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Thursday, March 17, 2011

What does God want from us? (Micah 6:8) Part 3

Part 3-“What does the Lord require of you?

When we understand the messages of the prophet Micah, we realize that Jesus didn’t just make all this stuff up as He went along. He stood in the long line of Hebrew prophets who called their people to "walk humbly" with their God.

“What does the Lord require of you? To do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God.”

The God whom Jesus called “Abba,” “Father,” has the same expectations of us that God had of the Hebrew people in Micah’s day. As Christians who have received the gracious gift of God’s love, we too have been delivered from slavery, from bondage to all that could have kept us from living as Jesus lived and loving as Jesus loved.

And if Micah were here today, I think he would ask us if we have forgotten our covenant with God.

I think Micah might say to us: You have been delivered from slavery and arrived in your version of the promised land. You enjoy a life of freedom and the abundance of the land, but you have forgotten God and your relationship with God and you have forgotten what you need to do to maintain that relationship.

As He said to the Hebrews, God says, “When you are free and safe and fat and happy, remember me.”

And like the Hebrew people, we would protest. We’d probably say something like, “Gee whiz God, I go to church every Sunday. I support my church’s ministry. What more do you want from me?”

And then we are reminded of Micah, who would say, “What does the Lord require of you?” And you would now have to answer: “To do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God.”

He would say, “It doesn’t matter where you are on Sundays, if you are not walking humbly with your God on Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday and Friday and Saturday. And we might even counter, “But God, we live in a Christian nation. Our leader is compassionate. We boldly proclaim our Christianity to all the world.”

And Micah might come back saying, “It doesn’t matter if you post the Ten Commandments on all your public buildings if only the rich can afford justice in your courts. It doesn’t matter that you stand up for prayer in schools, if you deny poor children the health-care that all children should have access to.

It doesn’t matter if you are pro-life and demand that no fetus ever be aborted, if you refuse to provide the resources and the tax dollars, to keep them fed, and healthy and educated once they get here.

It doesn’t matter that you shout loudly when somebody wants to take “In God We Trust” off your currency, if your whole life is consumed with consuming and acquiring, with buying the things that those dollars can get for you!"

“What does the Lord require of you? To do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God.”

What must we do to walk humbly with our God? What does that mean in practical every day terms?

We must be vigilant in our personal and political lives to make sure that every child of God is treated equally and fairly.

We must be certain that no child of God is left behind in slavery to the forces of greed.

We must live as Jesus lived and love as Jesus loved.

“What does the Lord require of you? To do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God.”

Jesus said it this way in John 13:34-35 (from the NIV translation)

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

And how do we love one another? We do justice, we love kindness and we walk humbly with our God.

Is the stuff of justice, and kindness, and walking with God important enough to alter our walk? Is it important enough to alter the way we live?

[ more later...]

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