“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”
Years ago a friend of mine challenged me by their actions to become a student of the Scriptures. It never ceases to amaze me how the Lord builds into our lives those key moments in His providence which we look back upon and discover that was when so much of our path in life became set. This is one of the arguments for God’s grace. These key moments come about unsought but they form the foundation for our lives. My friend was sitting in a hallway reading her Bible after classes were finished for the day. I was with the school track team preparing for our daily workout. Another friend came by and asked my seated friend what she was doing. Her answer, overheard by me, changed my life. It was that it had recently occurred to her that she was a pastor’s daughter and she did not understand the Bible. She then said that she had set herself a goal to read twenty chapters a day so that she could begin to understand God’s Word. It was as if those words were said for my benefit, because I instantly knew that I must begin to read God’s Word for myself. There and then began my quest to become Biblically literate. It is a quest that I am still engaged in.
Now all of that may seem to be an unusual way to introduce a reflection on Micah 6:8. It is however crucial to my understanding of the verse because it is rooted in the Old Testament Biblical context which calls us to a radically transformed way of living. John Calvin reflects upon this verse in context by stating that what we see here is God’s confrontation with us based upon His covenant love for us. So often we approach God in a way that seems right to us. We believe that anything goes in worship because our intention is to Worship God. Calvin puts it this way.
“We think that God must approve of our actions because of our intention to worship Him.”
(John Calvin; Sermons on the Book of Micah, p. 306)
However the evidence of the entire Scripture helps us discover that God is to be approached only through His Covenant love. Such love was revealed at Sinai in the Old Covenant and in the cross in the new. There is no other way.
There is a message of great joy here for us. Each of these covenant events was in fact an event of grace. Both describe something that God did for us which we in fact could not do for ourselves. He touched our lives at the key moment and nothing will ever be the same again. It is just like the words from my friend which I overheard in a High School hall. They were not said with the idea of their eternal significance. That is however how God used them. In the process of obeying what God had called me to do I began the journey which led my discovery for myself of God’s gracious invitation to come to the cross of Christ and receive life. I praise God for His grace and for His providential intervention in my life for without it I would be lost.