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Great Old Testament Questions #5 - And What Does the Lord Require of You

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Text: Micah 6:8

Thesis: To note what God requires of a person who seeks to please Him.

Introduction:

(1)   Most people want to know the requirements of certain things (e.g., a syllabus in a college class, a job, etc.).  While this is understandable, some people simply want to know this in order to know what the bare minimum is in order to “get by.”

(2)   Unfortunately, some people also approach religion with this same mindset; i.e., approaching God with a checklist of the minimal requirements.

Discussion:

I.                   The Story:

A.    In verses 1-5, God calls upon Israel to make their case against Him.

1.      Apparently, they felt as though God has wronged them and/or wearied them (v. 3).

2.      Therefore, “the Lord opened the proceedings by telling His side of the controversy, emphasizing the gracious way He had dealt with the nation from the very beginning” (Wiersbe 4:398).

a.       First, God reminded them about how He had brought them out of Egypt.

b.      Second, God reminded them about how He had provided leaders for them.

c.       Third, God reminded them about how He had turned Balaam’s curse into a blessing.

3.      Overall, “God did not come to burden them, but to free them” (Holloway 148).

B.     In verses 6-7, Israel responds to God’s request by asking Him how they are to approach Him.

1.      “Israel assumes that the solution to its crime is somehow to be found in ritual activity” (Craigie 2:45).

2.      “They have forgotten the law of God so far that they are ignorant of how to approach Him” (Hailey 214).

3.      “Spiritual blindness has led them to offer everything except the one thing He wanted – a spiritual commitment of the heart from which right behavior would ensue” (MacArthur Study Notes).

C.     In verse 8, Israel is reminded about what God truly requires.

1.      First, God demands one to “do justly,” which “does not mean merely to talk about justice or to get other people to act justly. It means to do the just thing yourself” (Boice 2:44).

2.      Second, God demands one to “love mercy.”

Þ    ‘Mercy’ (Heb. hesed) is a term “used to describe not only the response of man to God but also the manifestation toward one another of this same loyal spirit” (Allen 373).

3.      Third, God demands one to “walk humbly with your God.”

a.       ‘Humbly’ is best understand as “carefully.”

b.      Thus, this demands refers to “brining one’s life into conformity with God’s will” (Waltke 196).

II.                The Lesson:

A.    “A good looks at the past reminds us of God’s loyalty, and of our responsibility to be loyal to him in return” (Stuart, Favorite OT Passages 130).

B.     “When we come before God we must remember that it is not so much what is in our hands but what is in our hearts that finds expression in our conduct that is important” (R. Smith 51).

1.      In Matthew 23:23, Jesus said: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.”

2.      Basically, religion is more than just outwardly looking the part.  Religion must proceed from the inside out!

Conclusion:

(1)   Micah 6:8 has been called “the most memorable statement in the Old Testament defining a proper relationship to God” (NIV Study Notes).

(2)   This being the case, how is your relationship with God?

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