He 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 6:8 KJV
He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8 NASB
The background of Micah 6 is the moral failure of the nation of Israel – in contrast to the mercy of God and His faithfulness. Their hearts were barren; their sacrifices and worship blighted; their words and works bent by sin. They were a people in bondage to their own wickedness. God traces the problem all the way back to the house of Omri and to Ahab (v 16). They had forgotten God’s redemptive arm but remembered Omri’s statues and ways.
Then in verse 8, God calls out to the nation; but His use of “O man” suggests that it goes beyond just Israel. This is what God was looking for in every human heart. What God was looking for was a mind that loved what He loved; actions which mirrored His just ways; and an attitude of humility in walking with God. But Israel and the world failed to produce such a man.
There is a sense in which the entire Old Testament can be viewed as God looking for a man to satisfy His heart. No such man was found. There were great men: Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Daniel, and others. Many of them approximated the standard, but none ever met it completely.
But there was a Man, one Man and one Man alone, Who fulfilled all that God ever sought in a man. Did He do justly? His hands were clean (Ps 24:4). We trace the Man Who walked through the Gospel of Matthew and see His love for righteousness. Seven times He spoke of the need and priority of righteousness and displayed it in His life. He loved righteousness and hated lawlessness.
Did he love mercy? Luke tells us in his beautiful Gospel account of the Man Who loved mercy, Who was moved by compassion and cared for others. His every miracle, His every word and encounter – all were marked by mercy. His parables tell of compassion for the bludgeoned traveler (Luke 10) and the wandering sheep (Luke 15). His cries from the cross, as recorded by Luke, tell us of His mercy toward His crucifiers and a prisoner. He loved mercy.
He walked humbly because, in His essence, He is a self-humbling man! He humbled Himself. Mark recounts for us the perfect Servant Who humbled Himself and served others. Like Joseph in his prison duties, the Lord Jesus moved amongst men, sensitive to their needs and serving them. John tells us of the occasion when He girded Himself and washed the feet of His disciples, including a Judas.
Here was the only Man Who fully met every requirement of all that God was looking for in man. He was not only fully man but a fruitful man!
Trace these virtues – to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly – in John’s Gospel. Although it is known as the Gospel of the Son of God, it shows His Perfect Manhood as well.