God’s Requirements: A Weekly Reflection

By Patheos staff

With what shall I come to the LORD         
     And bow myself before the God on high?
     Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings,        
     With yearling calves?    
Does the LORD take delight in thousands of rams,         
      In ten thousand rivers of oil?        
      Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts,        
      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, to love kindness,         
     And to walk humbly with your God?
~ Micah 6:6-8

Though John Ness Beck wrote Offertory as a choral piece, Ian Lane sings a stunning solo rendition on YouTube! Gorgeous voice!

“What do I need to do to win God over? What will it take to get God to see the world my way? What prayer do I need to say? What do I need to sacrifice or give up? If I’m good enough, will God give me what I ask?”

Now be honest . . . how many times in your life have you asked one of these questions? And when life is really bad, when things get really difficult, do you start to wonder why God is punishing you this way? Or what you could have done differently to keep God on your side?

I’m always reminded of a story I read from the acclaimed Lutheran pastor and writer, Max Lucado. Imagine fleas have a jumping competition to Mars. The particularly athletic fleas who’ve been training for years might be able to get a few inches off the table, while the rest of the couch potato fleas could barely clear the ground. But in the end, even the most “schwarzeneggerian” of the fleas could never ever get to Mars on their own. Instead, someone has to reach down, and lift them up.

We can’t win God over. We can’t convince God of what we want or need. And we don’t have to placate God. We don’t have to sacrifice our firstborn in order to keep God happy. God has sacrificed His firstborn for us . . . not a bullock or ram sacrificed on a stone altar, no, instead, God has given us His Son, and in that gift, has given us Himself.

Once for all, God has given us His Son: Life and Light, Mercy and Love, crucified on a tree that we might know Salvation.

We don’t have to jump up to heaven based on our own strength or merits or piles of good acts. All we have to do is humbly, while working for justice and living in kindness, trust in the God who breaks through our experience and reaches down to lift us up to heaven.

What then, does God require of us? The prophet Micah says it best: “to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God.”

In our world today, religions and races and nations fight about who’s right and what’s right. But God only asks that we walk humbly with Him, and that we work for justice, and that we love goodness and kindness and gentleness and peace.

Can you imagine a world in which, just for today, we all tried to live that way? Humbly, in justice and kindness?

What would our workplace look like? Our families? Our marriages and our relationships? Our cities and towns? Our nation and our world?

Now pray . . .