Author – Carol Stokes
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”
The LORD has issued His indictment against the Israelites. What does he want from them? Is it burnt offerings of calves, a thousand rams, rivers of oil, or even their firstborn child? No, what he wants of them is to do justice, love kindness and to walk humbly with Him. Sounds so simple. All that’s needed is to smile, talk syrupy sweet and go through religious rituals. The nation found this wasn’t true and was about to be judged.
This isn’t the first time God told them what He expected. Back in Deuteronomy 10:12-13 He said, “And now Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD, which I am commanding you today for your good?” They didn't accept the fact that His commands were for their good.
To do justice or to act justly is not based on our culture or our own opinion of justice. It is a total commitment to God’s justice based on His righteousness and His Law. We are to love God’s Law not as a burden but out of love for God and our desire to obey His Word in all aspects of our life. We are to believe and to know this is for our good.
To love kindness or mercy translates into action based on helping others as opposed to judging them; healing versus condemnation. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)
Walking humbly with God is a continual intimate relationship talking to God, listening and obeying His Word. We need to realize life with God is right now, not at some point in the future.
Lord, may my walk with You be closer than my very skin. I want to love You and Your Law and to think what You think and want what You want. May there be a seamless unity between You and me so that I do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with You. Holy Spirit, help me to keep my eyes on Jesus instead of myself.
Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost...Luke 15:6
Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost...Luke 15:9
It was fitting to celebrate and be glad...Luke 15:32
It is impossible to miss the joy and celebration in these parables when what was lost is restored. Jesus uses these stories to describe the rejoicing and festivities in heaven when a lost sinner comes home.
We currently have four dogs that hang around our house. Since we live in the country, many times abandoned dogs wander up to our place. Of the four, we only chose one out of a litter, Beazy. The others are either strays or belong to neighbors. Thinking of celebration and joy reminded me of the way the dogs act when Roy comes home. In their excitement, they run to meet the truck and jump all over him. One even turns flips when she gets really excited. All the dogs love him because he feeds and plays with them, takes them to the vet and loves on them — all except mopey Beazy. She doesn’t come when called and ambles up only when she feels like it.
That made me think of the older brother and his attitude when his brother returned home. Do I rejoice and celebrate the great salvation of my Father or have I become indifferent? Have I become like Beazy and become mopey because the Lord has not done what I expected or desired Him to do?
John Piper says, "God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him." So, I had a little talk with Beazy about our attitude. I think she even wagged her tail. Now the talk with my Father.
Father, You are such a good God. Forgive me when I am not satisfied in You. I was the lost sheep. I was the lost coin. Forgive me for being the older brother. You do abundantly more for me than I can even ask or think. Please restore to me the joy of Your salvation.