Lent Devotional: Micah 6:6-8
by Jonathan Haefs
Today’s devotional is authored by Brad Brown
“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?
Picture a courtroom with me. In Micah 6, we see a prophetic subpoena. God is calling his people to court and telling them to plead their case. They are to mount a defense! Why have they been idolatrous? Why have they misused power? Why have they oppressed their neighbor and neglected to help the vulnerable and marginalized.
We are in a courtroom… Micah calls creation as a witness. Yahweh interrogates his people, gives them an opportunity to respond, and reveals his Righteousness. In modernity, we often question God’s goodness, but in this courtroom he is not the one on trial.
In the verses above we see Judah’s response to all this… They ask, “Well…with what shall I come before the LORD?” How lavish or valuable must my sacrifice be to enter God’s presence? I mean… what do you want God?! Is it “ten thousands of rivers of oil” or “my firstborn?!” The offerings escalate to the point of absurdity.
The prophet replies by essentially saying, “the Lord desires in response to his redemptive acts—justice, mercy and faithfulness (walk humbly). The prophets reply exposes an attitude that sees sacrifice as an entry fee, rather than as an avenue for God to administer grace and forgiveness to the repentant. If you are looking for a simple transaction to appease God and get on with your life you will not find it here.
Today, this text reveals that we can give everything that means anything to us…Our time, money, possessions, or intellect but if it doesn’t crystallize as concrete love for our neighbor, then it means absolutely nothing.
Ouuucch… It stings doesn’t it? This Word handcuffed us, drags us before the paparazzi and brings into the courtroom with Judah and guess what? The verdict is the same for both of us… Guilty.
Nancy Guthrie, reflecting on this passage, powerfully speaks not only to our guilt but to the good news of the Gospel,
For people like you and me who deserve to fall under the judgment of God when I read this line in Verse 7 of Chapter 6, “Shall I give my firstborn son for my transgression?” All I can think of, no, I don’t have to because God has given his firstborn son for my transgression. And when I read those lines in Verse 8, “Do justice, love kindness, walk humbly with your God.” I think, well, I might have made some attempts at that, but I haven’t done it perfectly and still the Lord requires of me, this of me.
So is there any hope for me? And I say yes there is because there is one who has done justice perfectly. There is one who has always loved kindness. There is one who was always walked humbly with God and because he has met God’s requirements on my behalf, and I have put all of my hope and faith in him, therefore,I know that I’m not going to fall under God’s judgment, but instead I’m going to have peace with God.
It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ that makes us right with God despite our continual failures and gives us new hearts, so that we empowered by the spirit empower may go into the world to walk in Christ-like love.
When everyone is looking out for their own interests, the church is called to go into the mess. We are called to run into the places that people run away from. We are called to seek justice and reconciliation; we are called to tear down walls and give care to those that nobody cares about. This is what is looks like to rightly worship Jesus.
We do all of this because we can simply do no other. We now have transformed hearts that love the Triune God and seek his interests in the world. What are his interests? What could this “seeking” possibly look like for you today?