This post is part of the series His Encouragement
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A cheery and warm welcome, dearest friends, to His Encouragement: Biblical Inspiration for Your Thursday. Every Thursday, a few blogging friends and I will each bring you a Bible passage and a little hope-filled discussion. We pray that these Thursday posts help you end your week strong in God’s love and purpose for you. We also welcome you to join the conversation by commenting with your thoughts. God bless!
“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 are quite a few passages in the Scriptures that provide clear, practical instructions on what the duty of God’s children is. These go-to passages — like Ecclesiastes 12:13, Matthew 22:36-40, Philippians 4:8, and others — are a simple guide to life as a follower of Christ.
Among them is Micah 6:8. What does the Lord require of His people? “To do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God”. Interestingly, the word translated here as kindness was translated as “mercy” in the King James Version, and in a footnote, some Bibles say “steadfast love”.
This reminds me of Jesus’ teaching to love our neighbor as ourselves. In His parable of the Good Samaritan, He teaches that our neighbor includes not only our literal neighbors but anyone who comes into our lives. At the time, Jews and Samaritans did not get along. (There is a whole backstory for why and how this came to be that I won’t get into here.) Yet it was the “despicable” Samaritan who showed kindness towards the Jewish man robbed, beaten, and left for dead on the road to Jericho — not his fellow countrymen. (Read Luke 10:25-27.) Likewise, our neighbors are not always people we get along with or even like.
We need justice (laws, ordinances, a system of justice to help govern society) but justice also needs to be balanced with kindness (mercy) and humility. This is how Jesus lived, balancing the justice of God with His mercy and kindness. Though it sounds simple, is not always easy. I think of the woman caught in adultery and thrown at Jesus’ feet. The Pharisees were attempting to trap Jesus, for if He said the woman needed to be punished by Jewish law (death) then He would be interfering with the Roman law of the day but if He said she did not deserve the punishment, they could claim He was advocating not keeping the Jewish law at all. How did Jesus resolve this intense situation? He said: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”
And after the crowd had dispersed, He asked the woman: “Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?” She replied: “No man, Lord.” The only person left was Jesus Himself, and being without sin, He did have the right to accuse her and condemn her for her sin. Yet He chose to show her mercy. He said: “Neither do I condemn thee” but he gave her a condition to her release/freedom: “go, and sin no more.” (See John 8:2-11.)
We all love mercy and kindness when shown to us but how many of us can say, honestly, that we love kindness when directed towards others? How many of us bulk at the idea of showing kindness to an unkind person? Someone who has hurt us in some way? That is human nature, but the Lord tells us that we are to love kindness no matter how hard it might be.
Not only are we directed to love kindness even when kindness is hard, but we are also told to walk humbly with God. I like how one dictionary defines humbly as “unpretentious” or “not attempting to impress others with an appearance of greater importance, talent, or culture that is actually possessed”.
This morning, I challenge you to spend some time in prayer with the Lord and ask Him to show you how to live out Micah 6:8 in your life. It may not always be easy, and the Lord may ask us to step outside of our comfort zone at times. He sent Abraham on a long journey to an unknown land; He sent Moses back to Egypt to free His people from Pharaoh; He sent Elijah to confront Ahab, Jezebel, and the priests of Baal; He sent Esther to save His people from a death decree — and we cannot say that they had to “easy”. No, each of these people (and many others) faced challenges and even the threat of death, yet they obeyed the Lord.
If they could do it, so can we with God as our strength. Let’s start by humbling ourselves before the Lord and asking Him to guide our lives.
Now it is your turn! How does today’s verse encourage you? What verse or passage is blessing you today?
Be sure to also visit my fellow bloggers and read their encouragement for your Thursday as well:
- Trisha of Joy of Reading
- Nicole of The Christian Fiction Girl
- Jessica of A Baker’s Perspective
- Becca of The Becca Files
Continue reading this series:
His Encouragement: God has not given a spirit of fear