Summary: We have a choice. We can live in the grasp of sin and evil, or we can give our hearts over to Jesus. He gave everything He had, including his life, to rescue us from sin, so it’s only fair that we give Him everything we have, including our lives.
How many of you have even been in court because of a lawsuit? If so, then the passage from Micah 6:1-8 sounds very familiar. This passage resembles a lawsuit that is being heard in court. Micah calls creation as a witness. The mountains, present throughout all of Israel’s history, are called on as witnesses, because they have “seen” all that the Israelites have done. God’s creation has witnessed the relationship between God and His people, so it was well-suited to reach a just verdict in this case.
God questioned His people and gave them a chance to respond. God told of His faithfulness to his people in the past and demands obedience to the covenant he established with His people. The Israelites believed that God has wronged them. He challenged them to provide evidence to support their claims. He directed the events surrounding their flight from Egypt. When they remembered what He did for them in the past, their faith was strengthened.
God showed in this passage that he was willing to set things right. He was not unjust to the Israelites, nor did He ask too much from them. He addressed them tenderly and compassionately. He kept the promises He made.
On the other hand, the Israelites did not keep their promises. Spiritual blindness led them to offer everything except the one thing that God really wanted-a spiritual commitment from their hearts. Right behaviour would have resulted from this commitment. God isn’t interested in sacrifices. He is more concerned with our attitudes. They come from the deepest part of our lives-our hearts-and show themselves in positive actions toward God and His people.
God displayed considerable emotion in His dispute with Israel. For the Israelites to claim that God wearied them gave the impression that he did something to make them impatient and disobedient. In reality, He had mightily delivered them-from Egypt to Gilgal-in fidelity to His righteous nature and covenant promises.
In verses 6-8, Micah summarizes the laws of Moses into three commands. These few things are what God truly desires of His covenant people, not innumerable sacrifices offered without a commitment to faithful living. The word “mercy” in the Hebrew language includes the idea of loyalty and faithfulness to God’s promises. When we repent and walk with God, He will show us mercy. In fact, He loves to show us mercy.
There is a connection between forgiveness and obedience. Since Israel had experienced a gracious remission of her sin of worshipping the golden calf, what sort of people were they to be now? The logical question for them to ask would have been, “What does God require of us?” The logical answer would have been the same things God provided to the Israelites when they repented: mercy, justice and humility. These things aren’t always easy to do. They are not one-time accomplishments to be completed and checked off a list. They will help us understand God’s heart, and in turn our own hearts will be shaped as we put these things into practice.
Living in humility simply means living by faith. We are not to give in to the evil temptations in this world. We are not to sit around and do nothing. We are to move forward in faith. We are to live aggressively for the truth.
Today, our society is in a situation that is similar to the situation the prophet Micah wrote about. We have lost our ability to function in society the way God wants us to live. He wants us to be a light to our world. People should be able to look at us and see something wonderfully different about us-something different that was created by our faith in Christ.
Some time ago, someone wrote to Billy Graham and ridiculed Christians who talk about things like sin and forgiveness. The writer said, “Why don’t you wake up and realize that we’re free to live any way we want to? We shouldn’t feel guilty when we follow our own desires. There’s no such thing as ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ in my view.”
Here’s part of Billy Graham’s reply:
“Do you honestly believe there is no such thing as right and wrong? Frankly, I seriously doubt it. Child abuse, poisoning the environment, hacking someone’s bank account, cheating a neighbour, lying to your friends, murder…I can think of a whole list of evils that you’d agree are always wrong.”
“But why are they wrong? And why are some things like helping others or taking care of the environment always right? Is it simply because society works better if we act this way? The real answer is deeper than this. The real answer is that God has told us how to live---and the reason is because He loves us, and He knows what is best for us.”