Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly. We’ve seen it on t-shirts, laptop stickers, and all over Christian Instagram feeds. These three statements given to us in this one passage hold a lot of truth in a little writing, but as I’ve been studying this scripture in light of the state our world is in, I’ve wondered exactly what God meant when He said the simple statements above.
The first of the three sentences the Lord gives us is to act justly. Justice is not a new topic for any Christian. During the current state of our country, the question of what it means to live in justice should be a big deal for every Christian. As a Christ follower, we should strive to pursue justice everyday- standing with the oppressed, listening to the suffering of our brothers and sisters, and choosing to fight for what is right. Our goal is to become more and more like our father, the one who chose not to cast a stone, the one who listened to those who were hurting and broken, and the one who truly loved. If we are to ever truly look like our father, we must become more and more like Him and allow our hearts to be molded to what He cares about. Justice isn’t something that should belong to one side of the political spectrum or the other, but every Christian, on every spectrum, should stand for what is right. The Lord’s heart is for each and every person. If we are to ever live in justice, we must allow the Lord to open our eyes for every one of His people.
The second statement God gives us is to love mercy. As I was studying this verse and the original context of what the Lord was talking about, I became incredibly aware of the vast interpretation that changed from the original Hebrew language to English. The original Hebrew word for “love mercy” is ‘hesed’. Hesed typically refers to God’s steadfast and faithful love for us. In the HCSB translation of Micah 6:8, it states: “Mankind, He has told you what is good and what it is the Lord requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God.” The idea of justice and acting faithfully go hand in hand. When we as God’s people love and demonstrate faithfulness and obedience to God’s covenant, we are walking in justice.
Let’s dive into the story behind this verse. God had a covenant with Israel. When the Lord states: “He has shown you” or “He has told you,” the verse is specifically referring to God’s description of this covenant given in Deuteronomy 10:12. Deuteronomy 10:12 states: “And now Israel, what does the Lord require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” They have broken the covenant (once again, as they often like to do), and the Lord is once again reminding them of what He requires of them.
Now, bring it all the way up to 2020, and we see that we like to do the same thing the Israelites tended to do: stray from the covenant. This verse is a reminder, especially in the current society we are facing, that we are to love God and remain in obedience to Him and in turn we will walk justly. This verse is a call to obey God, remaining faithful to the covenant and living in justice by following His example.
What are ways you can use your platform today to fight for justice, and to spread Jesus’ love to all of His people, including our brothers and sisters who need it most?
The last statement the Lord leaves us with is to walk humbly. Are we blinded by our own voice and selfishness? Is our pride a hindrance in the way we obey God and the way we love other people? Humility guides us to obeying God, listening to God, and truly loving His people. When we walk in humility, we take a step back from our own way of thinking and listen to the perspectives of those around us. We aren’t always right, but we will stand for what is right, and in order to do just that, we have to put our pride aside and be willing to listen.
We are to walk justly. To live in faithful obedience to the father. And to walk in humility. Three simple commandments, but it takes a lot for us to truly follow.