Micah 6:8 – “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” NKJV
In my previous post, I left out a very important insight. Micah starts this verse by writing, “He has shown you, O man, what is good”. This is really key and should not have been overlooked. I apologize. For the thing that God is requiring of us, He has already demonstrated it to us. My last post referenced how God requires that we act justly. The thing I forgot to mention is that He requires it because He is a just God. He gave us laws, judgements, testimonies, statutes, or whatever you choose to call them; in which we are to live by. He added blessings and consequences to those. He demonstrated how He is just, and then He required it of us. That brings us to tonight!
His second requirement is that we are “to love mercy”! This is pretty easy to receive, but often times harder to give. Yet, He, being our first example, is the God of mercy. I like the song Alvin Slaughter sang years ago, “Mercy Refused”, written by David Baroni. In the song it states:
Justice demanded satisfaction, the law had been broken again and again. Judgement required immediate action, death wanted payment for sin. Mercy refused, and love took my place; there on the cross, where justice met grace. Mercy refused to let me die, Jesus the Lamb was crucified, though rightfully, death wanted me, Mercy refused!
How adequate the words of this song describes the mercy of God towards mankind! In explaining the difference between grace and mercy to my children, or in a Bible class, I like to say that “grace is getting what we don’t deserve, while mercy is not getting what we do deserve”.
Just recently, someone called me from her job. She had forgotten to pay the meter and had been at work for almost the entire shift when she realized it. As she went between worry over a ticket and praying she didn’t get one, I just came in agreement with her that she wouldn’t get it. I stayed on the phone with her as she walked back to her car. When she arrived at the car, the ticket that should have been on it, wasn’t there! Was she ever grateful and excited! God’s mercy! It could have even been His mercy through an individual. Nonetheless, that person, by law, deserved a ticket, but received mercy instead!
As I laid in bed the other night, thinking about the first blog on God’s requirement, the Spirit whispered this word to me, “chesed”. I am not a student of the Hebrew or the Greek language, but I knew that was the word for mercy. It was as if He was approving my topic, and leading me. The word “chesed” is not only translated to mean mercy, but it also means steadfast love, kindness, faithfulness, and loyalty. God makes it plain to us that He requires that we demonstrate kindness, mercy, steadfast love, faithfulness, and loyalty one to another.
In the book of Zechariah 7:9, it is written,
“Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Execute true justice, show mercy and compassion, everyone to his brother.”
This verse is similar to Micah, in that it mentions both justice and mercy are to be shown to everyone. In the Message Bible it reads like this:
“Well, the message hasn’t changed. God -of-the-Angel-Armies said then and says now: “‘Treat one another justly. Love your neighbors. Be compassionate with each other. Don’t take advantage of widows, orphans, visitors, and the poor. Don’t plot and scheme against one another—that’s evil.’
Isn’t that it in a nutshell? We are not to take advantage of one another, we are not to scheme against one another, it’s not right! It’s not godly! It doesn’t get any plainer than that! We are to treat one another right! We are to treat one another with love and demonstrate compassion. In our present climate in America, it won’t always be easy, but it is the right thing to do, because God requires it of us!
I couldn’t help but think of David and Saul. In 1 Samuel 24, David is in a cave with his men when Saul goes in to relieve himself. David’s men tell him that God had delivered his enemy, Saul, into his hands. David cuts off a corner of Saul’s robe, and then he gets a check in his spirit, that let’s him know he is not to touch Saul, nor allow his men to touch Saul. After Saul leaves the cave, David comes out of the cave and let’s Saul know that if he wanted to kill him, as some said, he had the perfect opportunity to do so. David would have been justified in killing Saul, since Saul pursued him so diligently for that same reason. But the case of justice and mercy once again clashed. While it may have been okay to kill Saul, since “all is fair in war”, so to speak; it wasn’t God’s heart. God required of David, to extend mercy. Was it easy? Maybe not! Yet, in doing so, David pleased God!
Proverbs 3:3-4 – Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man. NKJV
Are you looking for favor and high esteem? The Bible tells us not to forsake mercy and truth. As a matter of fact, we are to wrap it around our neck and write them in our heart. In other words, they are to be important to us! Living God’s truth and walking in mercy pays greater dividends, then trying to please man. That’s what David did. He had hidden the truth of God’s word in his heart and knew mercy was required of him. Just because we have a right to be angry, or a right to get somebody back, doesn’t mean we should. Do what God requires by extending mercy, and He will give you both favor and high esteem with Him and with man!
One last important verse on mercy that I just have to share:
He who follows righteousness and mercy, finds life, righteousness, and honor. Proverbs 21:21 NKJV
Wow! Isn’t that something to ponder on? When we are kind and show mercy as a way of life, we find life, right standing with God, and honor! We shouldn’t just be following facebook, Twitter and Instagram! We should be following righteousness and mercy! Then we will find life! I don’t know about you, but I am going to do a better job with acting justly and showing mercy. In one scripture, the Bible says that it is good for us! Aren’t you ready for some good in your life? I just told you how to get! Fall in love with demonstrating mercy to others! Stay tuned for what God has to say to us about this last requirement! Wonderful Jesus!