Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul. He has shown you, O mortal, 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. Micah 6:7-8
Some things never change. Corruption was just as rife in Judah in 7th century BC as it is in so many countries, including South Africa, in the 21 century AD. In Micah's day, many of the religious leaders were corrupt. Most prophets proclaimed messages of approval to those who paid bribes, while they pronounced judgment upon those who did not. There was also the general idea that if you’re good enough, if you make the right personal sacrifices, you’ll be ok with God.
It’s an idea that’s still around today, and Micah’s response is just as applicable now as it was then. God is pretty clear that we can’t simply make up for our sins by offering him something valuable or putting on a spectacular show of righteousness. Sometimes what we need to do is very simple and plain, isn't it?
We need to act justly – am I telling the truth? Do I owe anyone anything? Am I treating others with fairness and kindness? We need to love mercy - am I merciful to others when I have it in my power to help someone? Do I live in such a way that others are first, and I am last? And we need to walk humbly with my God - Do I make decisions based on how they will benefit me, or God's kingdom? Do I rely on my good deeds to count, when my heart is far from God?
God’s unchanging laws are just, and we all have a personal responsibility to them – to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God.
Prayer: God, you are good. Following you does not require great wealth, great knowledge, or impressive showmanship, just a humble heart. Thank you that I can do all you require through Christ. Amen