Shaping us up, at any cost!

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)

History tells us that God’s people, over the years, become tired of doing what God wants them to be doing. The same monotonous, boring routine, when the people around use post modern devices and enjoy unlimited entertainment. The inclination to ‘be like others‘ has been a major driving force. The line between the people of God and the ‘people of the world’ has been unclear, often, in each generation. God was aware of this ‘fallen’ human nature and strictly warned them not to mingle with the ‘others‘ beyond a limit, particularly in the areas of community life and worship. In Apostle Paul’s language it was to “be not yoked together with the unbelievers”.

But, we get tired of boundaries and wander into the forbidden territory like them, don’t we. We explain away our desire to explore and experience, like our great grandma did in the garden of Eden. We take God’s mercies for granted and indulge in sinful lifestyles. God had laid down His rules for His creation – rules as per His standard of holiness. But, for Israel, He also promised rewards for obedience and punishments for disobedience. But they turned ungrateful and did not even remember the great things their God has done for them. They turned out to be highly selfish to the extent of exploiting and cheating others for their own personal gains. As a result, the people of God went through wars, captivity, slavery and humiliation as punishment, time and again. In rebellion they complained that God was being unfair in demanding whole lot of things they could not perform.

However, the Covenant God initiated between Him and the Israelites was not to be broken as it was sealed by His holy name. He has loved His people with an eternal love, Israel first and then the Church. God can not go back on His covenanted promise.

Here, God is calling His people to present their case in the court of justice. God has His entire creation as witness and man has no valid argument before God. God explains through the prophet that His demands are just a few and very simple.

Do Justice

In all their dealings God wanted them to do justice because God is a God of justice. Living Bible puts it as doing what is right. This does not give room for exploitation of others. In doing justice to others you may have to lose what is in your possession or you may have to give up or let go. This is what Jesus meant when He said “treat others as you want them to treat you”. When you are at wrong, justice will be unpleasant to you.

God says in Micah 6:9 that He will execute His justice toward His people because they have neglected to do justice in their dealings with others. They were guilty of possessing ill-gotten wealth and cheating others using dishonest weights and measures in their transactions (Mic.6:10-11). Thus, God’s justice demands punishment up on His people.

Show Mercy

Mercy, in simple terms, is not paying back what others deserve for their wrongs. It is not paying back evil for evil, but paying back good for evil. It is not trying to get even, but forgiving.

God wants His people to be merciful to others like the way He is merciful to all, particularly to them. In spite of their repeated rebellion God has been merciful to them.(Mt.5:7; 9:13; 12:7; Lk.6:36; Eph.4:32; Jam.2:13)

But God’s people continue to be violent in their dealings with others, lying against them (Mic.6:12). They followed the example of King Ahab the son of Omri and the husband of wicked Jezebel (1Kings 16:21-34; 18:1-18; 21:1-26).  Because of this God will restrain His mercy from them and allow them to be vulnerable, oppressed, hungry, attacked and looted by enemies (Mic.6:13-16)

Be Humble

Humility is the opposite of pride. It is considering others better than yourself. It is the willingness to go through even humiliating experiences as a part of your walk in obedience to God.

God’s people are to walk in humble obedience to their God. The sin of pride is probably the worst, the sin that caused the bright angel’s fall. God’s people, too, get proud along their walk with God. And God hates pride from His people. So, to keep them humble, God would allow His people to be weak and frail some times, poor and helpless other times, so that they will depend on Him always.

When God became a human to reveal Himself and His plan of salvation, He came as a humble Jewish carpenter who endured the highest form of humiliation.

Because God’s people are not willing to be humble, God would allow them to be humiliated and teach them humility the hard way. Israel would be made a laughingstock before the nations of the world (Mic.6:16).

God is not finished with us yet. He is in the process of making us to be like His holy Son. At times when we don’t yield, like a father, God will use strict discipline or harsh ways to let us learn what we ought to. He does this because we are to reign with His dear Son as co-heirs and God can not take it for granted.

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