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Monday, September 26, 2016
Today’s Reading | Micah 6:6–8
“With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” He has told you, O mortal, 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? (NRSV)
The last verse of this passage is pretty familiar, isn’t it? But I noticed something that had escaped me all of the other times I’ve heard it spoken or read. It’s a question, not a statement. Noticing this I get a completely different perspective about God’s interactions with us. I always heard this as an instruction. But it’s not. It’s a rhetorical question. God knows that we already know how to be in favor with God. The issue for us, as with the errant Israelites, is that we just don’t get it most of the time. Instead we try to bargain with God, because we are too prideful to let ourselves become vulnerable to the simplicity of being right with God. We know what is good—that’s why the question posed is rhetorical. Be just, kind, and humble. Live it. Model it. Do it. Easier said than done.
We are attached to the material world and all too often driven by ego. That makes humility a difficult proposition, justice sometimes too threatening to our status quo, and kindness perhaps a sign of weakness. C.S. Lewis said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it’s thinking of yourself less.” In giving ourselves over to God we open the door to fulfillment that transcends fear, weakness, and hubris. And the most amazing thing is that once we recognize we can choose to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God we find that our filter for the world and our place in it changes.
Where we stand matters because of whom we stand with.
And if we fall into the old behaviors and attitudes and forget what God requires of us, there is someone showing the way who epitomizes what is good. As disciples of Jesus Christ, the answer is always right in front of us.
Dear Lord, remind me that to walk with you opens me to justice and kindness. Remind me that in walking humbly I follow your path. Remind me that what you require of me is the simple recognition of goodness and placing my trust in you. Amen.
Written by Ken Ohr, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church
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