Is Your Life Falling Apart?
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
This past year was an amazing year of ministry for our team! God provided numerous opportunities for us to share His word with scores of people. We feel so blessed to be supported by great faith-partners and ministry friends who regularly provide prayers, encouragement, and resources so we can be effective in our calling.
In my volunteer chaplaincy work with police and fire departments, I often deal with people who are in crisis or haven’t experienced the comfort and joy that comes with a personal relationship with Jesus.
Many of these disheartened people allow anxiety and uncertainty to overwhelm them. For those of us who know God and trust Him, no matter how unstable our environment is or the circumstances surrounding us, we can rest in knowing God is constant and in control. He wants us to remain constant and faithful, also.
Such was the case in Micah’s day. This prophet of God preceded our Lord and began his ministry about 735 B.C. His “calling” was to help the nation of Israel turn its attention back to God. Read the first six chapters of Micah and you’ll see that the religious condition of Israel had become ominous. The rich turned their backs on the Lord and began to emulate the lifestyles of pagan nations. When the peasant farmers found difficulty producing the required luxury goods, the rich landowners took over their holdings and influenced court decisions, bribing the judges. The unemployed farm workers then drifted to the cities seeking shelter. For the first time in Hebrew history, serious overcrowding threatened large settled areas. Squalor and disease soon accompanied poverty.
Like some of the people I deal with as a chaplain for first responders, things were bad. But Micah told the nation of Israel exactly what God desired from them. God did not want them to be related to Him in merely a ritualistic way. God wanted them to be related inwardly — to obey Him out of desire and devotion rather than obligation. Obedience was never meant to be a burden. The prophet Micah stated God’s expectations clearly and concisely in Micah 6:8. God saw their suffering and gave them instructions, explaining how to make things “good” again. He called them “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
While God was speaking to their circumstances and current behavior, I think these words apply to us today. They are certainly words to live by, not as a formula for a “good life”, but as template for a pure and loving heart. God wants us to be fair in our dealings with others, carry through on our commitments to meet others’ needs, and pursue Him without arrogance.
Pursuing justice is a way of loving mercy, which in turn is a manifestation of walking humbly with God. They’re absolutely intertwined — the result of loving God and loving others. And is that really any surprise since Jesus instructs us, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’” (Matthew 22:37–40)
“Good” really is determined by loving God and loving others. I’m thankful that God speaks to us clearly, especially in our times of need. I’m thankful that, when we keep our eyes on Him, He brings peace and comfort during the toughest of times.
How can you apply these Scriptures to your life?
“Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not ignore it.” (Proverbs 8:33)
“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me, put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:9)
Suggestion for Prayer
If you’re overwhelmed with your circumstances, ask the Lord to strengthen you with His Word. Ask Him to help you focus on loving Him and loving others, according to His instruction. Allow Him to comfort you and bring you peace.
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Jim Grassi, D. Min.