Micah is one of those obscure prophets. His story is a short one
- just 7 chapters - which is tucked in the midst of other small
books with the stories of other obscure prophets. He might have
been a "minor" prophet, but today's readings from Micah
have something major to say about how to please God.
Micah asks the question, "How do mere humans show respect
to an almighty God? How do you appease God for your sins?"
He goes on to list what only a mere human could imagine; the offering
of our best. For his audience, it was an armload of offerings topped
off with yearling calves, or thousands of rams with buckets and
barrels of olive oil. He even suggests the ultimate sacrifice, that
of the firstborn child to cancel their sin. What would that list
of human imagination be for us in our culture? Would God require
us to offer up a Mercedes? Perhaps our season tickets for basketball?
Maybe our job? Hours spent at church? Money given to charity?
The response from Micah is that God has already told us in His
word what we need to bring before Him. God has made it plain in
describing what He is looking for in men and women; it's simply
three basic approaches to living our lives:
1. To do justly: This first approach to life is
simply to treat others with dignity and respect that all children
of God deserve. Do I treat my neighbor with fairness and equity?
Do I challenge systems in our culture that exacerbate unjust treatment
of people? Do I treat others as children of God with equal love
and dignity? Am I willing to step out of my comfort zone to ensure
that justice is experienced by those around me?
2. To love mercy: This second approach to life is
simply to be compassionate and loyal in our relationships. Mercy
is a trait intrinsic to the character of God shown in love to those
who do not deserve it; it is not a trait natural to the character
of humans. As we are in relationship to God, we reflect his character
in our response to others. Am I kind and compassionate toward others?
Does this kindness and compassion take tangible forms in what I
do for others? Do I suspend judgment toward others and treat them
with the same mercy God has shown me?
3. To walk humbly with our God: This last approach
to living our life is to simply be in relationship with Him. Walking
humbly with God implies being together on a journey and having fellowship
with each other. In this relationship, He asks us to not take ourselves
too seriously, which might put a barrier between us and Him. Instead,
He asks us to take Him seriously and with humility, vulnerability
and openness, to be with Him. Am I on a journey with God? Do I approach
Him with openness and vulnerability?
What does God require of me? It's not rocket science or huge sacrifices
on our part; it is simply to live our lives in relationship with
Him and others, with justice, mercy and humility.