He Has Told You, O man... [Devotion]
I’ve referenced Micah 6:8 in several of my other devotions but today I wanted to take a look at this passage in its own context and in its own right.
Those of you who know me know how much I love this passage. It says so much about us as humans but even more about God as God.
Micah 6:6-8, “‘6 With what shall I come before the Lord,
and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
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?’
8 He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?“
There is so much to love about this passage. I want to look at it in three parts: 1) The Ultimate Problem 2) Man’s Insufficient and Elaborate Attempt 3) God’s Simple and Sufficient Answer.
The Ultimate Problem: In verse 6 Micah presents the ultimate problem for all of humanity, "With what shall I come before the Lord…” whether we realize it or not (though Romans 1 shows we all do to some degree) the ultimate problem for everyone will be what can we bring or do that will enable us to come before the Lord? Micah is not asking about the sacrifice specifically he’s asking what will allow sinful man to stand before the Righteous Judge of the universe.
Man’s Insufficient and Elaborate Attempt: In the end of verse 6 and throughout verse 7 Micah presents man’s solution to the problem of sin in a series of sacrifices escalating in value and asking if any of them are sufficient to set a man right with God. First he starts out with the normal sacrifice of a burnt offering , “…Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?” But this doesn’t seem to be acceptable so he raises the stakes in the beginning of verse 7, “Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil?” This massive sacrifice for the sins of one man would have been beyond the wealth of almost any individual (keep in mind the total sacrifice of animals for the whole nation of Israel at the dedication of the temple was around 144,000) yet it shows the lengths that one might go to in order to atone for their sins. Yet not even this seems sufficient as he feels the need to go on to the last and most drastic sacrifice. The end of verse 7 has the man saying, “Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” In a final desperation to be cleansed in the eyes of God the man offers to sacrifice his own child in exchange for forgiveness. And yet none of these drastic measures seem to be enough.
God’s Simple and Sufficient Answer: “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” After the elaborate and drastic measures proposed by man this answer from God seems almost too simple. And yet as we know from the rest of scripture it is the answer! Now when we say this is the answer we don’t mean that by being just and loving kindness a man may save himself. Instead the key phrase is “… walk humbly with your God.” In other words to submit, with a humble spirit, to the authority and leadership of God. Looking at this in light of the New Testament we know that means being born again through the blood of Christ.
Man tries to appease God on his own terms by doing good deeds or making great sacrifices. But none of that is sufficient. At the end of the day what the Lord requires is that we submit humbly to His will (do justice, love kindness) and to live by faith in Him (walk humbly with your God). It is interesting that the sinful selfish man, seeking to save himself offers to kill his own child to save his soul. But it is God who allowed His only Son to die in order that the sinful selfish man might be saved.
What does this have to do with this film? AD 33 Productions is seeking to make this film, to tell this story, as a sacrifice of our time and talent that we hope will be pleasing to God and bring Him glory. But if we approach this project thinking that we can somehow deserve God’s love or favor through it then we’ve missed the point. Instead this must be a working out of lives that are humbly and wholly submitted to the Father. Only if we first walk in humble faith with God will our sacrifice be pleasing. So no matter what we feel we need to do to make this movie work it must be first subject to what God has required of us, “ …to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with [our] God."“