Walk Humbly with Your God-February 2, 2014
Scripture: Micah 6:3-8
There will always be somewhere engrained in our human sin nature a desire to ask God for more. We want God to do something for us. Even today and the days leading up to this day, Super Bowl Sunday, prayers have gone up for one team to win and another to lose depending on which team you are hoping will win. So which prayers should God answer ours or theirs. If we are honest about it we may be guilty of this at any time, whether it is the Super Bowl, Basketball, College Football, etc.
Before we go further it would also be helpful to not it is not just sports. We ask God for more things, more money, better jobs, and perfect things for our families, better health, you name any desire and we will always seem to want more. With sports this can drift towards idol worship. The largest stadiums in the world hold football games not churches. More subtly we think asking God for some of these other things is ok. Although they may not be bad in and of themselves, they can become all-consuming. It is then that we can base our trust of God on the answer to these prayers. It is tempting for us to think of God like a vending machine, fast food restaurant, or grocery store where we can have all we want on our terms. When we become too concerned with the present we can think “what have you done for me lately” while forgetting the faithfulness of the past.
This is an understanding of what God has done will help us to be thankful and grateful. God wants to bless us and is able to do so but God is never obligated to do so. We find this time and again in the Old and New Testaments. To walk humbly with our God is to understand all of life as a gift, seeking to make the world a better place and desire the things that He desires. Doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with our God. It is actually these things that are seeking the best for all involved. If we each seek the best for one another then we will be blessed through others. It is humbling to live where we are trusting that God will work His will through us but it will take time to see the larger picture. We begin by giving thanks for His blessings of the past. We know that they would be enough but also that God desires more for us than we can possibly hope for, for ourselves.
God asks Israel here in the Old Testament, through Micah, “My people, what have I done to you? How have I burdened you? Answer me.” Is it possible that we have been so blessed that we have become burdened by it and seek to ask God for more help and blessings than to be reminded of what He has already done. That is what God does next for Israel, He reminds them of His faithfulness to them as a people. He tells them He delivered them out of slavery in Egypt. He sent Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. He reminds them that in the desert He didn’t all Balaam to pronounce a curse only a blessing. Then even through the to their entering the Promised Land. He reminds them of what they already knew the righteous acts of the Lord.”
This is the same reminder that Paul gets when he comes and pleads before the Lord to take away the thorn in the flesh. But he said to Paul, “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” It is also true of us, what we need that reminded that what God is given us in giving us His Son for salvation is an amazing Grace. That Grace is sufficient. So even if God never did another thing for us in our lives, His grace is the ultimate gift and it is far more valuable than anything else we could possibly receive. The greatest gift was given first. What about us? Do we remember what He has done for us? That is what we will talk more about next week more. That is why we have that reminder on the word on the front of this communion table. “this do in remembrance of me…” It is easier to walk humbly when we remember what He has done for us. It is easier to walk humbly because we are reminded that all of life is a gift and so is our eternity.
The question that perhaps we should be asking is not what can do for us but what would He like us to do for Him? He does not need our help but desires to use us in the spreading of His love, justice, and ministry throughout the world. We cannot be used by Him if we are no humble. It is in humility that we discover His true power at work in our lives. His strength is made perfect in our weakness, not our stubbornness.
Verses 6 & 7 ask what is it we have the God needs? Really nothing it is more about what His desire or what does He will for us? The second part of verse 7 asks an interesting question, “shall I offer my firstborn for the sin of my soul?” There were other religions whose cultic practices where the offering up of the children as sacrifices to appease their gods. This phrase also reminds of an event earlier in Israel’s history when their Father Abraham was willing to be obedient to God and sacrifice his son Isaac. Abraham proves his faithfulness but God does not allow Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Isaac asks about there being no lamb for the burnt offering? Abraham’s response is a true statement of faith that foreshadows our reality, “God himself will provide the lamb…” And God provided that day and ultimately through providing His Son in place of our sins and our sons.
No we do not offer our sons because He offered His and that is a lot to be thankful for. We should not be surprised He doesn’t want us to die but something much more significant. He wants us to live. He has shown us this time and again through His word and later demonstrated through His own Son. God has shown us what is good. He requires not that we die but that we live for Him. How do we do that? First mentioned is that we act justly. We practice justice, fairness, and integrity. We do not seek out to hurt, slander, cheat, steal, lie, manipulate, neglect, and so on. We seek just and acting justly means the rules don’t change to benefit us. They are the same all the time. Justice, Mercy, and humbleness is learning to live more for God by thinking less of ourselves, and serving others more. If we can not do that then these other things will be impossible.
Each of these things takes u deeper and deeper. Acting justly is about the outward reflection of that presence of the Lord in our lives. Loving mercy is the transformation or our hearts, desires, and values before the outward changes come. Loving something requires both sacrifice and desire. Love means wanting it more than anything and not just for ourselves but for others first. Mercy requires a sacrifice because often to love it and demonstrate it we must give up our right to ourselves, to our hurt, to our desire to have the feeling that we are right. Showing mercy is giving a freeing type of forgiveness that often does far more for us that the other person. Do you love mercy even if there is sacrifice on your part?
Lastly, to walk humbly with your God. This is the first and I think the most critical part because it is the part where we do sacrifice ourselves in order to really live. To walk humbly requires a different heart and spirit. It is only truly possible with the Lord as our guide. We cannot be full of ourselves and also walk humbly. We cannot walk humbly if we are not willing to serve others for their benefit and not our gain. If we only look at others and not God and what He has done for us we will not remain humble and serving for long. Richard Foster notes that everything naturally in us cries out against true service, because there is no recognition and not done for our benefit. To walk humbly with God also recognized that because He is God there is nothing in us to be puffed up about.
You want to transform a life, a family, a church, a community, this country, and the world, then walk humbly with your God. Give up your right to the past hurts and recognize the past blessings. Learn contentment of the greatest gift of God, the grace given through His Son. Love the mercy that God has given you so much that you extend it to others that they may know it too. Do justly, treat others fairly, seeking the common good, and the righteousness of God for others as much as ourselves. We may find the blessings that we will receive is from others doing the same to us. It is how we are to learn, live, and be the people of God. So walk humbly with your God.