewith shall I come before Jehovah, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt-offerings, with calves a year old? 7 will Jehovah be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 8 He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth Jehovah require of thee, but to do justly, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with thy God?”  
Micah 6:1-10


The prophet Micah walked among a field of prophets who were giants in world history, powerful and passionate spokesmen for God. The small kingdoms of Israel and Judah were facing a devastating invasion of the Assyrians when Micah warned that God would judge them in His wrath. He held out for them the hope, that if they did what God required of them, His anger would subside. It was simple, to do justly, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with thy God.

During my daily Bible reading, I came across the Minor Prophets, specifically Micah.  Micah is one of those prophets of whom we know little.  In Jeremiah 26:18, Jeremiah, one of the Major Prophets makes mention of Micah.  From reading Jeremiah, we know that he was from Moresheth in Judah.  He prophesied during the reigns of the kings of Judah:  Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah.  God spoke to him concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.  Although there is no description of his call as in the case of Isaiah and other prophets, the simple statement, “The word of Jehovah that came to Micah the Morashtite,” it is echoed both in the New Testament books of Hebrews 1:1 and 2 Peter 1:19-21.  He is a contemporary of Isaiah, one of the Major Prophets.  His writing style is similar to that of Isaiah.  

The time of Micah's call is set between 750 to 735 BCJotham, the first king mentioned by Micah, was described as having a reign that was holy, peaceful and prosperous, (cf.  2 Chronicles 27:2-6).  His son Ahaz, (the second king mentioned by Micah) succeeded him on the throne of Judah.  Ahaz's reign was exactly the opposite of his father, for he was idolatrous to the point of sacrificing his own children to the pagan god, Baal.  Because there was so much idolatry and paganism during his reign, God decided to destroy Judah.  Despite all the efforts of his successor son at reforming, the wrath of God was inevitable.  Isaiah prophesized to Ahaz the virgin birth of the Messiah, (Isaiah 7:14).  King Ahaz was Baal's best devotee.  The third king mentioned by Micah was Hezekiah.  He was considered a reformer, for he eagerly attempted to undo the corruption and lawlessness of the idolatry which his father had spawned.  

Hoshea and Pekah were his contemporaries.  During Hezekiah's early accession to the throne, Israel was invaded by Assyria.  Hezekiah refused to pay tribute to the invaders, so Sennacherib invaded Jerusalem, the capital city. God intervened on behalf of Judah and stopped Sennacherib from causing more harm because of Hezekiah's prayer for deliverance, (Isa. 36:1-22).  Soon afterward, Hezekiah fell ill.  He prayed, and God intervened on his behalf a second time.  God prevented his illness from becoming fatal and promised him another fifteen years of life and prosperity, (Isa. 38:10-20).


I.   MICAH’S MESSAGE FOR GOD'S PEOPLE:

Micah’s message fluctuates from oracles of doom to oracles of hope.  He speaks of God's judgment and deliverance.  He cries out against the sins that God hates so much:  idolatry, injustice, and empty formalism.  He also pleads to those who love God, that they repent from the heart and love His Law of righteousness.

The Book of Micah is divided into three main sections:
  1. Judgments on Jerusalem and Samaria (chapters 1-3).
  2. The hope that lies ahead (chapters 4-5).
  3. Continuing warnings of Judgment and Hope (chapters 6-7).

In his opening words, Micah declares God's sovereign power as Creator and His interest in the affairs of Judah and Israel. He cannot but proclaim God's judgment on Samaria and Jerusalem, (1:2-3).  Micah's message calls on the whole earth and its peoples to witness the fact that God is about to act from His holy Temple in Heaven. He is about to come down and tread on the high places of the earth. He will present His witness against all peoples, and especially against His own peoples, Israel and Judah. Thus, He is seen as sovereign over all, (1:4).   In their sins and failures, they stirred up the wrath of Jehovah God, causing Him to approach them like a belligerent conqueror.  It is a reminder to us that God does not treat our sins lightly. We may have our excuses for doing the things that He hates, and that displease Him. We may excuse our little ‘idols,’ just as Judah had. We may even joke about them. But we need to learn that God will not accept our unfaithfulness toward Him.  As a consequence, Samaria would be turned into a heap. The ancients were familiar with what happened to cities that were destroyed and then deserted. The sand swept over them until all that could be seen of them was a heap out in the open country (compare Joshua 8:28), on which among other things vines would be grown. Thus, like Jericho in the time of Joshua, Samaria was to be destroyed entirely and deserted, (1:6-7).  Not only the city of Samaria and its Temple but also their gods.  The graven images of her gods, the proof of their vanity, would be shattered. Her merchandise burned, her idols lying desolate, unable to help themselves. 

Note that though God is disgusted with their unfaithfulness because of their idolatry, He is waiting for them to repent and turn back to Him.  Micah responded to God's words with grief and acknowledged that He is right and His judgments are righteous altogether.  Micah walks around dressed like a prisoner, weeping and mourning because of what is coming on Judah, that which will even reach to the gates of Jerusalem. What is in mind here are the approaching armies of Sennacherib which have defeated an Egyptian army sent against them, have subjugated Philistia, and are now turning their attention on Judah, (1:8-9).

Even though there is little known about Micah, we do know that he was a countryman and a God-fearing man.  He was enraged at the luxurious lawlessness and corruption of the people of his time, both the capital cities of Samaria and Jerusalem.  He is best described as “a younger contemporary of Isaiah,” and Hosea.  You can read 2 Kings 15:32-20:21 and 2 Chronicles 27:1-32:33 as a background of them.  In Micah's recorded prophesy, he makes a call to hear the evidence of God's concern for all men.  His message is for both the northern and southern kingdoms.  He calls mankind to listen to God's commands or indictments.  He tells God's people of God's coming wrath toward them, for they have rebelled against Him.  The more they polluted themselves with idolatry, Baalism, the less aware they were of God's promises and blessings to all the nations of the earth through them.  But God never forgot, for the time was at hand when He would cast off His rebellious people.  Neither the nations nor His people would have any reason to say He was unfaithful and had not warned them of their failure and the terrible consequences of refusing to obey the commands of His Law. 
“I say then, Did God cast off his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God did not cast off his people which he foreknew. Or know ye not what the scripture saith of Elijah? How he pleadeth with God against Israel: 3 Lord, they have killed thy prophets, they have digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. 4 But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have left for myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to Baal.”  (Romans 11:1-4). 

Micah presents God Himself as the chief witness to His wrath against the rebellious ones.  In Acts 7, Stephen closes with that same accusation stating that God's people have always been “stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears,” to the point of murdering the prophets He sent to call them back to repentance.  Micah also claims that “the Lord is coming out of his place and will come down and tread upon the high places of the earth.”  (Micah 1:3).  You see, God has always come out of His holy place to chastise His people.  Micah's message (which was fulfilled in God's judgments against the northern and southern kingdoms when Sargon and Nebuchadnezzar invaded them) is also a foretaste, a warning, of Jesus’ Final Day of Judgment.

Micah prophesized about the peculiar sins of Israel, that were moral and social evils.  Amos, another minor prophet, listed the same sins such as: 

  1. God's faithful ones being sold into slavery.
  2. The poor being oppressed.
  3. Dishonesty in business dealings, status symbols, intense entertainment and a lack of concern for the welfare of His people.  
  4. Israel’s inhabitants were totally rotten in their lawlessness.  
  5. Father and son were committing fornication with the same woman, (Amos 2:7).  
Micah also lists the sins of Judah in Jerusalem, the southern kingdom.

  1. Judah's sins were heinous, for there was no righteousness, (Micah 7:2).  
  2. Micah focused on four main kinds of evildoers:  
    1. The land grabbers, (2:1, 9).
    2. The lovers of evil in high office, (3;1-4; 7:3). 
    3. False preachers and teachers who were more concerned with their income than with teaching the Truths of God.  They preached only what the hearers wanted to hear; 
    4. The Hireling priests led them to false prophets, false teaching and ultimately to idolatry, (5:11-2 and 3:7).  
As a result of this lawlessness, Israel thought that God's favor could be bought with sacrifice and thus they ensured their own destructionAlas, they could have significantly profited if they would have read their Bibles with an open and honest heart, (Psalm 50)!!

  1. Does all of this sound familiar to you in our times?  
  2. Is this not parallel with the thinking of our people today?  
  3. Don't you agree that their sins are the same, their causes are the same, their apathy is the same, their false sense of security is the same?  
  4. Does not God deal with men in every age in history with the same eternal ethic and judgment that carries the threat of destruction?  
  5. Does not God use a godless power to bring about His wrath and destruction as He has done in history?  You see, our God is still on His throne exercising all authority over all the nations of this earth!!

Today we have the same problems or sins that the people of Micah had.

  1. They hated all righteousness and justice. 
  2. They perverted all equity rather than repent and obey the laws of God.  
  3. They were blinded by error and sin, deceiving themselves into thinking that no evil would come to them just because they were God's children.  
So today, their cousins in spirit teach and preach lies, false teaching that suggests that the goodness of God will not allow Him to be provoked to wrath, or to insist on the conditions of His promises.  Micah did not compromise. He denounced the evils and lawlessness of those who claimed to be God's people or followers.  The house of Israel along with their religious leaders abhorred or distorted all justice or judgment and perverted all equity.  Does not that sound familiar in our present time?  The Jews were zealous about observing the formal sacrifices daily in the temple while choosing to ignore the principles of moral righteousness of the Law, especially human relations.  Jesus Himself accused them saying, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.”  (Matt. 23:23).

Both Micah and Jesus agreed with Proverbs 15:8 which says, “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him.”  God will not accept the sacrifices offered by evil men.  God will not accept those who claim to be His followers and yet fail to obey His Word, His laws and do His works.  In Micah's prophecy as well as in the Lord's New Testament, such defiance brings the wrath of God.  They paid a high price because of their unfaithfulness toward Jehovah God.

God does not enjoy punishing His people.  He is utterly distressed and grieved by the plight of His people and for having to punish them so harshly as in the case of the people of Judah and Israel.  And though He was wounded beyond measure by the unfaithfulness of His bride, God still loved her very much.  He was more torn by it than she was!  Here is a perfect illustration of what it means to hate sin and still love sinners.  God did not hate Israel, but He did despise her sins, and even as He poured out His anger, we can hear overtones of mercy and forgiveness.  God's judgment and wrath left time for repentance, for it came step by step.  God's wrath toward Jerusalem was to bring her down to her knees in full repentance and to turn her away from idolatry and all lawlessness.  Sadly, Jerusalem would not repent and was taken captive by the Babylonians a century later so that God (through suffering) would force the remnant to come back to Him and fulfill the covenant that He made through them.
"Therefore He will give them up until the time when she who is in labor has borne a child.  Then the remainder of His brethren will return to the sons of Israel."  (Micah 5:3)

In Micah 5:3, he speaks of God as gathering first the remnant from Babylon and then beyond that the coming of the Messiah. God commands all men everywhere to repentGrace saves the real Israel of God, the remnant of the human race as well as the nation of Israel through faith in His Son.  From David's royal line, the Messiah was expected to sit upon “the throne of His father, David.”  The Lord is King over His people.  The everlasting throne of David was to find fulfillment in the King of Kings.  The promise to David made in I Chronicles 17:7-14, that his seed would sit upon the everlasting throne of His people was unconditional.  You see, some of the promises made to Abraham were dependent upon Israel's faithfulness.  For example, the promise to give the land on which Abraham walked to his descendants depended on the faithfulness of the people.
"But thou, Beth-lehem Ephrathah, which art little to be among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall one come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting. 3 Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she who travaileth hath brought forth: then the residue of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. 4 And he shall stand, and shall feed his flock in the strength of Jehovah, in the majesty of the name of Jehovah his God: and they shall abide; for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth."  (Micah 5:2-4)

In Micah 5:2, we see the prophecy concerning the birth of the Messiah and His work Bethlehem, the birthplace of David and Ancient Ephratah of the Gentiles, (Gen. 35:16) was going to be the city where a Savior, who is Christ the Lord was to be born.  The announcement was made of One who would rise from that humble small-town who would deliver His people and become great to the ends of the Earth, (5:2-4).  The promise made here is that from the small town of Bethlehem Ephrathah, which is comparatively insignificant, would come one to be ruler in Israel whose activities had been eternally destined.  A ruler was to arise out of little Bethlehem whose activities have been "from of old, from everlasting."   The double emphasis indicates that He was eternally pre-existent and active.  The word for "little" indicates ‘comparatively small’ (compare Psalm 68:27). Bethlehem was going to produce this excellent King.

The main point here is that God will certainly keep His promise to Abraham, to bless all the nations of the earth through Jesus the Seed who would rise out of Bethlehem to fulfill the promise that God made to David, (2 Samuel 7:16).  The apostle Peter acknowledged the fulfillment of this promise in Jesus' resurrection, (Acts 2:30-31, 34-36).  Jesus was to be “ruler of Israel.”  He was to rule over the house of Jacob, forever, (Luke 1:1-2).  The Jews objected to Jesus being the Messiah and ruler of Israel, so they put Him to death.  Jesus reigns over His spiritual Israel, the children of the promise are Abraham's true sons, (Gal. 3:7).  Jesus was to rule over all believers.  He shall not be ashamed to call them brethren, (Heb. 2:11), for He shall be their glorious Prince and Shepherd, (John 10:11ff; Psalm 23).  He alone is our peace, for He could only bring such peace by reconciling us back to the Father.  Those believers who stand firm with their Messiah will enforce His peace by subduing His enemies with the sword of the Spirit, the Gospel of Christ.  The sword has a cutting edge, and thus there is destruction for those who resist it, (1 Peter 2:8).

Indeed, the prophet Micah writes glorious things about the remnantThe true Israel was going to be in the midst of many people as the salt of the earth and seed upon the ground, (Hosea 2:23).  The remnant was to be as dew from God and cover all as the dew of a summer morning, (Psalm 110:3).  They were to be pure as the drops of dew and as the water of life.  They were to be a great blessing to those among whom they live, just as the refreshing dew from heaven is a blessing to the one who is thirsty.  They were to be as a lion among the flocks of sheep.  The Messiah's people must be silent and gentle and givers of blessings, just as the dew.  They must also be as bold as lions so that nothing may stand against the power of the Gospel and the righteous living of His people.  Only the Gospel can stand against all unbelief which threatens our faith in God.

Chapters 6 and 7 of Micah comprise a series of lamentations, warnings, and condemnations against the people of Israel and JudahTheir sins lead to the wrath or judgments of God upon them. Here again, we must note that these warnings can apply to us as well.  The judgments or sentences pronounced against the northern and southern kingdoms were harsh.  God called Micah to set their sins before them.  Micah connects the final part of his prophecy to the first.  God's judgment against the leaders of the nation was manifested before all people and nations in the beginning.  Now toward the end, God's fairness, the righteousness of His complaints against them is openly seen of allGod's fairness (goodness), justice or equity in His judgments will be pleaded, and sinners will be forced to confess that God's ways and judgments are all righteous and fair.
"The voice of Jehovah crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom will see thy name: hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it. 10 Are there yet treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and a scant measure that is abominable? 11 Shall I be pure with wicked balances, and with a bag of deceitful weights? 12 For the rich men thereof are full of violence, and the inhabitants thereof have spoken lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth. 13 Therefore I also have smitten thee with a grievous wound; I have made thee desolate because of thy sins... "  (Micah 6:9-7:6)

In Micah 6:9-7:6, God makes His complaints and accusations toward them whom He will judge, for they have broken the Law.  They have sinned against His love and His Law.  You see, it was the Law given through Moses and the Levitical Priesthood (instituted in Aaron) that turned them into a nation.  The violation of that same Law caused God's heartbreak and the need for Him to judge them.  The Law detailed many requirements such as the law of Sabbaths, and the laws of sacrifices.  The sum and substance of such requirements were that God's worshippers have to live justly, love kindness and walk humbly with their God.  Thus, failure to obey these commandments caused them to fail in the most fundamental principles of the Law:  do justly, love kindness and walk humbly with God.


II.   THE HEART OF MICAH'S MESSAGE:  

  • “What Doth Jehovah Require of Thee?”
 "Wherewith shall I come before Jehovah, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt-offerings, with calves a year old? 7 will Jehovah be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 8 He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth Jehovah require of thee, but to do justly, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with thy God?”   (Micah 6:6-8)

In these few words, Micah presents one of the most important insights into understanding the heart of God that is to be found in the Sacred Word. This is one of my all-time favorite Scriptures of the Bible.  No other question demands to be answered more correctly than the one voiced here.  "What doth Jehovah require of thee?"  It is one of those classic questions in the Bible that is parallel with that of the Lord.  "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?"  And what the Hebrew writer stated,
"Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2 For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, 4 while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will."  (Hebrews 2:1-4).

God is not unreasonable to insist upon our faithfulness nor is He wrong to punish unfaithfulness.  God wants His followers, His children to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with Him.  When one fails to do justly by not keeping God's Law (His commands and precepts), he is disobeying Him. It is an affront to God, for he is mocking God by his defianceTo love mercy literally means to have pity or compassion.  To have compassion is to place one's self in the sufferer's situation, to suffer with him, feeling sorry for him.  This is what God does for us, and we are to love such mercyThe love of mercy is driven by the will to love as God loves and not by our own feelings that may or may not be merciful.  It is a love that is sacrificial and deliberately self-giving.  God demands that we love others deliberately.  Without this kind of sacrificial love, our obedience is empty and vain.  In Matthew 23:23 Jesus said,
"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These (commandments) you ought to have done, without neglecting the others (justice, mercy, trust)." 

"To walk humbly with thy God" means being steadfast and ready to obey Him and His Lordship in all things. Willing or ready to obey His authority, because God is our Lord.  God tries the minds and hearts of men, and He searches our innermost parts, (Prov. 20:27; Psalm 139:23).  God searches the hearts of men and understands their plans and thoughts.  Thus, our outward man must always reflect our inner man as both express our obedience and alertness to Him and His Lordship.

Even though the people of Micah's time (and today) acknowledged what God really wanted or expected of them, and what was good, Micah summarizes it in a few words in Micah 6:8"He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth Jehovah require of thee, but to do justly, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with thy God?” 

To do justly (justice), to love kindness and to walk humbly with God are three major or vital commands in both the Law of Moses and the Law of Christ (His teachings, doctrines).  These three commands or requirements are still essential today to be right with God and be able to build the kingdom of God adequately and righteously.  These expectations made by God imply His judgment as well.  You see expectations combined with judgment is equivalent to accountability.  The whole scheme of redemption in the Bible communicates our own accountability toward our Creator God.  This concept of accountability or responsibility is expressed in Hebrews 4:12-13:
“For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and laid open before the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”

We must stress that God has expectations toward us that we must fulfill.  Since the beginning of creation, God has expected or demanded personal responsibility so that we may reverence Him and seek Him for purpose in life.  Adam and Eve failed to meet God's expectations, so He judged them.  Cain failed to accept his responsibility toward God, so God judged him also for his disobedience.  As mankind grew more and more irresponsible, rebellious and wicked, God's wrath and judgment were brought upon them, (Genesis 6).  2 Peter 2:4-9 expresses this concept well.
“For if God spared not angels when they sinned, but cast them down to hell, and committed them to pits of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; 5 and spared not the ancient world, but preserved Noah with seven others, a preacher of righteousness, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, having made them an example unto those that should live ungodly; 7 and delivered righteous Lot, sore distressed by the lascivious life of the wicked 8 (for that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their lawless deeds): 9 the Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment unto the day of judgment.”

Clearly, one of the most fundamental principles of the Old Testament is personal accountability toward God.  God's will to judge the sinner is still an ongoing warning to those who try to escape their responsibility to obey God and His laws.  Many reject God's revealed expectations creating their own rules.  With this approach, it is impossible to do what God wants us to do.  They ignore God's warning that we all must give an account for what we have done in this life (our behavior) before God. 
“For we must all be made manifest before the judgment-seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”  (2 Cor. 5:10). 
“So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God.”  (Romans 14:12).

  • So How Does God Express His Requirements To Us?  
In Deuteronomy 6:1-6, the Israelites understood this question clearly from God's Word, for He spoke plainly of their accountability toward His Law. Every commandment ultimately extended to their heart.
“Now this is the commandment, the statutes, and the ordinances, which Jehovah your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it; 2 that thou mightest fear Jehovah thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged. 3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as Jehovah, the God of thy fathers, hath promised unto thee, in a land flowing with milk and honey.  4 Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah: 5 and thou shalt love Jehovah thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be upon thy heart.”

Our God expects obedience to each of His commands, for His Word is the source of our accountability toward Him.
“Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness: 17 that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work.”  (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

The implanted Word can save our souls, but we must be doers and not just hearers only.  Therefore, we must look into the perfect Law of liberty, for such a law will judge us.  God's requirements or laws are not just concerned with religious rituals.  God wants all men to be impacted by His Word and thus transform their hearts.  And since He has taught us what is good and righteous through His Word, He holds us responsible.
 “The eyes of Jehovah are in every place, Keeping watch upon the evil and the good.”  (Prov. 15:3).
 Therefore, on the Judgment Day, we must give an account of what we have done.
“This is the end of the matter; all hath been heard: Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God will bring every work into judgment, with every hidden thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”  (Eccl. 12:13-14).
    • God Requires That We Do (Act) Justly:
We must heed these words of GodTo act justly or do justice implies all of our dealings with others must be righteous.  Our daily manner of behavior must not show favoritism, prejudice or self-interest alone.  God demands that we treat others justly, for He deals with us fairly and treats us justly.  God wants us to execute true justice, and show mercy and compassion to everyone, (Zechariah 7:90).  He loves justice, for to do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to God than sacrifices, (Isa. 61:8; Prov. 21:3).  We must let justice run down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream, (Amos 5:24). 

In some Bible translations the word “justly” is replaced by the phrase “do justice” to indicate a responsibility of equality or fairness.  God requires us to do justly in our relationship with Him and one another.  It implies that we must give a person what is due them.  We have been commanded to give every person what is due, (Romans 13:7).  Every person in our lives has a right to be treated justly and fairly to create a climate of justice.   To do justice implies the keeping of God's Law, His commands, and ordinances.  Hence, we must give God what is due Him:  honor, reverence, obedience, praise, and worship.  In Micah 6:2-4 the prophet points out that despite all that God had done for His people, Israel turned their back on God.  We must live to give honor and reverence to God despite our troubles and the bad things that happen to us. We must never turn our back on God, or turn away from Him, (Jeremiah 10:6-7).

    • God Requires That We Love Mercy:
Being merciful means to be kind and compassionate rather than to condemn.  God is the source of all mercy, and He loves to be merciful to His children not wanting anyone to perish.  To love mercy means to be forgiving toward others; be steadfastly committed to loving mercy.  Even the selfish wish to receive mercy!  He who loves mercy is thankful for God's mercy extended to him.  The merciful one wants to give mercy to others, for he knows that God is merciful and gracious to him and that He demands that we also be merciful.

When we show mercy to others, we are demonstrating our covenant love for one another.  Loving mercy means being faithful to everyone and reaching out in love to those in need who are suffering.  This mindset of mercy impacts all areas of life.  The very heart of the Law of Moses was to love their neighbors as themselves.  It is still required of us under the Law of Christ, for He showed mercy to us when He died and offered His life as a sacrifice that we might be accepted by His Father.

The Word of God is crystal clear about our need to be merciful, (Prov. 11:17; Micah 6:8; Matt. 5:7; Luke 6:36; Colossians 3:12-13 and James 2:8-13).  Our Lord is full of pity and tender mercy, (James 5:11).  He has left us the highest example of mercy to follow.  May we always examine our hearts to see if we are acting in full pity and tender mercy even as our Father in heaven.

You see, God's mercy is a vital component of our salvation, (Luke 1:76-79, 1 Peter 1:3; Jude 1:21).  Why?  Because without God's mercy toward us who were once sinners (and you know that we all have sinned in our lives), we would have perished because of our sins.  But God's mercy is conditional because if we transgress against His will and do not repent and ask His forgiveness, we will not receive His mercy.  Hebrews 10:26-31 expresses this sentiment well.
“For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and a fierceness of fire which shall devour the adversaries. 28 A man that hath set at nought Moses’ law dieth without compassion on the word of two or three witnesses: 29 of how much sorer punishment, think ye, shall he be judged worthy, who hath trodden underfoot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him that said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

Therefore, to be merciful does not imply indulging others in their sins and being compassionate toward others that continue in sin, for they will not receive the mercy of God.
"What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?"  (Romans 6:1-2).  

In Matthew 5:7 Jesus said,
“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”

Here, the word “mercy” is used to imply compassion, pity, and favor toward the suffering and needy, (Matt. 9:27; 15:22; 17:15; 18:33; 20:30).  We have this portrayed in the parable of the Good Samaritan, (Luke 10).  And though no priest or Levite offered assistance to the man who fell among robbers and was badly beaten, a Samaritan did come to his aid.  The Samaritan took him to an inn and paid for his care.  Thus Jesus asked, “Which of these three, do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” (Luke 10:36).  Then the lawyer responded, “The one who showed him mercy.”  (Luke 10:37).  Here mercy is showing compassion, pity, and favor.  Therefore, mercy is not just a feeling, emotion or sentiment that does nothing.  Mercy is action.  Mercy is genuine compassion that one wants to express to help from the heart with selfless concern and actions.  Those who are in God's kingdom must be givers of mercy.  Mercy must be shown and not felt.  In Matthew 23:23 Jesus calls mercy one of the weightier matters of the Law.

Mercy is not a characteristic of our culture today, nor was it exercised in the first century.  The philosophers of that time called mercy, “the disease of the soul.”  It was a sign of absolute weakness.  The Jews also saw it this way.  That is why Jesus told them in Matt. 5:43-48,
“Ye have heard that it was said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy: 44 but I say unto you, Love your enemies, and pray for them that persecute you; 45 that ye may be sons of your Father who is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust. 46 For if ye love them that love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the Gentiles the same? 48 Ye, therefore, shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

We can clearly see that mercy was given to those who had been merciful to them in these cultures.  Our society and culture today is no different from the Roman world of Jesus' day.  Today, our people say the same things:  “If you don't look out for yourself, no one else will.”  “Don't get mad, get even.”  People still behave the same way, treating others like mere objects or things where power is the supreme deity and financial success and status are the most essential things in life.  How sad!  Today when one shows mercy, he is considered weak.

But we see our Lord Jesus showing mercy on many occasions.  He was moved with pity and compassion when He looked on people, (Matt. 9:36; 14:14; 15:32).  Our Lord showed compassion and love for the lost souls of men.  He showed compassion toward a sinful woman caught in adultery.  We must imitate His attitude of heart and concern for the needs of others.  The Jewish leaders of Jesus’ time failed to show mercy and compassion and hated Jesus for showing it and looked for opportunities to kill Him.  They succeeded when they nailed Him to the cross.  Even while He was hanging on the cross with His hands nailed to it, Jesus still showed mercy when He said,
“Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”  (Luke 23:34).   

We can see an obvious contrast between mercy and forgivenessOur Lord's mercy is the basis of His forgiveness.
“But according to his mercy he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 which he poured out upon us richly, through Jesus Christ our Savior.”  (Titus 3:5-6).

Mercy was fundamental for God's forgiveness to be extended because His forgiveness flows from His bountiful mercy.  God is the Father of mercy, (2 Cor. 1:3).  Hence, His children must be full of mercy as God is, (James 3:17).  They must love mercy and delight in giving it, (Rom. 12:8).  Mercy is a trait that defines God, (2 Samuel 24:14; Daniel 9:9; Exodus 34:68; 2 Chr. 30:9).  Mercy must also be a trait that defines Christians, (Luke 6:36; Matt. 5:48; James 5:11).  Thus our new temple must have a “mercy seat” in its very own heart, (Matt. 5:48; Hebrews 8:10; Eph. 6:6).  And though mercy is a “weighty” matter, it is possible to downgrade it to a “minor” matter, (Matt. 23:23).  It is “weighty” because mercy is a part of the very character of God.  Mercy makes one slower to anger and ready to pardon, (Nehemiah 9:17; Psalm 103:8).  Kindness is mercy, (Psalm 117:2).

So being merciful does not imply that one is flippant about the Truth nor that one stops doing what pleases God.  It is not an open door to do what we want and like, (1 Thess. 2:4).  Mercy must not be misunderstood, for it does not mean that sin is ignored.  And though our God is merciful toward us, that does not mean that He will ignore our sins, for mercy acknowledges the reality of sin and wrongdoing.  Jesus never showed mercy and pretended that people were not sinning, rather He convicted them of their sins.  He was merciful when He pointed out their sins and gave them hope of forgiveness through His own blood.  God's mercy points out our sins and then shows us the way of reconciliation with God.  Mercy does good to others even in the face of opposition, lawlessness or wickedness.  Mercy means being patient and longsuffering toward those who are not able to see things as clearly as we do, (Romans 14) rather than debating and saying unkind words.

Indeed, mercy is a difficult challenge, but we must develop it in our character.  Mercy makes one's self vulnerable.  It allows us to be hurtIt extends self to help others without expecting anything in return.  Mercy praises the very heart of God and is not earned.  Mercy is no longer mercy if it is deserved, for it is compassion that is undeserved.  The merciful in heart show compassion even when the other person does not deserve it.  We must extend mercy to show the character of God in our lives.  We must show mercy even when others sin against us.  We must expend ourselves to help others and show mercy to them.  God wants His children to be merciful to others, for He will only show mercy to the merciful.
“For judgment is without mercy to him that hath showed no mercy: mercy glorieth against judgment.”  (James 2:13).

  1. How many times do we fail to show mercy to others when we think they should have never put themselves in the mess they're in?  
  2. How many times do we say that they're getting what they deserve?  But how terrible it is for us to demand mercy from others when we fail to give or show mercy to them just because we think they don't deserve it!  
  3. Do we expect God to be merciful toward us and give us what we deserve?  
  4. Do we expect to get what we deserve for how we have treated God?  
  5. Are you not aware that God's mercy must compel us to be gracious, kind, compassionate and merciful toward others?  
  6. Why not allow God's mercy to transform your heart, that you might be more merciful toward others?  Think about this!
    • God Requires That We Walk Humbly With Him:

This third requirement of God is the one I love the most, for it reminds me that I must walk worthy of Him who called me into His kingdom of glory in a holy, righteous and blameless manner.   So how can one walk humbly with Him? 

  1. Walking humbly with Him compels us to seek those things and set our mind on those things that are above where Christ and His Father are, (Col. 3:1-4).  
  2. Walking humbly with God is to allow Him to direct my steps with a humble and open heart, for God is the one who defines the Way for us.  He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and no one can come to the Father except through Jesus our Lord. 
  3. Walking humbly with Him is to walk according to His commandments and precepts.

Indeed, a humble heart is vital to walking with Him in the same way in which He walked, for it is the only way to obey and love His Word and abide in Him.   Walking in darkness is not walking in a manner worthy of Him, for only a humble heart can walk in the Light as He is in the Light.  The humble in heart are the ones who can walk with Him to please Him as they do His will in all things.  Walking humbly with God regards others as more worthy than self, for it is always looking to the interests of others.  Therefore, walking humbly with Him is to have the mind of Christ in us “Who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,7 but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

You see the people of Israel wanted to buy off God through their sacrifices so they could continue living in sin.  But Micah had to tell them what God wanted them to do to please Him:  to walk humbly with God.  A life that is not lived and devoted to serving Christ and His kingdom in holiness and righteousness is a hypocritical life.  Walking with God is a daily walk Micah lived in a world of wickedness and lawlessness like our world today.  The people of Micah's time spent their time devising iniquity and planning evil, (Micah 2:1-2).  They were living in pure darkness and ungodliness rather than striving to do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with Him.

Walking humbly with God is to hate evil and have nothing to do with it.  Our walk is our walk of life.  To walk with God implies that we love and walk in all His ways to be in daily fellowship with Him.  To walk in all His ways requires knowledge and discernment of His Word and a willingness or readiness to do what He commands us to do.  To walk with God demands that we humbly follow His leadership and lordship, for to walk and commune with Him we must be humble and not exalt ourselves.  A humble person accepts that he is inferior to others, especially to God.  A humble person who wants to walk with God accepts that his ways and thoughts are not the same as God's, for God's ways and thoughts are higher than the heavens and the earth.
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith Jehovah. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."   (Isaiah 55:8-9).

It is the only way to walk humbly with our God and make it to the gates of heavenEnoch is our best example of one who walked humbly with God, for he was a righteous man, (Genesis 5:24; 6:8; Heb. 11:5).  Another one who walked with God was Noah, for he was a blameless and righteous man, (Genesis 6:9).

As we humbly walk with God, we learn to trust His guidance and leadership, for He is directing our paths and knows what is the best way for us to follow, for all His paths are merciful and truthful.  God guides the humble into righteousness and teaches him His way.  He will take pleasure and delight in the humble of heart, for He resists the proud and gives grace to the humble.  Jesus, our Lord, is our best example, for He showed us how to be just, merciful and humble.  He brought justice to victory!

"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye tithe mint and [n]anise and cummin, and have left undone the weightier matters of the law, justice, and mercy, and faith: but these ye ought to have done, and not to have left the other undone. 24 Ye blind guides, that strain out the gnat, and swallow the camel!  25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye cleanse the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full from extortion and excess. 26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup and of the platter, that the outside thereof may become clean also.  27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which outwardly appear beautiful, but inwardly are full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. 28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but inwardly ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.  29 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and garnish the tombs of the righteous, 30 and say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we should not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. 31 Wherefore ye witness to yourselves, that ye are sons of them that slew the prophets. 32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. 33 Ye serpents, ye offspring of vipers, how shall ye escape the judgment of hell?"  (Matthew 23:23-33).

In Matthew 23:23-33, Jesus confronted the Pharisees of His time with their hypocrisy as they arbitrarily placed their religious duties above the practical principles of righteousness of God's Law.  To walk humbly with God is to live by faith, for a humble faith is always ready and willing to obey God and His commands without giving any excuses or rationalizations.  A humble faith does not seek to justify self but rather bows itself down for others to see Christ.  The Gospel defines the perfect way to walk blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord.


CONCLUSION:

As always with all my studies, this study has been very gratifying and fruitful for me, as it deepened my understanding of the Scriptures. I learn God's Word and will for me as I study, meditate and dig deeper into His Word.  One of my passions is Bible study. I need it like I need to eat breakfast every morning to be strengthened and nourished, that I might be able to walk God's level path of righteousness.  His Word also helps me to face my challenges with the right attitude of heart.

In my search for the Truths of God, I've found out that as I dig deeper into the Word itself without commentaries, God's Word starts unlocking His Truth which illuminates the path of my life.  As I let God's Word shine my way with a humble heart, I find that I will be less likely to trip, fall and be easily deceived, for I am following the Light which reveals my path ahead.  When we turn off the Light of God's Truth, we run the risk of walking in the dark and being misled.

For me digging into the Word of God deeply is like seeking for a hidden treasure in a field, and when one finds it, he hides it again.  And in one's joy, he sells all that he has to buy it. That is precisely how my heart feels every time I dig deeper into the Scriptures and find God's hidden riches and treasures found in His Word. Such treasures are very precious to me! The Bible is God's treasure chest that helps me hunt or dig deeper to find His precious gems found in His Word.  David said, "In Thy precepts, I meditate, And I behold attentively Thy paths.  In Thy statutes I delight myself, I do not forget Thy word."  (Psalm 119:15-16).   Like David, I want to passionately dig deeper into God's Word and saturate my heart with His Everlasting Truth and treasure it in my heart.  I want to contemplate God's riches and treasures found in His Word, and delight in His marvelous teachings.

Micha's three principles of righteousness are commands:  to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God. They are what God requires and demands of us.  They are also reflected in the Gospel of ChristGod wants us to act or do justly, for He wants us to judge with righteous judgment and not according to appearance, (John 7:2).  He demands that we be merciful as our Father in heaven is merciful, (Luke 6:36).  Moreover, He wants and requires that we walk humbly with Him.  In Philippians 2:5-8 the apostle Paul encourages us to have Christ in us, “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Therefore, I am accountable to God, for God has spokenThe Lord Himself, the apostolic doctrine and the prophets have all spoken through God's inspired Word.  They all define what God requires and demands of us, so we are without excuse.  He who refuses to believe the Gospel that is preached or proclaimed to him will be accountable before the Great I AM and thus will be condemned.  God expects us to take personal responsibility for our actions. The whole scheme of redemption speaks loudly of our accountability before God.  From the beginning, He has had expectations, commands, and requirements from His creatures, (Genesis 1:26-27).

God's willingness to judge sinners is a constant warning to each of us who try to escape our responsibility, accountability, and obedience toward He Who is the Great I AM.  Knowing this and being warned, why would any person reject God's revealed expectations contained and required in His inspired Word?   Why would men set up their own rules rather than obeying and pleasing God in all that He commands them to do?  We all will give an account of our life before our Creator, (Romans 14:12; 2 Cor. 5:10).  He has already expressed to us what He requires of us which is to obey His commands all the days of our lives and to love Him with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength.  He has already given us all that we need through His inspired Word to be complete and equipped for every good work.  Thus, He demands and expects obedience to each of His commands, for His Word will be the source of our accountability toward Him, the Great I AM.

God's Word is able to save our souls when we receive it with an open and humble heart.  The Gospel can help us walk worthy of Him, for His Word defines our way or path when we humbly submit to it.  God requires or demands that we be alert to His authority and Lordship, for He is Lord and King who dictates what we ought to do to please Him in all thingsTo act justly and be merciful, is vital to walk humbly with God.  Therefore, let us choose to walk humbly with our God that we might save our souls and be with Him for all eternity.  Jesus invites all people to “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”  (Matt. 11:28-29).  He is a loving, merciful, and longsuffering God who is moved with compassion toward us not wanting that any soul should perish, but come to repentance, (2 Peter 3:8-9).

Micah 6:8 presents for us one of the most important insights into understanding the heart of God that is to be found in His Sacred Word. This is one my all-time favorite Scriptures of the Bible.  It is one of those classic questions in the Bible that is parallel with that of the Lord’s question,
"For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?"  
And what the Hebrew writer stated,
"Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2 For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, 4 while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will."  (Hebrews 2:1-4).

God is not unreasonable to insist upon our faithfulness nor is He wrong to punish unfaithfulness.  God wants His followers, His children to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with Him.  When one fails to do justly by not keeping God's Law (His commands and precepts), he is disobeying Him. It is an affront to God, for he is mocking God by his defiance.   When one serves God faithfully, walking humbly with God like Micah, Joshua, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and many other heroes of the faith, we can rest assured that our faith will be unshaken even in the midst of apostasy and a faithless and lawless generation.  The Truth is narrow, and error is broad and ever on the throne.  With such an imbalance between Truth and error, light and darkness, the wicked always seem to boast, scoff and rejoice when they upset God's people.  Their joy is evil and empty and destined to be brief, for God Almighty will silence them and put them to shame, (Romans 8:31-39).

Therefore, let us praise our Jehovah God for His great glory, His readiness and willingness to forgive and His faithfulness to His promises.  And though He is just and does punish those who disobey Him, He delights in lovingkindness.

May we humbly understand the heart of God found in His Sacred Word.  May we humbly obey what our God requires and demands of each one of us which is to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with Him.  May we pay close attention to His Sacred Word that we might never drift away from it and lose our salvation.  May we walk humbly with our Lord that we might be able always to be faithful to His commands, precepts, and statues, obeying Christ's Law.  May we be ever steadfast and ready to follow His authority, for He is Lord of Lords and King of Kings and commands what we must do to be saved.  May we never reject God's warnings, and expectations, as revealed in His Word by trying to escape our responsibility and accountability toward God, for He will judge us for all the things we have done in this life.  May we be willing to obey all that He has commanded us to do. Finally, May we do His will with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength that we might be able to enter the gates of heaven and be with Him for all eternity.


Luci


Let Him Have His Way With Thee
By Cyrus S. Nusbaum

Would you live for Jesus, and be always pure and good?
Would you walk with Him within the narrow road?
Would you have Him bear your burden, carry all your load?
Let Him have His way with thee.

Refrain:

His pow’r can make you what you ought to be;
His blood can cleanse your heart and make you free;
His love can fill your soul, and you will see
’Twas best for Him to have His way with thee.

Would you have Him make you free, and follow at His call?
Would you know the peace that comes by giving all?
Would you have Him save you, so that you need never fall?
Let Him have His way with thee.

Would you in His kingdom find a place of constant rest?
Would you prove Him true in providential test?
Would you in His service labor always at your best?
Let Him have His way with thee.