The Bible is full of examples of what it means to ‘walk humbly with your God,’ and they help us understand what Micah is instructing to God’s faithful community. But walking humbly isn’t an isolated instruction. Micah’s instructions are offered as one word of guidance, and to be faithful, we must follow all three of them in tandem.
Micah calls the people of Israel to humbly walk with God. But what does a humble walk look like? Why don’t we start with humility … what is humility? Not an easy question to answer, but the Biblical witness gives us some guiding words.
Mercy is the willingness of the one who has power to withhold such power, or to shift such power, for the purpose of God’s greater justice: so that all of humanity, all of God’s created, might share equally in community with one another. But what does it mean to LOVE mercy?
To a nation that was broken with transgression, Micah offers three simple instructions. The second of which is to ‘love mercy.” As we hear the prophet speaking to us today, to a nation torn apart by transgression, what does it mean for us to ‘love mercy’ today? First, we have to know what is ‘mercy.’
Justice is the desire of God, maintained throughout the Biblical text. Both the Old and New Testament stories proclaim this as the will of God. But the text also makes clear, this is Godly work we are to participate in – as the prophets declare, we are to be ‘doing’ justice.
We hear the word ‘justice’ thrown around a lot these days. “Social justice,” “Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” “justice for Breonna Taylor,” and so on. Micah, among other prophets, also used the word as a primary instruction to the people of God, saying, “Do justice.” Before we can understand what it means to ‘do’ this thing called justice, we have to understand what the Bible means by ‘justice’ itself. With over 400 uses in the Biblical text, the Word of God makes clear what is ‘justice.’
In this midst of a continuing pandemic, and amidst the varying hardships overwhelming our nation, you make ask of God, what do you want of us? How can we see your divine healing in this land? Micah offers guidance in just such a situation – so listen to the Lord. The answer is living with God, and living for others. Do justice. Love Kindness. Walk humbly with your God.
Christ says, if you want to follow me, deny yourself and take up your cross. This is not a simple invitation. It is, as Peter found, a radical deviation from the powers and desires of empires. It invites a humility and willing vulnerability for the sake of the gospel.
Encouragement, which comes in many forms, is necessary for healthy and faithful relationships. We have the ability to encourage another by offering affirmation. And yet, sometimes we should not be affirmed. At times, our encouragement needs not to show up as affirmation, but to show up in the form of exhortation, where we are encouraging others to live more faithfully.
Through acknowledgment of what is, by naming sin that exists, by naming our participation and benefit from sin, freedom becomes possible. Because of God’s love in Jesus Christ, we can claim our sin, we can be made new, and we can have a new life that exemplifies God’s love.