This is what God gave me today in His word:
“With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, 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 has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:6-8)
We’re told four things here: first, that God wouldn’t be ‘pleased’ with our sacrifices (he isn’t pleased if we offer our firstborn son). Then we’re told the three things God has commanded us to do: to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God. — On a side note, those three things aren’t for salvation; we don’t ‘do justice,’ etc. to be saved. We’ll talk more about that in a bit. But for now, lets look at the first thing that we can see:
God Doesn’t Like Our Sacrifices
Now, Micah doesn’t actually go right out and say that God doesn’t like sacrifices. Rather, he shows us some examples of sacrifices we may offer, then says what God actually does require for us to do, and, as sacrificing isn’t in “the list”, its inferred God doesn’t ‘want it’… With that being said, we are told to ‘present ourselves as living sacrifices’ in the New Testament (see Romans 12:1). So, because of that, its reasonable to assume that here Micah is only referring to sacrifices of things which are important to us, and things which we think would draw us closer to God, but in reality aren’t helpful at all (i.e. sacrificing bulls, our first born, etc..). Meaning, in essence, that God doesn’t want us to offer works, He wants us to offer ourselves. Of course, offering ourselves will naturally lead to works, but the works wont be in an effort to be made right with God (which seems to be what Micah is referring to).
Now that we’ve said that… Why doesn’t God want us to offering a couple thousand rams? After all, doesn’t He like seeing a couple thousand of His creations burning? Well, to start with, Isiah tells us all our works are like filthy rags (see: Isaiah 64:6), so no, God doesn’t really like seeing His people wiping themselves with dirty rags, in an effort to make themselves clean. But more, much, much, much more importantly than that, is this:
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (3:16)
So much more worse to God than seeing His people trying to “clean” themselves by their own works, is seeing them reject His free offer of a bath! He hates seeing them struggling to get clean, while all the while He’s offering to wash them clean; to remove any and all stains. Which is why He hates to see us virtually offering our first-born up; He’s already done it! He already offered His son on our behalf, there’s no need for us to do so.
Now, rather obviously in Micah’s time, Jesus hadn’t yet died and risen again. But even then God didn’t like sacrifices, and so set up several things for them to do; i.e. love judgment and the rest – along with several other things, it’s just those three where the most important… Speaking of which, lets look at those three things now:
God Wants us to ‘Do Justice’, ‘Love Kindness,’ and ‘Walk Humbly with Our Lord’
Now, obviously this wasn’t the only things that the Israelites were supposed to do, and neither is it for us. However, as Christians and as an expression of our love for our Lord, we are to be just, kind, and walk humbly with God. But more than that, look at the verbs (I think they’re all verbs, possibly minus the first one) attached to each action: “Do,” “Love,” and “Walk Humbly.”
“Do” implies action. Its doing, its active. “Do”, is a command, not a statement (such as “done”). “Love,” is also an action, but according to Paul it’s also far more:
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
“Walk”, isn’t just standing still (… Rather obviously). It means movement, rather than just standing by. “Humbly,” means with respect. It means knowing that we’re far inferior to a mighty, all-powerful God. It means submissiveness; we’re to submit to Him, and what He tells us to do. So, we’re supposed to actively try to do justice (in a loving manner), we’re to love doing kindness, and we’re to humbly walk with our Lord.
Finally, in closing, I would like to say this: we aren’t to do the three things I just mentioned because, as, again, I already mentioned, God doesn’t like seeing His people trying to wipe themselves clean with filthy rags. Instead, we’re to do those things because we’re Christians, and as such its our duty to, even if only by our actions, show the love, compassion, and justice of God to others. i.e. We should do it because we should want to, and even if we don’t want, we should do them because its our duty as soldier in the Lord’s army to do them (a soldier must be just, kind to those not his enemies, and must be in constant, humble, connection with his leader).
You are Loved!
P.S. I recently re-read this post, and saw that my spelling was rather dramatically off (to say the least), and thus the point of what I was trying to say was somewhat diminished. I plan on fixing it in the near future, but in the mean time, please forgive the errors.