“No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God”— Micah 6:8
The people of Judah were conveniently living under a misunderstanding. They thought that as long as they participated in all the right religious observances before the Lord they would be acceptable in His sight, no matter how they lived their lives. The mistake they made is all too common among the people of God in every age. The mistake is that religious observance is sufficient in and of itself to justify us before God. Show up on Sunday, sing all the songs, listen to the sermon, participate in the proper rituals, mouth the right prayers, and everything is satisfactory with the Lord.
The prophet Micah, however, will have none of this kind of thinking. The point he is making in our verse for today is that formal religious observance is a dead ritual apart from respect for the moral commands of God. The point is that a heart that is right before God desires to obey the moral commands as well as participate in the religious observances. The people of God should know this, so says Micah, because God has told them so. God has given them His word.
Since they obviously needed reminding, Micah summed up the commands of God for them in his own unique way:
First, we should treat our fellow human beings well:
We should "do what is right" with respect to everyone. This refers to being fair and just in our dealings with people. We should not oppress them, take advantage of them, or cheat them in any way. We should also "love mercy." This refers to the loving-kindness we should extend to everyone. We should be compassionate, forgiving, and beneficent to people.
Second, we should live right before God:
We should "walk humbly with your God." We should be humble before God by acknowledging Him as the sovereign Lord of all whose commands are not to be ignored. We walk humbly with our God when we deny our own will and ways and follow His will and ways for our lives.
In the book of James we are told that faith without works is dead (James 2:17). In like manner, religious observance without Christian morality is dead.
Dear beloved Father, Purify the eyes of my heart and help me to keep the focus of my mind on the Lord Jesus - and develop in me I pray, thoughts, words, deeds and motives that are pure in Your sight and that will honour Your Holy name, in Jesus name I pray, Amen