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?”

In the first five verses of Micah 6, the LORD challenged the Israelites about their situation. In verses 6 and 7 Micah wondered about how he could come before the LORD, and bow before Him? What would he bring? He mentioned his transgression and sin which stood between him and God. This is the point of Micah’s question. Would the sacrifice of his firstborn remedy that? How could he approach God? We have the same problem. Our own transgressions and sins stand between us and God.

Micah pondered the extremes of what he might do. “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?” What an expense this would have been to Micah, beyond what he was able to spend. Thousands of rams? Ten thousand rivers of oil? His own child? By which of these would he be able to gain access to the LORD? In asking is revealed the answer. All of that would not be enough. It would not gain him access to God.

In verse 8 the LORD said, “He has shewed thee, O man, what is good.” God had revealed to Micah the answer to his question, just as He has revealed to us what He wants us to know about Himself. If He chose not to reveal Himself, we would be without hope. Hebrews 1:1,2 tells us, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds…” The revelation of God had been through His prophets. But now He is revealed through His firstborn son, Jesus, Who was given for our transgression and sin. God told Israel, Micah, and us what He wants us to know.

“…and what does the LORD require of thee but…” to do justly. God is just, and to do justly is to act like Him. In John 8 the religious leaders brought a woman to Jesus who had been caught in adultery. The leaders said that the law said she should be stoned. But what the law said is that both should be stoned. The leaders did not represent the law rightly. Jesus stooped and wrote on the ground. He then arose and said that he that was without sin should be the first to cast a stone at her. We read in verses 9-11, “And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” He did justly because both partners were condemned under the law, not one over the other.

“…and what does the LORD require of thee but…” to love mercy. Quoting from Jeremiah 33:8, the writer of Hebrews told his readers in Hebrews 8:12 that God says, “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” This is how He shows mercy. He doesn’t short circuit justice. But His justice was satisfied by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Now He is able to be merciful. We can be hurt or offended by others, and we are inclined to hold this against them. But, in Matthew 18 Peter asked Jesus how many times he should forgive. In verses 21 and 22 we read, “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” God doesn’t expect more of us than He does of Himself. He loves mercy.

“…and what does the LORD require of thee but…” to walk humbly with thy God. Many scriptures speak of the value of humility. Philippians 2:7,8 says of Jesus, “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Micah expressed humility in Micah 7:9, “I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness.” He expressed his situation before God, leaving the end of it to the Lord. It is better to walk humbly with Him now. Jesus humbled Himself under His Father’s hand to reconcile us with the Father.

These things please God. They were fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ, who said, “I do always those things that please (the Father).” (John 8:29). God’s justice was appeased by His sacrifice. On the cross, for them who were crucifying Him He mercifully said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) And, He walked humbly on this earth and before God. Jesus did what Micah was told. Believers on Jesus, are indwelt by His Holy Spirit, and they are enabled to do justly, to love mercy, and walk humbly with their God. And, we are being made to be like Him, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29)

God told Micah the things that please Him. It is obedience to God that honors and glorifies Him, not sacrifice. This is true for all of mankind. God told us to believe on Jesus.

O To Be Like Thee! – Thomas O. Chisholm

O to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.


O to be like Thee! O to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

O to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.


O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.


Exodus 16:4

“Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.”

Exodus 16 talks about when God started the supply of manna to His people. About two months after leaving Egypt, the Israelites were led by God to the wilderness of Sin. They had left Egypt in a hurry. Now they had eaten all of the food that they had brought with them. And, they complained about the lack of food, and talked about going back to Egypt.

God knew that they needed food. He was not going to starve them. What would the nations think about Him if He did? He had promised Israel that He would bring them to the Promised Land. He had led them this far, and He would lead them to the end of their journey. At the end of the chapter, we are told that they ate manna for the forty years that they wandered in the wilderness. So great was God’s provision of food.

The verse above gives an insight into God’s intentions. He had rules about the collection of the manna, as He told Moses, “…that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.” He described how His provision was to be collected. The Israelites were to gather an homer per person per day. For five days of the week, they were to collect only enough for the day. On the sixth day they were to collect enough for two days, because the manna would not be provided on the Sabbath. These seem like simple rules. They were not ambiguous. The amount was prescribed and when it was to be collected. All that was necessary was for them to obey God’s rules. This is what the Lord said in the verse above; whether they will walk in God’s law, or no.

But we read of people who collected more than they should have, against God’s command. We are told that the extra bred worms and stank. Then, on the day that they were supposed to collect two measures because of the Sabbath, some did not. They went out on the Sabbath morning to collect their daily amount, but none had been provided, just like God said. They were rebuked for disobeying the command.

The simplicity of God’s command is reminiscent of the case of Adam and Eve in Genesis 2 and 3. In Genesis 2:16, 17 we read, “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” In Genesis 3:3 the command was changed, but not by God, “…of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.”

Note the difference between the two versions. Something was added to God’s command, and something was taken away. The addition was that they could not touch the tree. That is not what God said. He only said that they couldn’t eat from it. What was taken away was the severity of the consequence. The consequence in God’s command was strong, “thou shalt surely die.” In Genesis 3 it was expressed as “lest ye die”, changing it from dire to potential. But God said what He meant. And the enemy told Adam and Eve, “Ye shall not surely die.”

As minor as these changes may seem to our reasoning, in God’s eyes they are the difference between life and death. The real point is, Who is in charge? Is it us or God?

Perhaps Adam, Eve and the Israelites tried to make God’s simple commands make sense to them. Or maybe they thought they needed to add safeguards to avoid disobeying. We may try to add human reasoning to God’s laws. But that clouds the issue because then we think that if we keep the changes we have made to His law, we are obeying Him. This is why Jesus rebuked the Pharisees. They lived by the changes and not by God’s law. In Matthew 15:3-6 Jesus revealed an example, “But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? For God commanded, saying, Honor thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; and honor not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus, have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.”

From these stories two points can be seen. The first is it is clear that mankind is unable, or unwilling, to obey God. The simplest command will stumble us, just like Adam and Eve, and the Israelites gathering manna. Romans 3:23 says that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. The death that Adam and Eve died on the day they disobeyed was certain, and it was spiritual. And, spiritual deadness has passed on to all of mankind. The second is that God says precisely what He means and means precisely what He says.

This reveals a problem. God, being God, requires complete obedience not only in what we do, but in what we say and think: and always. As noted in the first point, we cannot do this. To the glory of His name, God planned a way for mankind to be reconciled to Himself. This was through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, Who walked in God’s law His whole life. Through His sacrifice mankind was reconciled to God. Those for whom Jesus is Savior are made spiritually alive by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. By His enabling, we are able, willing, and even desiring to obey God. Then we are well able to walk in His law.

Simply trusting every day,
Trusting through a stormy way;
Even when my faith is small,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.


Trusting as the moments fly,
Trusting as the days go by;
Trusting Him whate’er befall,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Brightly does His Spirit shine
Into this poor heart of mine;
While He leads I cannot fall;
Trusting Jesus, that is all.


Singing if my way is clear,
Praying if the path be drear;
If in danger for Him call;
Trusting Jesus, that is all.


Trusting Him while life shall last,
Trusting Him till earth be past;
Till within the jasper wall,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Refrain (Edgar P. Stites)