What the Lord Requires

Opening Prayer

Search your heart. Take time now to converse with God and make sure your heart is right before him.

Read Micah 6:1–16

Listen to what the Lord says:

“Stand up, plead my case before the mountains;
let the hills hear what you have to say.

2 “Hear, you mountains, the Lord’s accusation;
listen, you everlasting foundations of the earth.
For the Lord has a case against his people;
he is lodging a charge against Israel.

3 “My people, what have I done to you?
How have I burdened you? Answer me.
4 I brought you up out of Egypt
and redeemed you from the land of slavery.
I sent Moses to lead you,
also Aaron and Miriam.
5 My people, remember
what Balak king of Moab plotted
and what Balaam son of Beor answered.
Remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal,
that you may know the righteous acts of the Lord.”

6 With what shall I come before the Lord
and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
7 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?
8 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.

Israel’s Guilt and Punishment
9 Listen! The Lord is calling to the city—
and to fear your name is wisdom—
“Heed the rod and the One who appointed it.
10 Am I still to forget your ill-gotten treasures, you wicked house,
and the short ephah, which is accursed?
11 Shall I acquit someone with dishonest scales,
with a bag of false weights?
12 Your rich people are violent;
your inhabitants are liars
and their tongues speak deceitfully.
13 Therefore, I have begun to destroy you,
to ruin you because of your sins.
14 You will eat but not be satisfied;
your stomach will still be empty.
You will store up but save nothing,
because what you save I will give to the sword.
15 You will plant but not harvest;
you will press olives but not use the oil,
you will crush grapes but not drink the wine.
16 You have observed the statutes of Omri
and all the practices of Ahab’s house;
you have followed their traditions.
Therefore I will give you over to ruin
and your people to derision;
you will bear the scorn of the nations.”

Reflect

Consider that you are talking to someone who is not a Christian, and he or she asks you what it means to follow Jesus. What do you say?

I’ll admit it: I like John Grisham books and TV shows with courtroom drama. There is something about law courts that I find compelling. I think it has to do with the clever arguments, the search for the truth and the impact of the law on our daily lives.

In Micah 6, the courtroom is the world and the jury is the mountains, the very “foundations of the earth” (1,2). God is the prosecution and his people are the accused. They have made worship mechanical, a simple going-through- the-motions. They think that they can do what they want, as long as they pile up the animal sacrifices. They steal (11) and are violent and deceitful (12), yet they think that God will be pleased with them because they sacrifice “thousands of rams” (7).

In this court, ignorance is no defense, because God has shown them what is good, what he requires: “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (8). “Religious ceremony is useless,” Micah cries, “unless it is matched with justice, mercy and humility. Forget the vision of the future: what’s important is how we behave, here and now.”

Apply

How would you do in God’s courtroom? How does your life measure up? Let’s take Micah’s challenge to live as God requires.

Closing prayer

Merciful God, help me to “act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with [You]” all
the days of my life.

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider