Summary: When we look at the world around us what is it that God wants from us? When we look at the blessings, the wonders, and the faithfulness that God has bestowed on us - what does God want from us as a people?
What Does God Really Want From Me?
Ever go through a time in life that everything that could go wrong did go wrong? When every time you thought you were getting a little ahead something or someone came along and pushed you back a few steps. Have you ever wanted to throw your hands up in the air and ask God “What do you want from me?” I have had a few of those moments lately.
The prophet Micah had a few of them too. Micah is among the minor prophets of Israel a giant in fighting for the underdog. Micah prophesied in the 8th century BC and was a contemporary of the prophets Isaiah and Hosea. The dominant issue of Micah’s day is the proliferation of a faith that was meaningless. The proliferation of a dead faith that did not reach into the lives of the people who practiced it. Among God’s people - Baal worship and even human sacrifice to the God Molech were being practiced. Micah looks at a world of injustice - at a world of apostasy - and speaks to an oppressed people when he answers the question “What does God want from me?”
When we look at the world around us what is it that God wants from us? When we look at the blessings, the wonders, and the faithfulness that God has bestowed on us - what does God want from us as a people? What does the Lord require of you?
1) That you Do Justly - the Hebrew word is Mishpât - mish pawt - it means literally justice as in a court of law. What Micah is says is that we should act with fairness, honesty, and integrity. We live in a society of Enrons, big companies who tip the scales in their favor- and a society of William Jeffersons - politicians with money in their freezers. 6:11 While it’s easy to find corporate greed and political corruption in our culture the truth is that it’s in us as well. We find it in our tax filing (getting paid under the table, hiding our tips, or simply lying about our income), our time clock punching, and even in the deals we make when we sell a car or a house. It’s funny how we justify sticking it to the next guy. What I want you to understand today is that doing what is right is fundamentally important to God. That we act with fairness, integrity, and honesty is at the heart of what it is to follow God. How you deal with your neighbor, your boss, or even a stranger is the heart of how you deal with God. This is Jesus message in the parable of the Good Samaritan. You cannot separate behavior from belief - that is exactly what was going on in Israel and it’s exactly what is going on today in the church. Belief and behavior are integrally linked.
2) That you Love kindness - the Hebrew word is Chesed hessed- it’s a very difficult word to translate into English. It is best translated as an idea of; loving-kindness, mercy, steadfast love, faithfulness, and devotion. The word is full of an implication of strength, steadfastness, and love. Micah calls on us to love mercy and kindness to others. To surround ourselves with compassion, empathy, and steadfast love for each other. I think it’s interesting that this term stands in the center of the triumvirate of Justice and walking with God. It tempers our justice and it flows from our walk with God. Justice without mercy is barbaric - yet mercy without justice leads to destruction. God calls on his people to love kindness or mercy. We are to be a people who love people with God’s own heart. Jesus said that the world would know us by “our love for one another.” Why? Because it is the distinctive pattern of the heart committed to God. I John 4:19 says “We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.” The heart that has been touched by the love of God is seen to exhibit and flow with the compassion, forgiveness, and love of God for others.