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. Micah 6: 8
Do you have certain requirements for others? If you think about it, we all have those things we refuse to compromise on that we expect from those around us.
I think I knew early on in our relationship that Wake Forest basketball and football, golf, and all other sports were going to be a big part of my life with Bob, but because I loved him and knew these things would make him happy, it has never been a sacrifice or a major issue between us. I even grew to enjoy them with him! He knew that family was very important to me and He shared those same values. Both of us expected the other to be honest, faithful, dedicated to our marriage, our children, and to God. During our 41 years together, meeting each other’s expectations was important to both of us.
As for Kelly and Scott, we always wanted them to be respectful, loving, and caring human beings, and we can proudly say they have been. In return we tried to always be the best parents we could be.
I have expected my friends to be faithful, loving, encouraging, and accepting of me for who I am and I have always tried to honor them in the same way. For the most part, all of us are willing to meet those reasonable conditions or requirements others have for us because we want to have the most loving and trusting relationships we possibly can. Of course, we all let those we care about down from time to time, and when we do, hopefully we can acknowledge it and work on being the best we can be.
But sometimes, it seems a little uncomfortable for us to think that God might have requirements for us, as well. But in all His goodness to us, it shouldn’t. He deserves our full devotion and love just as those special people in our lives do.
This verse has been called “one of the greatest passages in the Old Testament”, one that stands out among the rest. Micah, one of the minor prophets, in speaking to God’s people made it clear that God had shown them what was good, what His expectations were, and they were “to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”
They are just as applicable to us today as they were thousands of years ago. In the same way our requirements for others are important to us and our happiness, these three are significant to God as we show Him our love and respect.
In expecting us to act justly, God is asking that we be honest and have integrity. He desires that we do what is right and fair in our relationships with other people – to become more concerned with their well-being and to come to the understanding that every human being matters.
This verse is not referring to justice in terms of government or a court of law, but He makes it clear that our sense of justice should arise out of our hearts and out of our love for others. As for loving mercy, he desires that we show compassion, sympathy, gentleness, benevolence, forgiveness, helpfulness, kindness, and tender love toward each other. As God genuinely loves us, He expects us to do the same to those around us. And last, but not least, we are told “to walk humbly with YOUR God”. With OUR God.Without a shadow of a doubt, we should know that we are deeply loved and cherished by Him.
Jesus said the greatest virtue of all was the one of humility as we walk with God. We should not be full of arrogance or become too self-focused, but ready to listen to the needs of others and to the desires of God. This humility requires constant communication with God through prayer and His Word. It should always be a humbling thought and a honor to come before His presence.
These three requirements are what God asks of us. And He knows that in our weakness, we may not even begin to know how to follow these divine requests. But if we ask, He will work in us to conform our hearts and our will to His. May we always “act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God!” He deserves our best!
Dear God, we know that we often fail to meet the expectations that you have for us. Help us to be just and fair to others, to show kindness and mercy at all times, but especially help us to walk humbly with you. We thank you for your presence in our lives and for your abundant love and grace. May we always give you the honor, glory, and praise you so richly deserve. Amen