“Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or 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 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 6:6-8 (read 1-8)
The LORD God created us to be His own, do His will, and walk in His ways. When we rebelled against Him and turned to our own evil ways, He gave His only-begotten Son to redeem us that we might not be condemned but repent and turn to Him in faith and be forgiven, be His people, and have everlasting life (cf. Eph. 2:8-10; 2 Cor. 5:15).
But is He pleased with us if we only pay Him lip service and yet continue on in our own disobedient ways, doing our will and living according to our own sinful desires?
God’s people did this in the days of Old Testament Israel and Judah. They claimed to be God’s people and they worshiped Him outwardly with sacrifices and burnt offerings, but their hearts were far from Him. Instead of walking in His ways, they turned aside to their own ways and lived according to their own sinful desires (cf. Matt. 15:7-9; Isa. 29:13ff.).
What does God say? “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?”
God does not desire sacrifice or just going through the motions of confession. He desires that His people repent of their sinful ways, trust in Christ and His cross for pardon and forgiveness, and, as a fruit of His grace and mercy toward them for the sake of Christ our Savior, walk according to the LORD’s commandments, do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with their God.
In His Word, He has shown us what He requires and expects of His people. Rather than being dishonest and unjust, He desires that we live justly. Rather than being harsh and unmerciful, He desires that we be merciful and forgiving toward others as the LORD has been merciful to us — that we be “kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven” us (Eph. 4:32).
And, rather than walking in pride and self-righteousness and thinking we can earn God’s favor with our works and service, He would have us walk humbly with our God, acknowledging our sinfulness and unworthiness and trusting in His grace, mercy, and forgiveness for the sake of the holy life and innocent sufferings and death of His Son, Jesus Christ.
The Bible tells us that “the LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit” (Psalm 34:18; cf. 1 John 1:7 — 2:2). And, “God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble” (1 Pet. 5:5; cf. Matt. 5:1-12).
O LORD God, my only Hope and Salvation, grant that I trust in You and Your mercy for Jesus’ sake and walk humbly in Your ways, looking for and awaiting that Day when You will receive me into Your glorious kingdom which has no end. Amen.
[Scripture is quoted from the King James Version of the Bible.]