Micah 6:6-8 Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
The numbers two and three in the Bible are indicative of witness, testimony (see Deuteronomy 19:15). When God repeats Himself in the Scriptures, it is important to pay attention to what is being emphasized. Here we have the testimony of two passages that have a very similar message: What does God require of us? The conclusion of Ecclesiastes also contains an exhortation that fits in line with the testimony of the first two passages.
What does God require of man?
1) To fear the LORD thy God... Fear God.
The fear of the Lord is a reverence for God. Webster's 1828 Dictionary defines reverence as "Fear mingled with respect and esteem; veneration... The fear acceptable to God, is a filial fear, an awful reverence of the divine nature, proceeding from a just esteem of his perfections, which produces in us an inclination to his service and an unwillingness to offend him. Reverence is nearly equivalent to veneration, but expresses something less of the same emotion. It differs from awe, which is an emotion compounded of fear, dread or terror, with admiration of something great, but not necessarily implying love or affection." Reverence therefore implies love and affection - it is not just a holy fear of God, but love mingled with admiration. Webster also defines revere as "To regard with fear mingled with respect and affection; to venerate; to reverence; to honor in estimation."
We can only fear the Lord our God in this manner if we are saved, if we have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, and now have God as our Heavenly Father. This fear will prompt us to do what is right in His sight, and prompt us to make it right when we have done wrong. There is a saying, "We should always keep short accounts with God," stating that we should never continue on in sin, but when we are convicted we should always repent and confess that sin to quickly restore our fellowship with God. I believe the more reverence we have for our Saviour, the less desire we will have to backslide or take our eyes off of Him, and the greater our desire will be to turn from those sins that we have allowed to temporarily come back into our lives.
2) To walk in all his ways.
Ways here means "a road (as trodden); figuratively, a course of life or mode of action." We are to walk in the road that the Lord has already trodden out for us - our way of life is to walk according to the paths we see laid down for us in the Word of God. We are not merely to walk in some of His ways - picking and choosing what we want to follow - but to walk in all His ways. Of course, we can only do that in the strength and wisdom that the Lord provides. Are you walking in His ways, or in your own?
3) To love him.
Is your heart set upon the Lord? Are your affections set upon the things of God? Do you delight in doing the will of God? We honestly can't say we love the Lord when we don't cleave to Him in faith and obedience! We can't truly say we love the Lord when we do not hate evil!
Deuteronomy 30:19-20 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
Psalms 97:10 Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.
Deuteronomy 6:4-5 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
The greatest commandment in the Bible is to love the Lord our God with all that we are and all that we have.
Mark 12:28-30 And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
Joshua 23:11 Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the LORD your God.
Psalms 31:23 O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.
4) To serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
How many professing Christians today are going through the motions in their service to the Lord? Too many! The Lord wants us to serve Him with all our heart and with all our soul - that means with everything that is in us, with all our being. A hypocrite is someone that puts on a show outwardly when there is something different going on in the inside. The Lord wants our outsides to match up with our insides - for our walk to line up with our talk (ie. our living to line up with our profession of faith). We need to be honest and sincere with God, and make sure our sincerity is in line with the truth. It is no good to have a sincerity and zeal that is based on falsehood!
Psalms 51:6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
Joshua 24:14 Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.
1 Corinthians 5:8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
John 4:23-24 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
John 9:31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.
Too many in Christendom today are claiming to worship God, but they are not doing His will!
Philippians 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
2 Corinthians 1:12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.
Ephesians 6:24 Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.
Philippians 1:9-11 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
May we never go through the motions!
Here is a statement that I coined several years ago about our profession lining up with our walk:
"The Final Proof of our Love is in the Faithful Pattern of our Living."
Do your walk and your talk line up together?
5) To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes... Keep his commandments.
Love and obedience go hand in hand. We do not keep the commandments to go to Heaven - salvation is a free gift, and must be all of grace, because none of us have ever kept all of God's commandments without failing. Sin is the transgression of the Law (1 John 3:4), and the only sinless person who ever lived was the Lord Jesus Christ, God manifest in the flesh. But once we turn to Him for salvation, we receive His righteousness credited to our account, and are given a desire to obey Him. Now we obey the Lord out of love for Him, and our obedience shows our love to Him!
John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
1 John 5:2-3 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
Our love is perfected (made complete) when we keep His Word and obey His commandments:
1 John 2:3-6 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
6) To do justly.
According to Webster's, this phrase means in part: "In conformity to law, justice or propriety; by right... Honestly; fairly; with integrity." Webster also defines integrity as "The entire, unimpaired state of any thing, particularly of the mind; moral soundness or purity; incorruptness; uprightness; honesty. Integrity comprehends the whole moral character, but has a special reference to uprightness in mutual dealings, transfers of property, and agencies for others." Doing right to all, not showing favoritism, but treating all with equity. "In practice, equity is the impartial distribution of justice, or the doing that to another which the laws of God and man, and of reason, give him a right to claim. It is the treating of a person according to justice and reason."
How many people in our day and age favour those who are rich, those who are part of their inner circle or clique, those who love them in return?
The three moral duties required by God in Micah 6:8 are summed up by our Lord Jesus Christ in the New Testament:
Matthew 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
In the context, judgment means "justice and equity." Faith (and the love of God - see Luke 11:42) being the equivalent of the phrase, to walk humbly with thy God.
James 2:1-4 My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?
James 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
Leviticus 19:15 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.
Proverbs 24:23 These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment.
1 Timothy 5:21 I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.
It is interesting that when we are impartial, we are doing what God Himself does; however, when we are partial, then we are walking in the steps of the wicked!
2 Chronicles 19:7 Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts.
Matthew 22:16 And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.
Matthew 5:43-48 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Jude 1:16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage.
7) To love mercy.
Webster's gives this powerful definition of mercy: "That benevolence, mildness or tenderness of heart which disposes a person to overlook injuries, or to treat an offender better than he deserves; the disposition that tempers justice, and induces an injured person to forgive trespasses and injuries, and to forbear punishment, or inflict less than law or justice will warrant. In this sense, there is perhaps no word in our language precisely synonymous with mercy. That which comes nearest to it is grace. It implies benevolence, tenderness, mildness, pity or compassion, and clemency, but exercised only towards offenders. Mercy is a distinguishing attribute of the Supreme Being."
Not much more I can add to that! We are to love mercy. In order to do so, I truly believe we must experience and know God's mercy towards ourselves. The more I see God's mercies at work in my own life, the more I want to pass that mercy on to others! As the story of the woman in Luke 7:36-50 illustrates forgiveness and love reciprocated, even so I think there is a definite parallel between our receiving mercy by the Lord and our showing of it to others.
Luke 7:47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Matthew 9:13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Luke 6:32-36 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.
Romans 12:6-10, 14-17 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another... Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
We are saved and forgiven by God's mercy (and grace); therefore we should likewise be showing this same mercy, grace, and forgiveness to others.
Titus 3:4-6 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
Colossians 3:12-14 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
James 2:13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.
8) To walk humbly with thy God.
We can't walk with God unless we are humble before Him! As the saying goes, "Sheep follow; Goats butt." If you are reading the Word of God or hearing it being spoken by others, and your reaction is, "Yes, but...", then you are not walking humbly before God! In your response, you are acting more like a goat, and less like a sheep! The Lord wants humble servants, servants who will walk in faith before Him, walk in simple love and trust toward Him - like a little child (with childlike faith), who simply accepts the Word because it is God who has spoken, who simply obeys because it is his Lord and King that commands him, who simply trusts God fully in all things because, after all, it is his Heavenly Father at work in his life!
The simplest illustration I can think of regarding faith and trusting is that of a little child standing on a table and the father telling him to jump into his arms. The child says, "I love you, Daddy, and I trust you." But if the child never takes that jump into their father's arms, do they really trust? If you hold back from committing yourself to those everlasting arms that are underneath you, are you really walking in faith, are you really trusting in your Heavenly Father? I think the answer is obvious. The solution is to get into the Word of God and build your faith (see Romans 10:17), then act upon that faith - take and apply!
Matthew 18:4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
There is a simplicity that is in Christ (see 2 Corinthians 11:3). It is man that complicates things!
Colossians 2:6-10 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
James 4:6-10 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
1 Peter 5:5-7 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
It is interesting to note that this last passage quoted above links humbling ourselves with casting our cares upon the Lord! Pride says, "I can do it all on my own." Humility says, "I will place all I am, all I have, and all that I plan to do in the hands of my Heavenly Father, and trust Him with it." Humility is walking according to the will of God, not our own way. It takes humility to acknowledge that God owns you, that He has bought you with a price (the precious blood of Christ), and therefore He has the complete right and authority to tell you how to live. We also know that God loves us and is working out His perfect will in our lives, according to His wisdom and sovereign power - humility can live with that, and prefers it (yea, even wholly desires it) above any of our own plans!
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Proverbs 23:26 My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.
Proverbs 16:3 Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.
Proverbs 16:9 A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.
Proverbs 19:21 There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.
Jeremiah 10:23 O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.
I believe that if we follow these eight things that the Lord requires of us, our walk with him will be fruitful and our faith greatly strengthened. These are not presented as some kind of ultimate formula, or as some list indicating that this is all we are accountable for - but are merely an attempt to dig into and apply some basic requirements of a walk with the Lord that He is pleased with and will bless.
Do you fear God? Are you walking in His ways? Do you love Him and are you serving Him with all your heart and soul? Are you obeying His Word? Are you treating others justly? Do you love mercy? And lastly, are you walking humbly with your God?
May the Lord richly bless you as you apply these passages of Scripture to your life.
60 Day Devotional Series: Numbers In The Bible