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                  "WHAT DOES THE LORD REQUIRE OF YOU?"

                              Micah 6:6-8

INTRODUCTION

1. The text for our study is Mic 6:6-8...
   a. A passage considered by many to be one of the most comprehensive
      and all-embracing statements in the Old Testament
   b. In which Micah raises the question:  "What does the Lord require
      of you?"

2. Micah answers his own question, and makes some important points...
   a. Not only for the sake of Israel of his day
   b. But for the benefit of the Lord's church today
   -- For as with all of the Old Testament, it was written for our
      learning - cf. Ro 15:4

[As we seek to learn from this passage, let's first consider the
question...]

I. WHAT DID THE LORD REQUIRE OF ISRAEL?

   A. WHAT ISRAEL MAY HAVE THOUGHT...
      1. Some possibilities, even some absurdities:
         a. Year-old calves as burnt offerings?
         b. Thousands of rams?
         c. Ten thousands rivers of oil?
         d. Offering of the firstborn child?
      2. Some observations:
         a. God did indeed speak of some of these things
            1) Like the offering calves and rams - cf. Lev 1:1-13
            2) But the absurd amount of oil and offering of the
               firstborn are examples of hyperbole for the sake of
               emphasis
         b. From the context, it appears ritualistic sacrifices alone
            did not please God
            1) One could not please God by simply offering innumerable
               sacrifices, even things precious to the worshipper
            2) For religious rituals properly ordained of God to be
               accepted, they must be accompanied by other things just
               as essential (see below)

   B. WHAT GOD REQUIRED OF ISRAEL...
      1. To do justly
         a. This means "to act toward God and man according to the
            divine standard of righteousness revealed in His law."
            (Hailey)
         b. This did involve the offering of sacrifices commanded by God
         c. But it also involved treating their fellow man in a way
            that was right and fair
         -- Failure to do "justly" was one of the main reasons Israel
            went into captivity - cf. Zec 7:8-14; 8:16-17
      2. To love mercy
         a. This means "to show a compassionate warm-heartedness toward
            man." (Hailey)
         b. Not only treat others fairly, but to show mercy when
            mistreated themselves
         -- One reason they were to love mercy was because God Himself
            delighted in showing mercy - cf. Mic 7:18-19
      3. To walk humbly with your God
         a. This involves living "in humble and submissive obedience to
            His desire and will." (Hailey)
         b. It can only happen when we "recognize the absolute holiness
            and righteousness of God." (Hailey)
         -- It is the humble of heart and spirit that greatly pleases
            God - cf. Isa 57:15; 66:1-2

[These three things God required of those who would come before Him.
Not instead of the ritual observances, but in conjunction with them (cf.
Mt 23:23).  Now for an application of our text to those who are
Christians today...]

II. WHAT DOES THE LORD REQUIRE OF US?

   A. WHAT WE MIGHT THINK...
      1. Some might think all the Lord requires is the observance of
         certain rituals
         a. Like attending church on Sunday
         b. As though if one does this, they have done all that is
            required
         c. I sometimes wonder if people really believe this
            1) That's the impression one receives by their example
            2) That's the answer often received from some
      2. Certainly attending the services of the church is important
         a. It is essential to obeying God - He 10:25
         b. It is required if we expect to grow spiritually - cf. He
            10:24-25
         c. In fact, I am persuaded that failure to attend every
            service...
            1) Can be displeasing to God - cf. Ep 5:15-17
               a) When absent, are we making the most of our time?
               b) Do we really believe our absence is the Lord's will
                  for us?
            2) Can explain the lack of several things
               a) The lack of spiritual growth
               b) The lack of commitment in the work of the church
               c) The lack of close fellowship with God and other
                  Christians
      -- Yes, I am convinced that it is essential that we observe what
         "rituals" God has ordained for us; but the Lord requires more
         than just "attending church"

   B. WHAT GOD REQUIRES OF US...
      1. To do justly
         a. To act toward God according to His divine law - e.g., Mt
            7:21
         b. To act toward man according to His divine law - e.g., Ep
            4:25-29
      2. To love mercy
         a. To show a compassionate warm-heartedness toward man
         b. Toward widows and the fatherless - Jm 1:27
         c. Even toward our enemies - Lk 6:35-36
      3. To walk humbly with our God
         a. The only way to enjoy His fellowship and continual cleansing
            by the blood of Jesus - cf. Jm 4:8; 1Jn 1:7-9
         b. Such close communion and fellowship with God requires
            daily...
            1) Listening to God - studying His Word to learn His will
               - Jm 1:21; 1Pe 2:2
            2) Talking to God - praying for strength and forgiveness,
               praising Him for blessings received - He 4:14-16; Php 4:
               6-7
            3) Walking with God - by doing His will in humble submission
               - Ep 5:2,8,15
      -- By walking humbly with God, we are more likely to keep in
         proper balance the demands to do justly and love mercy

CONCLUSION

1. Even though we live under a different covenant, the Lord still
   requires us...
   a. To do justly
   b. To love mercy
   c. To walk humbly with our God
   -- Our "rituals" may be different (with respect to worship), but the
      basics are still the same!

2. Are you doing what the Lord requires of you?  Consider this...
   a. Have you done justly (by obeying the gospel of Christ)?
   b. Do you love mercy (demonstrated by accepting God's mercy offered
      in Christ)?
   c. Are you walking humbly with your God (by living a dedicated and
      obedient Christian life)?
   -- If not, then all the church services you may attended, all the
      sermons you may have heard, all the prayers you may have offered,
      will benefit you nothing!

May we in all earnestness do what the Lord requires of us!
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