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Living Out God’s Requirements (Micah 6:1-8)

Micah 6:1–8 - 1 Hear now what the Lord is saying, “Arise, plead your case before the mountains, And let the hills hear your voice. 2 “Listen, you mountains, to the indictment of the Lord, And you enduring foundations of the earth, Because the Lord has a case against His people; Even with Israel He will dispute. 3 “My people, what have I done to you, And how have I wearied you? Answer Me. 4 “Indeed, I brought you up from the land of Egypt And ransomed you from the house of slavery, And I sent before you Moses, Aaron and Miriam. 5 “My people, remember now What Balak king of Moab counseled And what Balaam son of Beor answered him, And from Shittim to Gilgal, So that you might know the righteous acts of the Lord.” 6 With what shall I come to the Lord And bow myself before the God on high? Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings, With yearling calves? 7 Does the Lord take delight in thousands of rams, In ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts, The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 8 He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God? What does today’s passage say? In today's passage, the Lord summons the mountains and foundations of the earth to hear His case against Israel. He asks what wrongs He has committed against them and how He has wearied them, calling for an answer (vv. 1-3). Recounting His deliverance of Israel from Egypt and protection of them against Balak and Balaam, the Lord affirms His faithfulness towards His people (vv. 4-5). The prophet Micah then asks rhetorically on behalf of the people what sacrifices could atone for their transgression, even to the extreme of offering their firstborn, to highlight that ritual acts cannot replace ethical obedience (vv. 6-7). What God truly requires is for them to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with Him by obeying His commands (v. 8). How can I apply Micah 6:1-8 to my life? In these verses, God presents a powerful case against His people Israel. They had turned away from Him, replacing intimate relationship marked by obedience with empty religious rituals. Israel felt like God had abandoned them and burdened them, but God confronted their accusations by reminding them of His proven faithfulness and grace demonstrated time and again throughout their history. Even when enemies tried to curse them, He turned those curses into blessings. God then exposes Israel’s underlying complaint against Him – that He demanded too much from them. They thought they could win back His favor through increasing religious activity and sacrifice. Yet no amount of religious fervor can replace what God actually desires – lives marked by justice, mercy and humility before Him. As modern day followers of Christ, it is easy to slip into similar patterns. We may feel abandoned by God when facing trials, failing to remember His unchanging character. Or we can prioritize religious routines over authentic, loving obedience that flows from intimate walk with Jesus. Here are some basic principles from this passage that we should apply to our lives:

  1. Remember God's Past Faithfulness to All His Promises When You Are Weary (vv. 1-5): When we face troubles or challenges that weary us, it is easy to wrongly accuse God of abandoning us or not being faithful. However, we must remember that God has shown His faithfulness over and over again. He delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and protected them from harm time after time. Even when leaders or prophets tried to curse them, God turned those curses into blessings. He has been faithful to keep all His promises in the past, so we can trust Him in difficult times in the present. Even if we feel abandoned, we must cling to what we know is true about God's character rather than our feelings. As we recall specific times when God demonstrated His faithfulness towards us, it gives us strength to endure any trial we currently face. We can be confident that if God was faithful before, He will remain faithful now and on into the future. Staying focused on God's proven track record of faithfulness can help anchor us when doubts arise during storms of life (Deuteronomy 7:9, Lamentations 3:22-23, 2 Timothy 2:13).

Food for Thought: When have you seen God demonstrate His faithfulness in your own life? How can recalling those times encourage you in your current struggles? Why is it important to respond to feelings of abandonment with truth about God's character? What truths about God's faithfulness can you cling to?

  1. Evaluate if Your Religious Rituals Are Replacing Genuine Spirit Filled Obedience (vv. 6-7): It is possible to go through all the right religious motions - attending church, praying, reading the Bible, giving offerings - yet miss out on true intimacy with God. We can mistakenly think our religious activities somehow obligate God to bless us, when in reality He looks at the attitude of our hearts behind those actions. God is not impressed by outward shows of piety that mask inward spiritual apathy and disobedience. Take time for honest evaluation regarding your obedience - do you seek to obey God with wholehearted passion because of gratitude for His grace? Or have your religious routines subtly replaced genuine, Spirit-empowered obedience that flows from intimacy with Christ? Do not just go through the mechanical motions. Ask God to revive a right spirit within you, one marked by joyful obedience out of reverence for Him rather than ritualistic performance (Psalm 51:10, Hosea 6:6, Amos 5:21-24, Matthew 15:8, John 4:24).

Food for Thought: What routines tend to replace genuine intimacy with God in your life? How can you refresh your devotion to Christ? Why does religious activity not obligate God or earn His favor? How should God's grace compel us to obey?

  1. Allow God's Past Grace To Motivate Justice, Mercy, and Humility Towards Others (v. 8): Now, Micah summarizes what God expects of us - to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly before Him. When we have received blessing and mercy from the Lord, it should compel us to pass on similar grace to other people in how we relate to them. When we receive God's grace and forgiveness, He expects it to change how we treat others. Like Jesus, we should seek to live righteously, upholding justice by making things right both in our own lives and in addressing wrongs around us. However, as fellow recipients of mercy, we must not judge legalistically when people fall short. We should extend the same grace and forgiveness God shows us. Walking humbly requires viewing others as more important than ourselves and putting their needs first, not becoming arrogant or proud. Ask God to develop His heart of righteousness, mercy and humility in you, as evidenced by how you serve those He places in your life. His blessing is meant to flow outward through our hands to meet the needs of others. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you eliminate any hardened heart attitudes that inhibit expressing the justice, mercy and humility God desires (Matthew 5:7, Ephesians 4:2, Philippians 2:3-4).

Food for Thought: Why should recalling your own need for mercy make you more merciful towards others? What role does humility play in balancing justice and mercy in our relationships? God confronted the Israelites not to condemn them, but to realign their focus to what really matters - pursuing intimate relationship with Him through obedient, just, merciful and humble living. The same grace that delivered them from slavery was meant to compel them towards righteous treatment of others. In the same way, we must evaluate if we have replaced wholehearted devotion to God with empty religion and allowed His blessing in our lives to promote pride rather than equity and compassion. May we cling to the unchanging truth of God’s faithfulness when we feel abandoned or overwhelmed. And may we live as true disciples of Jesus, letting His Spirit empower us to walk justly, love mercy and remain humble before both God and man. Prayer Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that You would remind me constantly of Your unfailing faithfulness demonstrated through Your Word and through my own life experiences with You. When I feel abandoned or start to wrongly accuse You, ground me in the truth of who You are. Evaluate my heart and show me if I have slipped into religious routine that has replaced genuine intimacy with You. Revive in me joyful obedience empowered by Your Spirit. Allow Your past grace in my life to overflow into how I treat people around me. Help me to walk in justice, mercy and humility in all my relationships. Develop in me a servant heart that considers others as more important than myself. I pray that Micah 6:8 becomes a foundational life principle for me just as it was for Israel centuries ago. I pray these things in the most precious name of Jesus, Amen.

Micah 6:8 - He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God? With His Blessings, Pastor Corby

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