The Question is: And what does the LORD require of you? - 8 July 2022

By Louise Gevers

Do we not yearn for truth, mercy and justice to triumph in our land at this time of unchecked lawlessness? Micah knew that in Samaria and Jerusalem it would need an about turn towards God in the mindset and heart of the people and their leaders.

God had made it very clear that He was displeased with His people. The leaders were corrupt, the people were oppressed, and the wicked king, Ahaz, had led many Israelites away from worshiping God to worshiping the pagan idols he’d set up everywhere, including the temple. The spiritual tone was bleak: spiritual decay had led to moral decay, and God called Micah to speak out against wrongdoing and pronounce God’s impending judgment on them.

Not only had God set out basic guidelines for right living through Moses with the Ten Commandments, in His love He’d also spelt out His just requirements for every aspect of life – religious and social – clarifying and ruling on even the most obscure situations, so that everyone’s rights were recognised and dealt with fairly. (Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy)

The leaders had no excuse not to follow God’s instructions for justice and truth to prevail but unfaithfulness to God blunted their zeal for righteousness and they ignored His laws.

Micah’s warning was stern: “Listen, you rulers of Israel! You are supposed to be concerned with justice, yet you hate what is good and love what is evil. You skin my people alive and tear the flesh off their bones … and chop them up like meat for the pot. The time is coming when you will cry out to the LORD, and he will not answer you. He will not listen to your prayers because you have done evil.” (Micah 3:1-4, GNT)

Leaders cannot choose to live life away from God and reject His law, nor can we. In effect, in aligning ourselves with sin and evil we reject His care over us. Like the unfaithful Israelites, our consciences become desensitised and many walk away from what they consider to be inconvenient laws that spoil their fun and freedom.

But people who love God, who remain faithful when times are hard, know that His commands actually bring freedom from sin and guilt, and are empowering because they are worked out perfectly by His unfathomable wisdom, and resonate with His heart. God’s law benefits everyone, not just the few.

And what does the LORD require of us? God wants us to walk humbly with Him day by day and ask Him to show us the way, until our hearts resonate with His; He wants us to recognise injustice and stand against it, and always treat others fairly; He wants us to be kind and merciful to all – just as He is – and always have our hearts inspired by His.

And when we’re battling and feeling overwhelmed, remember Lamentations 3:21-24 “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’”

Prayer: “To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me… Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth …”(Psalm 25:1-2,4-5a) Amen