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November 21, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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In the Book of Micah, the prophet is announcing God’s judgement that will come upon Israel and Judah because of their sinful behavior. Verse 6:8 explains that God had let the people know what He expected of them. “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 6:8 NIV).
God had shown His people that He is a God of justice. He told Jonah, “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” (Jonah 1:2 NIV). The Israelites knew that God was just considering the offerings and sacrifices they were to make as outlined in Leviticus.
In showing that He is a just God, He wanted His people to follow his example and be just themselves. He didn’t want them to simply go through the motions of sacrifice; He wanted them to sacrifice themselves. God’s idea of justice was for His people to do the right thing, rather than continuing in sin and making ritualistic sacrifices hoping to compensate for their sinfulness.
To ‘act justly’ is to treat others the way we want to be treated. It is to impartially listen to all sides of a story before judging a situation. God wants us to take responsibility for our part in conflict and for us to be peacemakers, seeking to mend damaged relationships.
Time and time again, God had shown mercy to the Israelites. He led them out of Egypt, opened the seas for them to walk through, killed off the enemies that were chasing them, and fed them miraculous food in the wilderness. When the Israelites finally came to the promised land, God gave them victory over the people who were living there and allowed the Israelites to settle there.
God’s ultimate act of mercy was sending Jesus to die so we don’t have to. He wants us to be merciful to others as He has been merciful to us. Mercy is giving others the benefit of the doubt during a disagreement. We should overlook minor offenses without mentioning them. With mercy and benevolence we are to help those in need. This is the kind of mercy God desires from us.
As the Israelites were about to enter the promised land, God reminds them of His justice and mercy and instructs them about humility. In Deuteronomy, God reminds His people that He led them through the wilderness to humble them and test their faithfulness and fed them with manna “to teach (them) that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:3 NIV).
God wanted His people to be humble as they followed Him. Jesus gave us an example of humility: “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made Himself nothing, by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness” (Philippians 2:6-7 NIV).
God wants us to follow Jesus’ example by reaching out to others rather than being absorbed with our own issues. He instructs us to “Value others above yourself” (Philippians 2:3 NIV). Humility is not self-depreciation. God does not want us to devalue ourselves, but to have a modest, realistic view of ourselves.
God has shown us what it means to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him, and He expects us to follow His example. God’s love embodies all three of these. As we read His word and learn more about His love, we will be better equipped to imitate His justice, mercy, and humility.
Elizabeth Wheeler is a content creator and copywriter mainly for the Christian and homeschool markets. She lives in Boca Raton with her husband and their two children. She enjoys writing, reading, and spending time with her family.