“He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Sometimes the Bible is looked at like a book of vast and complex rules, and some people are left wondering, “What does God really want of me anyway? What must I do to make God happy? Must I sacrifice animals like the Israelites did in early Bible days? Must I fast so many times a week, attend church services, or tithe a certain amount?”
These verses from the book of Micah show that what God expects is far simpler than we might imagine. What Micah said to the Israelites still applies to all people of all walks of life today.
1. To do justly
To do justly means to live in conformity to rules and laws, which includes the laws of both God and man. It also involves treating our fellow man legally, morally and ethically right. We all want to be treated “fair,” but fairness is not always in ready supply in this world today. It sometimes seems like a dog-eat-dog world.
In Zechariah’s day, the people were not living justly. They did not show compassion for one another, nor did they help those in need like God’s word commanded them to do. Because they refused to do justly, God allowed their nation to be led into captivity to teach them a lesson. When they became oppressed by another country, then they realized how important it was to do God’s will and treat others rightly and fairly. (Zechariah 7:8-14)
Just a chapter over in Zechariah 8, God says He will now do good to Israel and Judah, but these are the things they must do:
“These are the things you shall do:
Speak each man the truth to his neighbor;
Give judgment in your gates for truth, justice, and peace;
Let none of you think evil in your heart against your neighbor;
And do not love a false oath.
For all these are things that I hate,’
Says the Lord .” (Zechariah 8:16-17)
I personally believe that Matthew 6:33 sums it all up:
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
When we put God first in our lives, we will seek to study and learn more about Him and His word. We will also pray to Him and develop a relationship with Him. As we do this, He will live with us take care of us and provide us, and guide us in what is just and right.
2. To love mercy
According to Dictionary.com, mercy means ” compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’s power; compassion, pity, or benevolence.”
Therefore, mercy involves showing kindness and forgiveness to someone even when they don’t deserve it.
We have some good examples of this in the Bible, such as the parable Jesus told of a creditor who had two debtors. One owed him a large amount of money, and the other a small amount. However, neither of the debtors could pay what they owed, but the creditor decided to forgive them their debts anyway. He did not have to do this, but he did it anyway. This is mercy. (Luke 7:41-42)
Through Christ, God has shown great mercy to us. We didn’t deserve for God to send His Son to die for us and take away our sins, but He did it anyway. Every day, God pours blessings on us even when we don’t deserve it because He is a God of mercy.
The reason it is so important to God that we show mercy to others is because He has shown us great mercy, and He wants us to be like Him.
“But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.” (Luke 6:35-36)
“Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.”(Micah 7:18-19)
3. To walk humbly with your God
Humbly is defined as ” not proud or arrogant; modest, and humble as well as courteously and respectful.”
What does it mean to walk humbly with God? It means allowing Him to rule in your life, not taking matters into your own hands, and seeking to do things His way even when you feel like doing them your own way. For example, you may not feel like doing a good favor for someone who has mistreated you, but you do it anyway for God’s sake.
“A humble heart and spirit is what pleases God
For thus says the High and Lofty One
Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
“I dwell in the high and holy place,
With him who has a contrite and humble spirit,
To revive the spirit of the humble,
And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” (Isaiah 57:15)
Jesus says for us to learn to be like Him, for He is “meek and lowly in heart.” (Matthew 11:29) If you want to know how to live humbly, study the life of Jesus. See how He lived, how He talked, how He acted, how He treated others, how He faced adversity and conflict, how He loved others, and how He put God’s will first in His life no matter what.
Sometimes, people equate humility with weakness, and they refuse to be humble, but we must always remember what Jesus says about this:
“And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12)
If you truly want victory in your life, it begins with humility.
What God wants is three simple things: Live justly, show mercy, and walk humbly before Him. If we make these three commandments priorities in our lives each day, all the other laws and commandments of the Bible will fall into place in our lives naturally and orderly.