"What does the Lord Require?"; From Micah 6:8
August 1, 2016

C. R. Oliver

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August 1, 2016

"What does the Lord Require?"
From Micah 6:8

Micah 6:8

8 He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?

Don't you just relish the simplicity of this verse?

Set in the midst of a torrent of judgment, this little verse surfaces to send the hearer into a realm of reality that is lost in the deep waters of national confusion.

O' how we need to touch base once again with God's requirements.

How easily we become overwhelmed with the preachments of men. Their books on the "Six ways to succeed in life," or "Three avenues to a better prayer life," or "the Sixteen ways to grow a modern church," or "The 168 ways to prosper now," boggle the mind and leave one grasping for a simple book of "inspirational messages," while trying to figure out where to go next.

Micah reaches into the sanctuary of saneness and offers another calming word to the "scorched saint." The prophet displays the kind of God who is real and to whom any may come.

Micah 7:18-20
18 Who is a God like You,
Pardoning iniquity
And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage?
He does not retain His anger forever,
Because He delights in mercy.
19 He will again have compassion on us,
And will subdue our iniquities.

You will cast all our sins
Into the depths of the sea.

20 You will give truth to Jacob
And mercy to Abraham,
Which You have sworn to our fathers
From days of old.

You see--Micah is no "minor prophet."

He was contemporary to two other men of God: Isaiah (740 BC) and Hosea (735 BC). He might have been influenced by Hosea in that he calls Jerusalem, a harlot.

Few prophets can equal his vision of the future. He knows what will happen many years after his time on earth and why they happen.

Review for a moment the span of items in his short treatise of seven chapters. He foretells the fall of the Northern Kingdom and their ten tribes. He names their conquerors as the Assyrians. Micah tells of the captivity of the Southern kingdom under Babylon's invasion. He tells them they will return and build again. (Mind you, he saw incidents which took place years after his lifetime, 735 BC & following.)

Micah begins by naming the Capitals of the Northern and Southern Kingdoms. Judgment is pronounced on Samaria first, then the transgressions of Judah and Israel.

Micah 1:4-5
5 All this is for the transgression of Jacob
And for the sins of the house of Israel.
What is the transgression of Jacob?
Is it not Samaria?
And what are the high places of Judah?
Are they not Jerusalem?

Do not forget these are his people and the heritage of Jacob. Micah is not aloof from emotional ties with both scenes. It shakes him to see what is coming.

Micah 1:8-9
Therefore I will wail and howl,
I will go stripped and naked;
I will make a wailing like the jackals
And a mourning like the ostriches,
9 For her wounds are incurable.
For it has come to Judah;
It has come to the gate of My people -
To Jerusalem.

Historically, Micah moves from place to place. He even names details of the birth and ministry of Christ. The prophet names the birthplace of the Messiah as Bethlehem. He tells of the grand plan of God to make Jesus the deliverer for all time. Then, Micah jumps down to the end of days and talks about the return of the Jews to Israel, the battles facing them and the world order brought to its knees before Him.

Also, he uses concise and detailed reasons for the judgment upon Jacob. He classifies the rotten roots of the population. Starting with the power elite who are Rulers, Administrative Leaders and Heads of Tribes, he spells out their character in barbed honesty. Surely, he would never have been invited to social events because of his indictments. Most prophets were ostracized. I would imagine he didn't care because he was a country boy living southwest of Jerusalem.

After alienating the leadership of his country, he exposed the sins of the clergy, the local gentry and the complicit behavior of the common man. He paints a canvas full of reasons for God to be angry, and then tempers it with the passage we cited first (Micah 6:8). In addition, he gave his personal statement of faith.

He, in essence, was saying, "You can continue in all this sin if you wish, but as for me and my house--We will serve the Lord."

(For a much deeper study, see page 125 and following in the book, Sealed Unto His Coming.)

Examine now a few chosen passages that will illustrate the depth of his understanding. It couldn't have been easy for him to circulate among the personages God chose to indict. First, look at Leadership:


1. Administrators of Government, heads of economy and religious spokespersons.
(They skin the people and have no shame.)

Micah 3:1-2
Is it not for you to know justice?
2 You who hate good and love evil;
Who strip the skin from My people.

What will God do to these leaders? (He will not hear their prayers and He will hide from them.)

Micah 3:9
Now hear this,
You heads of the house of Jacob
And rulers of the house of Israel,
Who abhor justice
And pervert all equity,

(Remember to judge each group according to Micah 6:8. Remind yourself the first tenet of the requirement was, "do justly.")

Micah 3:11 Her heads judge for a bribe, Her priests teach for pay, And her prophets divine for money. Yet they lean on the LORD, and say,
"Is not the LORD among us?
No harm can come upon us."

(Remember the third tenet was, "walk HUMBLY with your God."
Today, religious leaders, clergy and prophets tell the public these identical things.)

Micah 7:3
The prince asks for gifts,
The judge seeks a bribe,
And the great man utters his evil desire.

(Remember these are recognized officials. The second tenet was, "love mercy.")

The prophet casts a net over the lot of them and sums their plight.

Micah 4:12
12 But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD,
Nor do they understand His counsel.

Micah offers a rhetorical question. Such a question requires an answer, which if given approves or indicts the person.

Micah 2:7-8
Is the Spirit of the LORD restricted?
Are these His doings?
Do not My words do good
To him who walks uprightly?
8 "Lately My people have risen up as an enemy"

(Had leadership become an enemy of God?)

2. Prophets: (including clergy)
Prophets are called, Prattlers of the People. Why, because they prophesied out of their own reasoning. They sought to be "politically correct." In other words, their combined message was, "Don't fear; It's party time."

Micah 2:11
If a man should walk in a false spirit
And speak a lie, saying,
'I will prophesy to you of wine and drink,'
Even he would be the prattler of this people.

The plight of the false "prattler:"

Micah 3:5
Thus says the LORD concerning the prophets
Who make my people stray;
Who chant "Peace"

What is to be their lot?

Micah 3:6-7
Therefore you shall have night without vision,
And you shall have darkness without divination;
The sun shall go down on the prophets,
And the day shall be dark for them.
7 So the seers shall be ashamed,
And the diviners abashed;
Indeed they shall all cover their lips;
For there is no answer from God."

Micah hurries to say, "Those described are not Me!!!"

Micah separates himself from those he descries. He wants those who hear him to know that what he says comes from God and the social isolation surrounding him will not affect him, though he should fall.

Micah 3:8
8 But truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the LORD,
And of justice and might,
To declare to Jacob his transgression
And to Israel his sin.

In another place, he gives his personal testimony of faith. This is the plight of the true prophet!

Micah 7:7-9
7 Therefore I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; My God will hear me.
8 Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; When I sit in darkness, The LORD will be a light to me. 9 I will bear the indignation of the LORD, Because I have sinned against Him, Until He pleads my case And executes justice for me. He will bring me forth to the light I will see His righteousness.

Most of charismatica would fault Micah for such a confession. "Don't make a negative confession; make a positive statement." Perhaps he read the required tenets of Micah 6:8.

3. The Common man.

Micah turned from the leaders of the people, to the people themselves. What he saw was the product of a society and a religion which had abandoned truth and righteousness. The preachment of the clergy had not been from the guidance of the Spirit as was Micah's testimony, but from their own treachery. Here is the result:

Micah 6:12
(Jerusalem)Her inhabitants have spoken lies,
And their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.

Micah 7:2
2 The faithful man has perished from the earth,
And there is no one upright among men.
They all lie in wait for blood;
Every man hunts his brother with a net.

Clearly, Micah felt his message was a universal one; therefore, it can be easily adopted for scrutiny of this generation. He addressed the people of God and the WHOLE EARTH.

Micah 1:2
Hear, all you peoples!
Listen, O earth, and all that is in it!
Let the Lord GOD be a witness against you,
The Lord from His holy temple.

Much of Micah's work deals with the reign of the Messiah upon the earth. Details and determinates abound, but few quote more than scattered verses from his work. Why? It does not fit the model of theologians and their eschatological views. Rich promises and great venues give rise to a glorious kingdom reign. (It would do well to read and meditate these passages. We shall not enter their domain in this study, but sometime in the future.)

One last consideration, I want to make plain his understanding of ritual Judaism. The sacrifices and their attendant offerings were what the people had come to believe placated God. How wrong they were. Israel's God was no Hindu figure accepting flower petals, nor is He some Buddha with lotus offerings. The Almighty did not care a whit (in 735 BC) about keeping festivals, feasts and seasons. He cared about righteousness and holy living. He still does!!

Many of the things done, currently, in religious circles would fall into these same categories. Deeply consider this next passage, please.

Micah 6:6-7
6 With what shall I come before the LORD,
And bow myself before the High God?
Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings,
With calves a year old?
7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams,
Ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

Is He pleased with Sabbaths, prayer shawls, candles or offerings? Is He pleased with great song services and worship teams? No, not as much as He is pleased with these three venues:

Micah 6:8
8 He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?

Until Next month,

Dr. Cosby R. Oliver, PhD.


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Last modified: 02/07/2019