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? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil, Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:6-8
What a question Micah asks… how can I possibly approach God? First, Micah acknowledges that approaching God must be done in humility - to bow down before the exalted God. But how can I come empty handed… with what shall I come before the Lord? There is a recognition that there is no offering worthy of Him… no amount of sacrifice... not even if I should offer my own firstborn child. There is an acknowledgement of the sinfulness of his sin… we have nothing we can offer to make up for our transgression. So, what is the answer? How can we come into God’s presence and be restored? What does God require, knowing we have nothing to offer in and of ourselves? And to DO justly… what does that mean? To DO comes from the Hebrew word (ʿāśâ) meaning to press, to squeeze, to act with effect. There is an action that must be taken on our part that requires effort to accomplish… to accomplish what? Justly - (mišpāṭ) in the Hebrew, meaning to decide a case or a controversy, to execute judgement. The follower of Jesus should be concerned with “doing” or “acting” on behalf of justice. We should always act justly ourselves, but it is more than that. If we see someone being treated unfairly, we should take notice and act accordingly. When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and many others took a stand against racial injustice, they were “doing justly.” Likewise today, when we see millions of innocent babies being murdered in their mother’s wombs and we speak out, we are “doing justly.” God is just and he is serious about justice. But He is not only just... He is love. Micah wrights we are to “love mercy.” We must not miss the importance of the word that is translated here as “mercy.” The Hebrew word is (hesed) and it carries great significance. Hesed is a covenant faithfulness, kindness, and loyalty. It is a completely undeserved generosity. It intervenes on behalf of others and comes to their rescue. It is so much more than we are capable of in and of ourselves. It is a divine attribute of God and is completely other than us and must therefore come from Him. God acts with hesed towards us… enters into covenant with us… out of kindness and undeserved generosity. Indeed He has already, according to his hesed, acted and intervened on our behalf. He has come to our rescue and defense. He sent his only Son as a sacrifice for us... the very thing we cannot do. Only the Son of God, the Messiah, the bread of life, the one who was and is and is to come... only he could truly manifest the hesed of the Father. Only He could take away the sin we were incapable of atoning for. We cannot “do” or “act” hesed… we can only receive it, embrace it, treasure it, and love it. Only God is capable of hesed, and if hesed is to flow in and through our lives to affect others… it can only come from Him. Oh, my friends, if you have ears to hear... and eyes to see... and hearts to receive... you will most assuredly love God's hesed. And it will change you.
Lastly, we are told to “walk humbly with our God.” If we encounter the hesed of God, this will be the result. The word “walk” comes from (yālaḵ) meaning to proceed, the manner in which we live our life. And humbly (ṣānaʿ)… meaning to keep close, to be at rest. Stop and think about that seriously for a moment.... to be at rest. To walk humbly with our God is to stay close to Him and to rest in his love… his hesed. To know you are loved, to know you are chosen, to know you are free from the bondage of sin, the penalty of sin, and the shame of sin... is truly a place of rest. And that state of being - that manner of living ones life, produces humility. The opposite of this “walk” is pride. Pride requires our own effort, it wears us down, it has to keep up appearances. Oh, but God’s way is one of rest… In Matthew 11:28-30 we read Jesus’ words “Come to Me all who toil and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
What does God require of you? To do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him. He has provided everything we need through His Son. He has made a way where there was no way. He has poured out his hesed, manifested through Jesus Christ. We have only to receive it with a thankful heart. What has he required? Only what He has already provided. What a savior! What a promise! If you have never surrendered to the hesed of God, you have only to call upon him now. Jesus said "no one comes to me unless the Father draws him" and "no one comes to the Father except through me." He made it perfectly clear when he said "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." You can experience God's hesed right now. If you will confess with your mouth "Jesus is Lord" and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. The gift of eternal life is available to you right now. Call on the name of Jesus, for their is no other name by which you can be saved. He is God's hesed. He is life. No matter what you have done, his blood can make you clean. His hesed can remove the shame. What love (hesed) the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God.
May you experience the hesed of God today. May you rest in His love. And may you know the joy unspeakab found only in His presence. May it be so, in Jesus' name.