Monday, January 23, 2017

Micah 6:1-8 God Requires Godliness, not Religiosity

KEY TEXT: Micah 6:6, 8 "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?..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? 

KEY THOT: The prophet Micah reminds us that God is not evaluating us on the basis of our religiosity (what we do in church) but on the basis of our character (what we do in the world): "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?" (v.8). It's possible to do all the required religious stuff in the church on Sundays--like giving our tithes faithfully, leading worship or singing in the choir, including reciting the prayers and creeds diligently--but still not be pleasing God because of the way we treat others--our spouses, our colleagues and our neighbours. What ultimately pleases God is our godliness not our religiosity: "When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause" (Isaiah 1:15-17).

Above must not be interpreted as an attack on religious worship but rather to cleanse it from hypocrisy so that our offerings might be acceptable before God. God is looking into our heart beyond our religious words and our religious acts. He is looking for godly character expressed in the following ways:

  1. "do justice": This is the character of moral integrity and righteousness when dealing with others. No shady deals and no compromise with truth--always above board in our dealings with others and always ensuring that we give to others what is their rightful dues.
  2. "love kindness": This is the character of love in our dealing with others. Not out to undercut and sabotage our competitors but to show genuine love and kindness in dealing with others--even our enemies but especially those who are vulnerable because they are under our authority and power. We don't use people; we love them.
  3. "walk humbly with your God": This is the character of meekness--of total submission before God. We do not seek to assert ourselves and our ambition but to obey the will of God. We don't arrogate ourselves with pride and haughtiness, but submit our self-will under God's will: "Not my will but Yours be done" is our attitude before God. 

May our lives be pleasing to God, not just in our religious duties on weekends but throughout our weekdays in the ethical conduct of all our business dealings in our workplaces and in all our social relationships in our communities.

Father, help us to do good before others, not just on Sundays but throughout the week, especially in our workplaces. Amen.

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