When my wife and I were expecting our first child, I asked many questions: “Am I going to be a good father?”
“How’s the baby going to affect my relationship with my wife?” And I have again I asked God, “What do you want from me?” And “How can I please you?”
I asked similar questions when I graduated from high school, got a new job and got married. It is also in moments of despair and confusion that we ask the big questions. I asked similar questions when my father died when I was 17.
It is in these moments that we seek direction, purpose and clarity. One of the clearest statements about God‘s expectation of us is found in Micah 6:8: “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.” (The Message).
The scene is like a cosmic courtroom. God is the plaintiff bringing a case against Judah. God’s charge against them is that they have grown tired of God and have gone their own way. Judah’s complaint against God is that he doesn’t care about them because bad things are always happening to them.
God clearly points out that their suffering was due to their own sin. Then He asks them to remember all the ways He rescued and save them. The people of Judah acknowledge their sin and seek a way to make it right with God. They suggest that they can please God if they offer more sacrifices to God. Micah screams, “No! God doesn’t want more rituals. He is more interested in your behavior, your relationships with people and in your relationship with Him.”
It’s easy for us to look at the people of Judah and see their hypocrisy. But how many times have we done the same thing? We realize our sin and offer to make it up to God by saying we will go to church more, pray more, or give more. God wants us to change our life, not just a few ritualistic activities.
Micah 6:8 gives simple guidance. God’s expectations sound simple enough – to do right, to love people and to have a close relationship with Him. Yet even when God’s expectations are in their simplest form, we realize that we cannot meet his requirements. Thus, we must do like many others before us: seek His grace.
Read Micah 6:8.
Father, thank You for making it clear what You want from me, but I confess that I cannot be fair, compassionate, loyal, or devoted to You by my own strength. Move me with grace and power from Your spirit.