Justice+Mercy: Week Four Study Guide

What does God require from us? In week four of our study through the Book of Micah, we’ll dive into Micah 6:1–8 and discuss exactly what pleases God, makes us more like Him, and draws others to Him. Watch as Pastor Doug Rasku and Denise Trio discuss these key themes and invite us into the conversation!

 

TALK IT OUT

Below, you’ll find some key discussion points to reflect on and questions to discuss in your small group, with your family, or in your circle of friends, as well as some action points for the week.

Memory Verse of the Week: Micah 6:8 (ESV)

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

Getting the Conversation Going: It’s not uncommon to flip through TV channels and come across a courtroom drama. In Micah 6, God calls Micah to summon Israel to a legal hearing. This hearing presents God Almighty as the plaintiff, the mountains and the earth’s foundations as witnesses, and the nation of Israel as the defendant. It’s certainly not the court scene you’d expect! God calls this hearing to demonstrate that He has upheld His part of the covenant. He references three major events in Israel’s past to make His case.

Israel on Trial: In Micah 6:1–6, God reminds Israel that He is the One who rescued them from slavery in Egypt. They were redeemed not by their own strength, but by God’s power alone. Next, God brings up that He is the One who blessed Israel and gave them favor over their enemies. And finally, God recounts that He is the One who led His people from the wilderness into the Promised Land; the One who ceased the waters of the Jordan for the Israelites to cross.

The jury is out. Who broke the covenant? Not God. Israel had forgotten its dependence on the Lord, forsaken their covenant with their maker, and turned to other nations and false gods. Like Israel, we can forget who God has been in our lives. When that happens, we turn to other sources for our identity, security, and strength and lose our sense of gratitude toward God.

Discussion Question 1: Why do we frequently forget what the Lord has done for us?

Discussion Question 2: How can we guard our hearts against ingratitude and complacency toward our Creator and cultivate gratitude in every season?

God’s Requirements: Have you ever asked someone, “What do you want from me?!” If so, it’s often an indication the relationship is under strain. After courtroom drama determines Israel’s guilt, you can almost hear the sarcastic and contemptuous tone of Israel as they ask the Lord a series of questions that basically ask, “What do you want from us, God?”

And what’s God’s response? As the Enduring Word Bible commentary puts it, God basically says, “You act as if it is some mystery what I require of you. In point of fact, it is no mystery at all. I have shown you clearly what is good and what I require of you.” It’s a short list . . . only three things.

Do justice: This term would have been understood by Micah’s audience as living with a sense of right and wrong. In particular, the judicial courts had a responsibility to provide equity and protect the innocent. Injustice was a problem in Israel at that time. This is a requirement of God because He is a God of justice. He is “close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18 NIV), He “watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin” (Psalm 146:9 ESV). In the same way, we’re told to “learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause” (Isaiah 1:17 ESV).

Love mercy: This phrase contains the Hebrew word hesed, which means “loyal love” or “loving-kindness.” Along with justice, Israel was to provide mercy. Both justice and mercy are foundational to God’s character (Psalm 89:14). Two powerful examples of this in the New Testament are Romans 5:8 (NIV), which tells us that “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” and Titus 3:3–5 (NIV emphasis added), declaring that “at one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appearedhe saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” And in the same way, God expects His people to show love to their fellow man and to be loyal in their love toward Him, just as He had been loyal to them (Micah 2:8-9; 3:10–11; 6:12).

Walk humbly: This requirement is a description of the heart’s attitude toward God. God’s people are to depend on Him rather than their own abilities (Micah 2:3). Instead of taking pride in what we bring to God, we humbly recognize that no amount of human striving can replace a heart surrendered to God’s lordship and His will, committed to justice and love. This is why God tells Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9–10 (NIV), “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” to which Paul responds, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Notice that just as Israel’s rhetorical “what do you want from us“ question had a three-part progression, Micah 6:8 contains a similar progression. The response of a godly heart is outward (do justice), inward (love mercy), and upward (walk humbly).

Discussion Question 3: How has God called you to do justice?

Discussion Question 4: What areas can you grow in showing loving mercy to those around you?

Discussion Question 5: What steps can you take in this season to walk humbly with God?

This Week: Take an honest inventory of how you feel about what God has asked you to do in your life? Does it seem like it’s too much, unfair, or that He seems unreasonable?   

A LOOK AHEAD

In our next study, we’ll conclude the Book of Micah with a discussion of Micah 6:9–7:20.

Additional Resources

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.