The Message of Micah
The prophet Micah presented a message of change and hope. He summed his call by the words: “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8). This message was not a new one and did not present an alteration in God’s demands.
God called His people to do justice and be merciful for “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7). He wanted them to walk humbly with God (Genesis 5:22; 6:9), that is, to order their lives in harmony with His will. This very message was affirmed through the personal testimony of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:16) and enlarged through the calls of the prophets.
A Heart Religion
The people of Micah’s day had the Pentateuch in writing, and certainly other books of the Bible, as well as the witness of contemporary prophets such as Isaiah and Hosea (Isaiah 1:1; Hosea 1:1; Micah 1:1). However, they seemed to have forgotten that external rituals are worthless without holiness and a loving acts. One of the main works of the prophets was to educate the people that mere formal religious practice could not take the place for inner transformation of character and obedience (1 Samuel 15:22; Psalms 51:16, 17; Isaiah 1:11–17; Hosea 6:6; Jeremiah 6:20; 7:3–7; John 4:23, 24). The Lord didn’t want sacrifices but the hearts of His children; not their worship but their thoughts.
The Goal of Religion
The goal of the plan of salvation was the restoration of humans to the image of the Creator (Genesis 1:26,27). This message was given to Adam and His offspring. God wanted His people to be rightouss (Exodus 21:1) and keep His Ten Commandments (Exodus 20: 3-17).
The goal of true faith is character development. External rituals are of value only if they help the change of character. But in themselves rituals are worthless (Micah 6:6,7). Because it is often easier to offer outward service than to transform the evil nature of the mind, people have ever been more willing to give outward worship than to develop the graces of God in their lives. Thus, it was with the scribes and Pharisees whom Jesus reproved. They very carefully kept the laws of tithing but neglected the “weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith” (Matthew 23:23).
Love to God and Man
“To do justly, and to love mercy” is to act graciously towards men. This thought sums up the last 6 commandments in God’s Law (Exodus 20:12-17; Matthew 22:39). And “to walk humbly with your God” is to live in harmony with His Commands which sums up the first four commandments of His law (Exodus 20: 3-12; Matthew 22:37, 38). Thus, love expressed in action with to God and men is “good”; it is all that God commands, for “love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10).
In His service,