Summary: We often feel like asking, "Good God Almighty, what do you WANT from me?" Micah gives a clear answer -- to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.
What Does God Want From Me?
1 Listen to what the LORD says: "Stand up, plead your case before the mountains; let the hills hear what you have to say.
2 Hear, O mountains, the LORD’s accusation; listen, you everlasting foundations of the earth. For the LORD has a case against his people; he is lodging a charge against Israel.
3 "My people, what have I done to you? How have I burdened you? Answer me.
4 I brought you up out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery. I sent Moses to lead you, also Aaron and Miriam.
5 My people, remember what Balak king of Moab counseled and what Balaam son of Beor answered. Remember from Shittim to Gilgal, that you may know the righteous acts of the LORD."
6 With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?
7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
8 He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Andy was just an interesting fellow.
He’d never been out of his home town until he went to college.
He rarely showed any signs of emotion, but he had a great sense of humor.
He became a devoted Christian while we were in college, and often told people, “Just remember. Jesus loves me and he loves you.”
When he became angry, however, Andy would simply say in a deadpan fashion, with a completely straight face, “Just remember, Jesus loves me, and he LIKES you.”
But when things really went badly – I mean REALLY bad, he would eventually throw up his hands and look at the sky and yell, “Good God Almighty, what do you WANT from me?”
Haven’t you ever felt like doing that? Just looking up at God and pleading with Him, “Good God Almighty, what do you WANT of me?”
It just so happens that this is the message Micah presents in our Old Testament lesson for today.
Micah is one of the Minor Prophets, which is a collection of books that make up the last few pages of the Old Testament. We have been looking at the Minor Prophets for a few weeks, taking a look at a different one each week. Today we turn our attention to Micah.
Micah was the prophet of the downtrodden and exploited people of Judean society. He prophesied during a time of great social injustice and boldly opposed those who imposed their power upon the poor and weak for selfish ends.
As he preaches to the people, Micah himself raises the question that my old college roommate used to ask – “Good God almighty, what do you want of me?”
Of course, Micah is a bit more poetic – “What does the Lord require of us?”
The answer comes as a three-fold response, beginning with “act justly.”
I. ACT JUSTLY
Or, in other words, act with fairness, honesty, and integrity.
Micah had a special concern for justice, primarily because he saw so little of it.
What God requires of us is that we do what is right and fair in our relationships with other people.
Justice involves the sense of a standard of equality among people. It can be as simple as being honest in even the smallest routine business transaction. In Micah, the prophet complained about the person who uses “dishonest scales, with a bag of false weights.” (Micah 6:11)
There is an old saying, “honesty is the best policy.” But for the Christian, that slogan should be, “honesty is the ONLY policy.” Because this is a consistent theme in all of Scripture -- that we are called to be people of fairness and integrity in all our dealings.
In Psalm 51:6 we read, “You desire truth in the inward parts.”
In Proverbs 4:23 we read, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring all the issues of life.”
We must settle it deep in our hearts to be a people of integrity, and be on guard in the battle to “act justly.”
Micah tells us three things God requires of us. One is to act justly. Easy task. But it is hard to make a reality.
We are a nation of Enrons – and they are not all on a large scale.
We do the cheating on small scales that never make the headlines.
We cheat our neighbors.
If we can swindle an employee, or steal from our employer, we’ll find a way and do it.