Summary: How do we get guidance from the Lord? Begin with direction God has already given in His word. This message centers on the command to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8).
What does God want you to do? Have you ever found yourself asking that question? At one level it is a daily question. Someone gets upset with you at work; and you need God’s wisdom on how to deal with it. You’re at the department store trying to decide which coffee pot to buy. You whisper a quick prayer asking God which one to purchase. We are continually dependent upon the Lord to guide us even in the little daily decision. At another level, there are times when we need to make significant decisions that are not easy to make. You are doing ok on your job; but you just received an offer with better pay. Is it God’s will or not? Are there factors here that I can’t possibly know? How easy will it be to work for my new boss? What will the coworkers be like? God, what do you want me to do?
I am not here to give you the answer to those kinds of questions. But I want to share with you from the word of God a foundational point of guidance that keeps the other decisions in perspective. The process of deciding to take the new job offer or not, can be stressful. We don’t want to make a bad decision. Wrong turns consume time, energy, and money. Most of us don’t have a lot of that to spare. So when we’re faced with choices we have to know in our hearts, there are some things this decision will not change. There are some things that remain settled. There are some things that are not negotiable at all.
So the question is, “God, what do you want me to do?” The undergirding answer to that question is found in our text today. Mic 6:8 “He has shown you….” To an extent He has already revealed the answer. “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?”1 First, we will consider the context of this statement. Second, the content of the statement.2 Third, the capacity of this statement to bring stability in our lives.
God made this statement to Israel during a time when the nation was not walking close to Him. God’s people had forgotten His goodness to them. They had developed a religious system that had a semblance of piety in it; yet, the hearts of the people were far from God.3 Follow with me as we read our verse in context, beginning in verse 1.
Mic 6:1-8 “Hear now what the LORD says: ‘Arise, plead your case before the mountains, And let the hills hear your voice. 2 Hear, O you mountains, the LORD's complaint, And you strong foundations of the earth; For the LORD has a complaint against His people, And He will contend with Israel. 3 "O My people, what have I done to you? And how have I wearied you? Testify against Me.4 4 For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, I redeemed you from the house of bondage; And I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. 5 O My people, remember now What Balak king of Moab counseled, And what Balaam the son of Beor answered him, From Acacia Grove to Gilgal, That you may know the righteousness of the LORD.’ 6 With what shall I come before the LORD, And bow myself before the High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, With calves a year old? 7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, Ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 8 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 lived from about 750 to 686 BC. The first few verses in the book tell us the kings who were Micah’s contemporary.5 Micah actually prophesied the downfall of the Northern kingdom and the eventual desolation of the Southern kingdom.6 He was a contemporary of Isaiah and both prophets pointed out this issue of religious activity verses moral sincerity and obedience. So the verse we’re about to consider stands in contrast to the questions raised in verses 6 & 7. “With what shall I come before the LORD, And bow myself before the High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, With calves a year old? 7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, Ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” All of these possibilities involve efforts to appease God: blood sacrifices of calves and rams; rivers of oil offerings. Then the ultimate sacrifice (something far from God’s desire): they would even slaughter their firstborn children. They gave God everything but the one thing He wanted: obedience!