6. A Heart Like God's: Micah
When Jesus came to Earth, he perfectly embodied justice, kindness and humility. Because we are united to Jesus, we have the power to live likewise.
He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?
In the years leading up to the exile of Israel, God commissions an Israelite named Micah to confront the nation in their sin. Micah calls out the leaders of the community for their immoral ways: they run the land through bribery and oppression, with no concern for justice. Micah also confronts the prophets, God’s spokesmen, for their corruption: they have become greedy for material gain in their ministry work. And finally, Micah addresses those who have gotten wealthy by taking advantage of the poor.
In this, we see that the Israelites mistakenly believe their status as God’s people means they can live any way they want. But this is not the case. Belonging to God means a beautiful, non-negotiable calling on one’s life: to reflect God to the world. “What does the Lord require of you?” Micah 6:8 asks, “To do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”
God wants his people to do justice by stepping in and lifting up the vulnerable or oppressed.
God wants his people to love mercy by caring for others in compassionate generosity, not reluctant duty.
And finally, God wants his people to walk humbly by bringing their life in conformity to his will instead of pridefully living how they see best.
As a consequence for their neglect to love God and live accordingly, Micah warns that God will allow Israel to be conquered by foreign nations. But God also offers hope through Micah, promising to send someone who he describes as a shepherd and a king. This shepherd-king will gather his people, tenderly care for them, and enable them to live as God desires!
Jesus ultimately fulfilled this promise, coming to Earth and embodying everything God’s heart stands for:
Jesus did justice, serving the physically poor, vulnerable and disabled by recognizing their needs and bringing healing into lives. Jesus also did justice for the spiritually poor, all of us who have recognized our sin and need for a savior. He satisfied the justice of God, taking on the punishment for our sin and legally giving us an eternal, good standing before God.
Jesus loved mercy, delighting to extend compassion and grace. His mercy flowed out to people in their brokenness, even when they hurt and rejected him.
Jesus walked humbly with God, accepting his Father’s will for his life, even when it meant dying a painful death on a cross.
What God requires of us, he accomplished for us and in us through Jesus. When we believe in Jesus, we are united to him, and Christ’s perfect life of justice, mercy and humility is credited to us!
Our union with Christ means we have the power to live as God desires. It means when we realize the ways we’ve fallen short, we have hope!
RESOND: Take a moment to prayerfully reflect:
Do I do justice? Or do I merely love the abstract idea of justice? Is there concrete evidence in my life of loving and caring for vulnerable people?
God, give me a deeper understanding of my own vulnerability and of your sacrificial love that rescued me, that I might turn and show the same radical care to others.
Do I love mercy? Or am I hesitant or even irritated when compelled to forgive or care for someone?
God, help me sense your great joy and quickness to offer me mercy, that I might be softened to do the same.
Am I walking humbly with God? Or am I calloused and unmoved by God’s values and his calling on my life?
God, convict me of any other ways I am not living in conformity to your will. Equip me to live with a heart that reflects yours.