“‘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? 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?’ He has told you, O man, 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?” Micah 6:6-8
It is the human condition that we want to contribute what we want to give toward our acceptance by God, in our worship, for our very salvation. There is something in us that wants credit, wants acknowledgement for our sacrifice, wants to ‘do’ so we can know we’ve done something to deserve God’s favor–it’s in our DNA since Adam. And it is a method God rejects. Here in Micah He exposes this pride, this self-will, this desire-run-amok, and counters the proposed list with a very simple requirement that costs what we don’t like to measure: do justice, love kindness, walk humbly with God. That’s all.
That ‘all’ is not easy when we want to determine our own gifts for God, when we want to choose what we will give up and what we must hold on to, and when and how we will serve. We say we have rights, we have needs, we deserve comfort, we can control our worlds and donate some from our bounty and that’s enough, we can give when it is convenient and feels good. God says I want your heart, your willingness to see the world and your life my way, in the grand scheme of my perfection and purposes; I am asking that you surrender your self-righteous ways at the cross, to walk alongside me in humility, to live extravagantly in kindness toward others in ways that are subversive to our culture, and to love unselfishly and mercifully as I do. That’s all.
“Nothing in my hands I bring, Simply to Thy cross I cling.” ~Augustus Toplady (1740-1778)
O LORD, only You can work this willingness in me, and train my perspective to be like Yours in every encounter, every choice. Release me from my lists and write Your good word on my heart and into my living. Mark my moments and days with justice, lovingkindness, and humility of Calvary, that You are the One seen and known in the works of my hands.