Life Notes—January 27, 2011
“…what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8b
There are about 2500 pages in my New Oxford Annotated Study Bible. The prophet Micah was allotted nine of those pages, a fraction of 1% of the whole. Not only that, his book is not easy to find, nestled near the end of the Old Testament. I suspect if Micah had a “greatest hits” collection it would consist of a single passage—the one I quote above. Micah is said to have been a contemporary of Isaiah, although he was very much a commoner of the time, not of noble descent or even from a major city.
Even so, I believe the 22 words above may be the clearest, most easily-understood summary of God’s instruction to us in the entire Bible. What does the Lord require of us? Be just, be kind and be humble. How much simpler can it get? Easily understood and easily remembered.
Justice: the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness or moral rightness.
Kindness: of a good or benevolent nature or disposition.
Humbleness: not proud or arrogant; modest; courteously respectful.
If this passage is a clear direction from God intended to guide our lives, we must be expected to wrestle with its application daily. Justice, kindness and humbleness are largely subjective terms—defined through the eyes of the recipient—so their specific application may change from situation to situation. Even so, they give us a window from which to assess our thoughts, words, plans and actions. Are they just? Are they kind? Do they reflect humbleness? If the answer to any of these queries is “No,” what should we do about it? These can be great discussion-starters with God. Asking these questions, in prayer or in conversation, is a way to build or strengthen our relationship with our creator and others, regardless of the answers we may or may not receive.
Of course, for me, it is always easier to reflect on how these principles apply to the behavior of others, particularly those closest to me. However, the scripture clearly says, “…what does the Lord require of YOU…” i.e., me. Unfortunately, these qualities do not come naturally to me. Easily understood, yes. Easily followed, no…
Mitch will be preaching at the downtown services this Sunday. His sermon title is “Waltz” and is based on the scripture Micah 6:1-8. Life worship is at 9:40 in Brady Hall; traditional worship in the sanctuary is at 8:30 and 11:00. Tom is preaching at the west campus. His sermon title is “The Secret to Happiness,” based on Matthew 5:1-12. Contemporary worship at the west campus is at 9:00 and 11:00.
Come home to worship this Sunday. Walk humbly with your God through our doors…
Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator