How can I stand up before God
and show proper respect to the high God?
Should I bring an armload of offerings
topped off with yearling calves?
Would God be impressed with thousands of rams,
with buckets and barrels of olive oil?
Would he be moved if I sacrificed my firstborn child,
my precious baby, to cancel my sin?
But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do,
what God is looking for in men and women.
It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,
be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don’t take yourself too seriously—
take God seriously.
Micah 6: 6-8
What does God want from us? This scripture passage from the prophet Micah makes it clear that God is not interested in material offerings. He is not interested in great or simple wealth. God is interested in our hearts.
What God wants from us is summarized by Micah as three instructions from the Lord.
First, God wants us to be fair, and just, towards our neighbors.
We know that there is injustice in the world. God clearly wants us to work for, and be a vessel of justice. This verse reassures us that the work of pursuing justice is one of the aims of a God-directed life.
Second, the Lord wants us to love compassionately.
Kindness should be one of the marks of our interactions with other people. Since Jesus is love, we need to reflect His love in our conversations, and relationships with all people.
Finally, we need to do our best to follow God’s direction in our life.
Other translations put it this way: “Walk humbly with your God.” I like this image of two individuals walking together, as they journey through life.
The image was famously expanded upon by Margaret Fishback Powers, in her poem, “Footprints”. You may be familiar with this poem, as it has been reprinted widely. It goes like this:
One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.
After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was only one set of footprints.
This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
"Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You'd walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life, there was only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me."
He whispered, "My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testing’s.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you."
Micah 6:8 is a succinct summary of what God wants from us. So much so that it has become well-known, particularly in its classic formulation and translation, which goes like this.
What does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
God of justice and love,
May we be fair and just to all we meet. Let love describe our words and actions, and may we walk with humility alongside You, each and every day of our lives. We pray this prayer in the name of the one who described Himself as the Way, the Truth, and the Life: Your son Jesus Christ.