Justice, Mercy, Love and Walking
In Micah 6:8, the prophet spoke to the people and told them exactly what the Lord wanted each of them to do. It was a personal matter that each individual sinner had to consider. The sinners reply emphasized moral and ethical conduct, and not religious ceremonies. Of course, we can’t “do justly” unless we’ve been justified by faith and are right with God (Ps. 32:1–2; Rom. 4:1–8). And how can we “love mercy” if we’ve not personally experienced God’s mercy? (Eph. 2:4; Titus 3:5). If we want to “walk humbly with [our] God,” we must first bow humbly before Him, confess our sins, and claim His promise of forgiveness (Luke 14:11; James 4:10).
Our Lord’s parable about the Pharisee and publican in the temple (Luke 18:9–14) illustrates all three points. The publican was justified by faith, not by doing the kind of good works that the Pharisee boasted about. Since the publican depended on God’s mercy to save him, he humbled himself before the Lord. The Pharisee, on the other hand, informed God (and whoever was listening in the temple) how good he was and therefore how much he deserved eternal life
To make Micah 6:8 a salvation text is to misunderstand what the prophet was saying to God’s disobedient covenant people. None of us can do what God requires until first we come to God as broken sinners who need to be saved. Unsaved people who think they are doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God are only fooling themselves, no matter how moral their lives may be. “Not by works righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us” (Titus 3:5).
The people to whom Micah ministered simply didn’t get the point of his messages. The very fact that they were so guilty before God should have motivated them to turn from their shallow religion, humble themselves, and seek God’s mercy. The only people God can save are lost people; the only people God can forgive are guilty people. If we see ourselves as God sees us, then we can by faith become what He wants us to become.
So today, what is our response to Micah’s plea to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humble with God?