With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O mortal, 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. Micah 6:6-8
Growing up I knew when one of my parents called me by my full name it meant I was in serious trouble. It always seemed like there was more force behind my full name, and it didn’t help that yelling wasn’t the normal way we communicated. So anytime I could be down the block and heard my normally nice, quiet-voiced mother yell, “Winfred Burns II,” my immediate reaction was: 'oh boy, I’m about to get it,' which was followed by me taking off running toward the house to find out exactly what I had done.
In this text, imagine God is using that same energy and tone with Israel. God is so fed up with Israel’s disobedience that God now uses Israel’s full name and yells to them from down the block. When Israel comes, God asks them why have they continuously not done what was required of them! After a history of provision and care and love, Israel still chose to dishonor the covenant relationship and God has had enough. What does God require - to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with their God. Much of Israel is going to church, much of Israel knows the laws and uses the laws but God still says Israel is not acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with their God.
This causes me to ask: have we made the law our God instead of the God of the law? And in doing so has it caused us to act unjustly and become arrogant? If we are, I think today is a great day to purge our hearts and soften our hearts so we can become a church and a people that live into our covenant relationship with our God.