“With what shall I come before the Lord,
and bow myself before God on high?
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 thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
8 He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
For many this reading from the prophet Micah is one that informs how they live their faith – doing justice, loving kindness and walking humbly with God (vs. 8). When we read beyond verse 8 we recognize that someone (in this case it is the people of Israel**) is concerned about WHAT he has to give to God, WHAT God “demands” of him. He wants to know what sacrifices are worthy of God’s love and favour.
The prophet responds, in essence, that God is not looking for your “stuff”. God is looking for YOU – the YOU that lives in relationship with God’s people and with God. God has told us what is good. Justice, kindness and walking humbly with God.
On one hand that seems so simple. On the other hand sometimes it can feel like there is so much that needs to be done and so many places where justice and kindness are needed in our world that it can feel overwhelming. How do we walk humbly with God, when we don’t even know what the first step should be? When we think this way, it can become immobilizing.
On my desk, in that pen holder I told you about a few weeks ago, is another little reflection that can be helpful when we wonder where to begin.
“Great occasions to serve God come seldom, but little ones surround us every day.”
Today there will be an occasion to act justly and kindly. There will be an occasion to walk humbly with God. It might not be something huge or that will change the course of history. But it will be an opportunity for you to be in relationship with God and with God’s people. That is God’s invitation.
How might you respond?
God, today I want to serve you in some way. Open my eyes to see where I might do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with you. Open my eyes to see you walking with me. Amen.
**Chapter 6 of Micah is depicting a metaphorical courtroom scene where the Lord is lodging a legal complaint against Israel, with the Lord calling to Israel to defend itself, and all of creation to act as witnesses. In verses 6-8 Israel is asking what offering is needed to placate the Lord, and God rejects all of these material offerings in favour of qualities and behavior that have been lacking in Israel.
To Listen and Sing – if you know this, sing along and you’ll be singing it all day!!!
Here’s a great anthem version.