He has shown you, O man, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
The prophet Micah has just boiled down the entire Law of Moses into three goals. The whole Law, everything God requires of his people, is summed up in these three requirements: 1) act justly, 2) love mercy, and 3) walk humbly with God.
Now, this is actually a paradox for me. As I said last week, the more rules, regulations, and requirements there are, the better I can look by comparison. There’s a bigger safety net should I stumble in a few areas. So in a way, having rules upon rules upon rules is easier, safer, more comfortable.
When it’s boiled down to three simple areas, there may be momentary relief from the weight of the Law, but then reality hits you. Justice, mercy, love, humility, and faithfulness are too big to ever perfect. There will never come a time when you can look at these three requirements and say, “I have arrived.”
To understand this reality, it might help to view each of these three a little more in depth.
What does it mean to “act justly?”
I’m on Facebook quite a bit. I have a lot of friends who regularly share posts and articles dealing with injustice, human rights, world poverty, etc. The AIDS crisis in Africa; the inequality among social classes in India; the rampant gender-selective abortions taking place in China; sex-trafficking; forced child-labor; malnutrition; disease; unsafe drinking water; global warming. These are all fantastic causes for us to back and to which we should, as a human race, give our support and attention.
But what are we actually doing about it?
Today more than ever we can pull together with other men and women across the globe to make an impact on people thousands of miles away. We can cross oceans with the click of a button. We can spread awareness about major social issues by simply clicking “Like” or “Share.”
But God wants us to do more than that. He doesn’t want us to “Like” justice. He doesn’t tell us to sit around and pontificate about our desire to end world hunger. He doesn’t want our concern, our bleeding hearts, or even our money. He wants action. The key is to ACT justly (NIV), or to DO justice (ESV).
Check out this frightening verse in 1 John 3:
If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
You want to make this world a more just place? Start with those right around you. Put your love into action in your neighborhood, at your workplace, at school, or maybe even perhaps at…church.
What would happen if everyone in your church took seriously the call to act justly?
What if next time you meet with your church, instead of asking “How are you?” you asked “How can I serve you? What do you need help with? How can I help? What can I do?”
Maybe it would begin to look something like this:
All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. (Acts 4:32-34)
May we, Your people, act justly from day to day. May our eyes be opened to see the extreme needs of those all around us. May we seek your peace, may we show your love, and may we bring about justice when and where we can. Let us not be content to simply talk about justice or “love with words and speech,” but let us live out our love so fully that there truly will be no needy persons in our church.