TODAY’S SIGNATURE VERSE ••• 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? (Micah 6:8 NKJV)
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Pat Barrett’s song, “Act Justly, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly,” has been an ear-worm in my mind lately, and after weeks of pushing off this particular blog topic — here we are. This song is based on Micah 6:8, which says, “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?”
My hesitation in writing about it was solely based on the word “justly.” What does that mean? My heart says it’s not the kind of justice we think of in our modern culture. But before I get ahead of myself — let’s put a pin here and put this verse in context.
Micah 6 is a conversation between God and Israel. The Jews, not unlike centuries of mankind, just couldn’t understand the simplicity of what God was asking. They were looking to please Him through sacrifices and rituals. It was a matter of doing and trying instead of humble trust and faith. And what we find in Micah 6:8 is a short, sweet, to-the-point answer from God. And we also see a summation of God’s character. He is a just, merciful, good, and loving God who took the position of a humble Servant when Jesus was born in Bethlehem so many centuries ago.
So let’s break this down:
- “He has shown you, O man, what is good.”
God hasn’t made this hard. While Israel was, at the time, still under Mosaic Law while we live in the Age of Grace, the heart of the matter during either time boils down to this: Obedience.
God demonstrated His provision, care, love, mercy, and justice time and time again to the Israelites. He wanted them to be humble and obedient to Him, but they kept trying to earn things… they kept adding layers of complications to the Law… Jesus Himself said the Law could be summed up with two actions: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-40). If we do those two things — love God, love others — everything else falls into place.
But instead, we’re no different from those Israelites from yesteryear. We doubt the power of God’s grace that saves us and try to make this so much harder than it needs to be.
Obey God with faith in His Word and power. That’s what He’s called us to do.
- “And what does the Lord require of you But.”
It’s what He wants, not what we think He wants. God doesn’t leave us guessing about His will when we bow before Him, study His Word, pray, and want His will more than we want our own. God has given us everything we need to follow Him.
- “to do justly,”
Here’s the word I was stuck on for a while. Justice is a key, foundational part of God’s character. Our modern (often progressive) churches only want to focus on His loving side.
It’s a loving justice that brings awareness to unfairness and inequity. But to be clear before we go much further — I strongly believe our world’s definition of “social justice” is not the same as God’s justice. GotQuestions.org has an excellent article on this titled, “What does the Bible say about social justice?” I encourage you to read it.
Should we help those less fortunate than us? Absolutely we should! But to care for those also means to protect the unborn and respect that all life has value because we are made in the image of God. Never, at any point in time, were any of us a “clump of cells.” Growth, even in utero, is a demonstration of life… a life God created. We have no right to end it.
Justice also includes showing compassion to the elderly. It means seeing people as Jesus does and not making biased judgments based on skin or nationality.
But to dismiss God’s sense of justice, or attempt to rewrite it, so it’s only about fairness, is a huge mistake. Because justice is also what defines right from wrong. Justice doesn’t turn a blind eye to sin — even sin that our modern world celebrates and calls good.
It’s God’s justice that punishes sins. His justice doesn’t dismiss it or ignore it or make excuses for it. He is a holy God, and we, too, should hate sin.
But it’s through His mercy that the wrath of His judgment was poured out on Christ instead. No matter what our personal brand of sin, when we confess Jesus and give our lives to Him, God’s wrath and justice are satisfied because of Jesus’ work on the cross. 2 Corinthians 5:21 reminds us of this, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
Justice is a highly complicated, multi-layered word only because our society has made it one. When God tells us to act justly — we need to follow His version. Not the world’s.
- “To love mercy,”
I have a note that hangs in my prayer room:
“Justice gives me what I deserve. Mercy doesn’t give me what I deserve. Grace gives me what I don’t deserve.”
You may want to read that again. Slowly. Out loud.
Mercy is another multifaceted word, but let’s go to the mercy of God that forgives us when we repent and turn our back on sin.
Peter asked Jesus the question, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” (Matthew 18:21). Jesus replied, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:22). He then went on to share a parable we know as “The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant” (Matthew 18:23-35).
We are forgiven because of God’s mercy. Therefore, as forgiven people, we need to extend forgiveness to others. Because we are the recipients of mercy, we must show mercy.
- “And to walk humbly with your God?”
Ah, humility. I personally love the definition from C.S. Lewis, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” And I’m going to add to this: “And thinking of God more.”
What if we spent our days weighing every word, thought, and action with this question: “Will this honor God?” What if we remembered that it’s not about God keeping up with us? But it’s about planting our feet firmly in His footsteps, trusting that the path He leads us down is far better than the one we would choose…
What if we remembered that Jesus had a lot to say on humility and even modeled it for us. Let’s read Mark 10:42-45, “But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
When we break down Micah 6:8, it’s so simple: “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?”
Today, as you pray, thank God for the simplicity of His commands. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you have an obedient heart. Ask for the wisdom to know God’s justice and live it… ask for a measure of His kindness that extends forgiving mercy… and ask for help staying humble so you can serve God first and others second.
SHARING ••• My Grace-Full Life is written by Denise Heidel. You are welcome to share anything I write, but please credit my writing and graphics accordingly. Visit www.MyGraceFullLife.com to read past blogs. Subscribe through my website to have My Grace-Full Life delivered to your email. You can unsubscribe at any time. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the NKJV translation.