Micah 6:1-8 (NRSV)
Chapter 6Hear what the Lord says: Rise, plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice. Verse 2Hear, you mountains, the controversy of the Lord, and you enduring foundations of the earth; for the Lord has a controversy with his people, and he will contend with Israel. Verse 3"O my people, what have I done to you? In what have I wearied you? Answer me! Verse 4For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, and redeemed you from the house of slavery; and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. Verse 5O my people, remember now what King Balak of Moab devised, what Balaam son of Beor answered him, and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the saving acts of the Lord."
Verse 6"With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Verse 7Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?" Verse 8He has told you, O mortal, 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?
There may be some scriptures that leave doubt as to what God is really trying to say to us. This text is not one of them! It is powerfully straight-forward in its message regarding God’s expectations of humankind, especially from those who profess faith. The last verse in particular is cited as much as any from the Old Testament. The prophet Micah was speaking to his context, to a people whose leaders were ignoring their commitment to God’s covenant; but his message is timeless and would be well-served in every context. What does God require of you, O mortal? “Do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God.” Oh, that every corner of our world today would heed such wise counsel! May Micah’s admonition from this eighth verse resonate with us always, and through us to those whose lives we touch!
Thank you, Lord God, for revealing so clearly your expectations of us—and of all humankind—through the scriptures. Help us, even in times of doubt and challenge, to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with you. Amen.