Micah 6:1-8

William S. Epps, Senior Pastor
Sunday, January 29, 2023
1Hear ye now what the LORD saith; Arise, contend thou before the mountains, and let the hills hear thy voice. 2Hear ye, O mountains, the LORD’S controversy, and ye strong foundations of the earth: for the LORD hath a controversy with his people, and he will plead with Israel. 3O my people, what have I done unto thee? and wherein have I wearied thee? testify against me. 4For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants; and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. 5O my people, remember now what Balak king of Moab consulted, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him from Shittim unto Gilgal; that ye may know the righteousness of the LORD. 6Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? 7Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 8He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? Micah 6:1-8

Micah is one of the prophets of the eighth century. His name means, "who is like God.” He is a prophet of social protest, a spokesman for the poor who are exploited. He denounced the greedy and the hypocritical establishment that exploited and took advantage of the vulnerable, weak, widows, and orphans.

Its heads give bribes for a judgment, its priest teach for hire and it prophets prophecy for money: yet they lean upon the Lord and say, “Is not the Lord in the midst of us? No evil shall come upon us." Micah 3:11

Micah rails against the swindling merchants with their false scales and weights, and against the landowners who covet fields and seize them. (Mic. 2:2)
Micah was written during a time when God's chosen people felt betrayed by God and God felt betrayed by the people. Their friendship with the Lord was fractured; their relationship with the Lord was ruptured. To be God’s people and to have the Lord as your God comes with the covenant agreement. The Lord’s charge against the people is that they have breached the covenant. God has lived up to God’s part but the people have not lived up to their part. They neglected to abide by the responsibilities, requirements and restrictions of honoring the relationship. 
Consider what it means that to be God’s people comes with restrictions,
rules and regulations of honoring what God expects of you. 
Monday, January 30, 2023
To add insult to injury, the people thought that by participating in ritual sacrifices that would make everything alright. Micah believes that true faith comes from the heart, and not from formal sacrifices. Will the Lord be pleased with a thousand rams, with the thousands of rivers of oil? …. No. We like to do what can be called make-up work instead of keep-up work. (My father was a teacher and when asked in class, "What kind of make-up work do you give?," my dad would respond, "All I have is keep-up work. You will have to do what you should have done and didn’t,
to make-up.")
Micah says, let me tell you what the Lord requires, the same thing the Lord required from the start of the relationship. Let me tell you what the Lord requires. The Lord has shown you what is good! What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God? Said another way, "To be just and kind and live in fellowship with God." 
These words are among the loftiest in scripture. They give a classic statement of the expectations God has for our behavior. They even anticipate the teachings of Jesus. Love the Lord your God with all you heart, soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:27-40
Consider what it means to, "love the Lord your God with all you heart,
soul and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself."
Tuesday, January 31, 2023
In this chapter, God demands to know, "What have I done to you? In what have I wearied you?" The relationship between God and Israel is now strained. There has been a fracture in the friendship and rupture in the relationship. God’s relationship with Israel, which began with God’s generosity, has not worked. God speaks through the prophet with questions that present what God wants to know. In what way have I wearied you? God rehearses what God has done for them alluding to the long history of generosity and liberation. The Exodus is the model for all God’s saving acts. God’s faithfulness consists in a series of rescues wrought by God for Israel.   

In what way have I failed you?  God wants to know this because God is the God who “brought you up from the land of Egypt and delivered you from slavery; and sent you leaders in Moses, Aaron and Miriam (v. 4). God is the One who chose to save Israel. Balak, the Moabite king, (Numbers 22-24) wanted to destroy Israel by a curse. Balaam, the prophet, was hired to speak the king’s deadly curse. God in a powerful preemptive act, precluded such a curse and turns the curse into a blessing.   
God has relentlessly been saving Israel from destruction. God has been a faithful savior. 

Consider what it means that the Lord continually
saves you in all of life’s changing scenes.  
Wednesday, February 1, 2023
Yet the people engage in unjust acts; they covet fields, seize them; they take away houses; they oppress the householder and house, people and their inheritance (2:2). They trample on the teaching of the Torah concerning the poor, the orphan and the widow; they violate the teachings according to which the fields and houses, the boundaries of the widows and orphans, shall be respected and the vulnerable be protected from ravenous neighbors. And when the poor go to court to try to regain what is rightfully theirs, they (the affluent) abhor justice and pervert all equity (3:9). The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Hence, the Lord questions the people. 
God challenges us to consider what God has done for us, and what He requires
of us as an expression of gratitudeGod has delivered us from oppression and our oppressors. God has raised up leaders for you. God has turned curses into blessings. God has brought you to where you are. Yet you do not give your loyalty
to God.
He has shown you what is good; God's saving acts, recited previously, are precisely the standard for the worshiper in this matter. What God has done provides the inspiration for human justice, fidelity, and one's whole walk in life. It has been said with respect to biblical faith, what God has done suggests what we ought to be and do in faithful response (“love one another as God has loved us” John 13;34).
Prophets through the ages have stressed the spiritual blindness of people to the liberating activity of God in nature, in history and in the lives of people. We live and die immersed in the love of God, and yet we are blind to much of it. 
The question comes, “with what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high?” The questioner is asked, why are you asking, you have been told what is good (v 8). It has been abundantly clear in the Torah and the Prophets and the Wisdom literature and teachings; why ask about what has been plainly disclosed? What the Lord wants is clear. The Lord’s gracious offer of love finds its appropriate response in an attitude in which we love God with all ourselves and love our neighbor as ourselves. Micah describes this saying, do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God
Consider what God has done for us and what God
requires of us as an expression of gratitude.  
Thursday, February 2, 2023
Micah presents a trilogy of qualities that are personal and social in nature. Each one is rooted in a personal conviction and attitude initiating a certain kind of relationship with God and others. What God wants and requires is that you do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with the Lord. It should be noted that all of the verbs are action verbs which require that you do something. You must take the initiative to respond to what God has done. 
Do Justly / Be Just  
There are various and conflicting understandings of justice. One suggestion to clarify the meaning of justice - at least from a biblical perspective - is to sort what belongs to whom and to give it to them. When we control what belongs to others long enough, we come to think of it as rightfully ours and forget that it belongs to someone else. The work of liberation (giving people what they are due), redemption (restoring what has been taken or lost) and salvation (preserving everyone's privilege to live) is the work of giving things back. 
There is a story about forgetting to whom things belong. A very proper lady went to a tea shop. She sat at a table for two, ordered a pot of tea and prepared to eat some cookies which she has in her purse. Because the tea shop was crowded, a man took the other chair and also ordered tea. As it happened, he was a Jamaican black (ethnically and culturally different). The woman was prepared for a leisurely time, so she began to read her paper. As she did so, she took a cookie from the package. As she read, she noticed that the man across also took a cookie from the package. This upset her greatly, but she ignored it and kept reading. After a while she took another cookie. And so did he. This unnerved her and she glared at the man. While she glared, he reached for the fifth and last cookie, smiled and offered her half of it. She was indignant. She paid her money and left in a great hurry, enraged at such a presumptuous man. She hurried to her bus stop just outside. She opened her purse to get a coin for her bus ticket. And then she saw, much to her distress, that in her purse was her package of cookies unopened. The lady is not different from all of us. Sometimes we possess things that do not really belong to us for so long, that we come to think they are ours. Justice concerns precisely a right reading of social reality, of social power and social goods. 
It has been said that to do justly means that you render to everyone that which is due them. Give God what God is due. Give your neighbor what your neighbor is due. Give yourself what you are due
Justice was expected of those people who were joined together in community. To do justice was to do what is right according to the covenant between God and Israel. 
One of the ways justice has been described is to correct the systemic inequalities that marginalize some for the excessive privilege of others.  Treat everyone fairly, equitably and right.   
Give to God what God is due. Give to each other what each person is due. Give yourself what you are due. To act justly means to do what is right. Justice is rooted in God’s character and so it is therefore seen as a quality found in a person who loves God. Those people who love Him work for fairness and equality for all, particularly the weak and the powerless who are exploited by others.
Consider what it means to do justly.  
Friday, February 3, 2023
Love Mercy / Love Tenderly / Be Kind
The Lord requires that his followers love mercy. What does it mean to love mercy? The English dictionary defines mercy as the compassionate or kindly forbearance shown an offender, pity, benevolence, and an act of kindness or compassion. This is what the Lord requires of his followers in their relationships with each other.  
The word mercy is translated from the Hebrew word hesed. The word is used in the Old Testament to describe God’s faithful commitment to Israel even when the nation was unfaithful to God. The word is used to describe the conduct God expected from Israel. “For I desire loyalty not sacrifice.” (Hosea 6:6).
The word mercy could be translated commitment, faithfulness or loyalty.  What God requires of His people is faithfulness and commitment to the relationship established by the relationship God has initiated. God requires that we be committed to God
and love being committed to God. 
The story is told of a little girl who was being tucked into bed in yet another bed in a much too long line of foster homes, by yet one more temporary mother or guardian. The new foster mother was surprised when the little girl asked her to take off her wedding ring so she could see it. But wanting to respond warmly to the little girl, she did as requested, and then was startled when the little girl clutched the ring tightly and putting her little fist firmly under her pillow said, “there, now you will not leave me while I am sleeping." 

There is a vulnerability to faith. To love tenderly is to love with the awareness of the capacity of the other to be wounded, to suffer pain and to be dependent upon relationship with others. To love tenderly, requires a particular capacity of spirit and an informed sensitivity. The first task of human beings is that of establishment of basic trust. We are dependent on a network of belonging. 
Loving mercy or loving kindness is also a character trait of God. Human beings who love God are to display loving kindness and faithfulness toward each other, especially the poor, the weak and needy. God’s desire is to build righteous faith communities willing to display their love for God, by loving people.
Consider what it means to love mercy.  
Saturday, February 4, 2023
Walk Humbly with God
Micah concludes with "walk humbly with your God." Be in right relationship with God.  All throughout ancient Israel's history we find a pattern or cycle of disobedience and rebellion. God promised to bless His people if they would remain faithful. God presented the people with laws by which they would demonstrate their faithfulness to God. The people rejected God's laws, putting in place their own laws. The people even blamed God for their misguided actions. The people did not walk humbly with God. They walked proudly in disobedience.
What happens when you walk with someone? You walk in closer proximity with each other. You laugh, talk, listen and share your thoughts. Your attention is focused on the person to the exclusion of almost everything else. You notice the beauty around you and an occasional distraction, but only to point it out to your companion. 
You share together in harmony and enjoy your camaraderie. 
Walking actually implies that we are going somewhere with God. Go where God leads. 
Lord I'm Available to You
You gave me my hands to reach out to man
To show him your love and your perfect plan
You gave me my ears; I can hear your voice so clear
I can hear the cries of sinners, but cannot wipe away their tears
You gave me my voice to speak your word
To sing all your praises to those who've never heard
But with my eyes I see a need for more availability
I see hearts that have been broken, so many people to be freed
Lord I'm available to you / My will I give to you / I'll do what you say do
Use me Lord / To show someone the way
And enable me to say
My storage is empty and I am available to you
Now I'm giving back to you all the tools you gave to me
My hands, my ears, my voice, my eyes,
so you can use them as you please
I have emptied out my cup, so that you can fill me up
Now I'm free, I just want to be more available to you
Lord I'm available to you / My will I give to you / I'll do what you say do
Use me Lord / To show someone the way / and enable me to say
My storage is empty and I am available to you

Use me Lord / To show someone the way / Then enable me to say
My storage is empty and I am available to you
My storage is empty and I am available to you
My storage is empty and I am available to you / To You
Consider what it means to walk humbly with the Lord.  

Lord I'm Available to You

Melinda Watts
2412 Griffith Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90011 
Phone: (213) 748-0318