He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? — Micah 6:8
At my work, we needed to expand our work force. However, hiring a new employee can be a very laborious process. After a supervisor writes up the job description, it must pass through three or four different offices for review and approval. At any one point, the job description may (and often does) get lost in a pile of papers and stay on someone’s desk for weeks before passing on to the next step. After the job has been posted and applications have been received, interviews must be arranged — usually a total of three or four sessions of interviews for each short-list candidate. A selection committee steers the process and the final decision on the new hire is made in joint meetings with the director and his superiors in the office.
Attempts have been made to simplify this procedure, for obvious reasons. Applicants have to wait for a very long time to find out whether they are going to get the job or not, and some qualified candidates bow out, preferring to go with another job prospect that they heard from sooner. The office also has to work short-staffed for a long time as they wait for a new staff member to join the team.
One may well ask why it is so hard to simplify the hiring process, and why did it ever get so complicated in the first place? The qualifications for the position were straightforward. Finding a qualified person who wants to work for our office should be a relatively simple task. Too often seemingly simple goals become terribly complicated in office life.
Yet it doesn’t always take an office to complicate things. We often complicate our relationship with God and what it means to live for Him, when God always intended it to be simple. “What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” God’s ways are simple and easy to understand. Let us not be guilty of complicating His perfect plan and missing the blessing. We need to ask God to remind us that we are His children, and we should endeavor to love God with all our hearts, as a child loves his father. If each day we ask Him to help us live according to this focus verse, and then we listen and obey His instructions, He will give us the grace to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with Him. Keep it simple.
God inspired Micah to use a courtroom setting for this admonition to the Children of Israel. God asked them to “testify against me.” Then God listed what He required and how they had done wrong.
The people were complaining against God. They had no peace because of their own sins, but they blamed God for that lack of peace. God recounted all that He had done for them from the time of the Exodus, and it was all good. He used a particular example, the case of Balaam. When a wicked king (Balak) was out to destroy Israel, he enlisted a corrupt prophet (Balaam) to curse them. God not only kept Balaam from cursing them, but forced Balaam to pronounce a great blessing on Israel, and judgment to the king he was working for! (See Numbers 22-24.) This alone should have been enough to convince the people that God was not unfair and that He wanted only the best for them.
At this time, people were going through the motions of worshiping God while they complained about Him and sinned against Him. They came with their sacrifices, followed the letter of the law on sacred rituals, and then were angry with God for not making things better in response to their sacrifices. Micah pointed out that all the sacrifices in the world would not please God without love for God in the heart. Sacrificing one’s own children (as some Israelites undoubtedly had done, mixing the practices of Baal worship with worship of God) was not pleasing to God. Ironically, what God really wanted was much simpler. He wanted the people to surrender their lives to Him and live His way; doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with Him. Yet, they found it difficult because they wanted their own ways.
In contrast to the pure life God wanted them to have, the people in the cities oppressed the poor and lived by lies. Micah said the punishment would be what Moses had foretold: “Thou shalt eat, but not be satisfied; and thy casting down shall be in the midst of thee; and thou shalt take hold, but shalt not deliver; and that which thou deliverest will I give up to the sword. Thou shalt sow, but thou shalt not reap; thou shalt tread the olives, but thou shalt not anoint thee with oil; and sweet wine, but shalt not drink wine” (Micah 6:14-15).
This would be the opposite of what God had given the Children of Israel when He brought them into Canaan, where they received houses and fields, orchards and vineyards that others had built and planted. Because the people in Micah’s day did not obey God, He promised them the alternative, which was far from pleasant.
The “statutes of Omri” referred to the Omri dynasty of Israel, of which Ahab was the most infamous ruler. Not only did his Baal worship continue, but other corrupt, oppressive edicts of his reign were in force as well. As a result, God’s judgment would be upon the nation.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
IV. The message of forgiveness
A. The controversy of Jehovah (6:1-16)
1. The summons of Jehovah (6:1-2)
2. The challenge of Jehovah (6:3-8)
a. The review of past faithfulness (6:3-5)
b. The question of the people (6:6-7)
c. The reply of the prophet (6:8)
3. The declaration of Jehovah (6:9-16)
a. The announcement of judgment (6:9)
b. The cause of judgment (6:10-12)
(1) Dishonesty (6:10-11)
(2) Violence and deceit (6:12)
c. The course of judgment (6:13-16)
(1) Desolation (6:13)
(2) Hunger (6:14)
(3) Leanness (6:15)
(4) Destruction (6:16)
Today, keep it simple! Purpose to follow God’s instructions, and just see how He will bless your life.