God’s Expectations May Surprise Us, but They Do Make Sense
As Micah wraps up his prophecy to the people of Israel, he slips in a profound thought. In one short sentence he tells what God requires of his people. It’s succinct and simple. It’s startling but profound. Equally astonishing is what Micah doesn’t include in his list of things God requires.
God doesn’t say go to church, develop the right theology, or obey a bunch of rules. Yet these are some of the many things we put great importance on today. We focus on these elements—and others like them—at the expense of what God requires.
What does God require from us? He wants us to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with him (Micah 6:8).
We often hear the word justice, but we don’t often hear of acting justly. What does justly mean?
Here are some ideas. To act justly we should:
- be honorable and fair in how we deal with others,
- behave morally (that is, righteous), and
- do all things properly.
Does this sound a lot like Jesus? It’s what he taught and how he acted. Yet we often forget to behave this way in our own lives. Instead we get caught up chasing secondary pursuits and even focusing on goals that don’t matter in God’s perspective.
Another thing God requires is that we love mercy. This goes beyond merely showing mercy to others but to fully embrace mercy. Often people show mercy but do so in the begrudging way. Their attitude is wrong. Though they show mercy, they don’t love it. In fact, they may hate it.
God wants us to love showing mercy to others. Isn’t that what he does for us? Shouldn’t we follow his example and do it for others?
Walk Humbly with God
Humility is a word we don’t hear very often anymore. In today’s culture, humility is no longer an esteemed characteristic. In truth most people look down on the humble and dismiss them. Instead society embraces the bold, egotistical, and controversial. However, in God’s kingdom, this is the wrong perspective.
God requires us to walk humbly with him. And when we walk humbly with him, the natural outgrowth is humility toward others.
A Final Thought about What God Requires of Us
Though Micah directs these expectations of what God requires to the nation of Israel, these points are consistent with his character and more broadly applicable to us. Yet these fall short of a command for us to obey today.
Even so we are well advised to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. If God expected his people to do this thousands of years ago, is there any reason he doesn’t expect it from us today?
Learn more about all twelve of the Bible’s Minor Prophets in Peter’s book, Return to Me: 40 Prophetic Teachings about Unfaithfulness, Punishment, and Hope from the Minor Prophets
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.