God is the only One who can work miracles within us, and He wants nothing more than for us to live transformed lives in this world, walking closely in relationship with Him. Living with the justice, mercy, and humility that are true reflections of His character is powerful and takes courage.
When talking about social justice in our world today, one of the most frequently quoted verses from the Bible is from Micah 6:8: “He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
But what was the context from where this verse was taken, and how does it really relate to us today?
What Does Micah 6:8 and "Do Justice, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly with Your God" Mean for Us Today?
In the darkest moments of history, both then and still today, God always gives hope. His people failed Him again and again, just as many of us fail Him daily. Yet the story never ends there. Our miracle-working, life-transforming God desires to change our hearts and lives to be a living representation of Him, light in a world that desperately needs His love and peace.
One thing we can clearly take away from this chapter is this: our sacrifices and religious talk or rituals will never be enough to change our hearts for the better. We will always come up short. Our motives will get off track. And really, without His love compelling us and changing us, it’s all in vain.
God is the only One who can work miracles within us, and He wants nothing more than for us to live transformed lives in this world, walking closely in relationship with Him. Living with the justice, mercy, and humility that are true reflections of His character is powerful and takes courage. That’s what being a “living sacrifice” is all about in Romans 12:1-2, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Why Did Micah Deliver This Message?
In the book of Micah, we see the prophet presenting a picture of who God is—the mighty God who hates sin but loves the sinner—as well as the state of the nation of Israel and the case against them for turning their backs on Him.
It’s broken down into 3 sections:
The trial of the capitals (1:1 – 2:13)
The trial of the leaders (3:1 – 5:15)
The trial of the people (6:1 – 7:20)
In the beginning of each of these sections, Micah begins with the words, “hear” or “listen,” and then closes with a promise from God. How true this is for us today. God calls us to “listen” to Him, to seek to hear His voice, right now, in the midst of all the clamor of voices, battles, fears, and uncertain times. And His end message is always hope.
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Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly With Your God - 3 Life-Changing Attributes
Justice - To act justly is to live with a sense of right and wrong, to walk responsibly before God, and protect the needs of the innocent. It is defined as, “the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness.” God calls His people to action when it comes to justice, not to sit passively or stay silent when others are being hurt, abused, in need, or feeling helpless. Throughout God’s word, we see constant reminders that He is a just God. Justice is a foundational truth to who He is.
Mercy – To love mercy is to show “lovingkindness” or “loyal love” towards others, taken from the Hebrew word “hesed.” Just as God’s character is continually loyal and merciful to us, He calls us to live in this same way, both in our relationships with Him and with others. Essentially mercy is “not getting what is deserved,” or defined as, “showing compassion or forgiveness towards someone instead of punishment or harm.” It’s important to note that this attribute is impossible to do on our own, we desperately need the love of Christ living and breathing in us, through us, to truly understand what it is to “love mercy.” We can be constantly grateful for the gifts of God’s mercy and love covering our lives every single day.
Humility – The call to walk humbly before God reveals our very heart and relationship towards Him. God desires that we rely fully on Him and His wisdom, instead of seeking our own way and doing what is right in our own eyes. Jesus is the perfect example of humility for us. All He did was a direct reflection of His Father. He lived in a servant-hearted way that opposed pride and arrogance, and was willing to die sacrificially so that we could live free. The path of humility is never easy, but it will always be the road God calls us to walk. Proverbs 22:4 defines it as, "Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life.”
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A Prayer from Micah 6:8 - Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly
We thank you for your Word and that you’ve given us all that we need to live as love and hope in a dark world. Forgive us for sometimes trying to do things all on our own, and out of our wisdom in what we think seems best. We can often busy ourselves and keep spinning our wheels without the true heart of justice, mercy, and humility you’ve shown us to have. Thank you for reminding us of your very nature of love that encompasses all these attributes. You are our ultimate example in living strong and power-filled lives among so many that need to see your light and love in action.
We ask you Lord to please renew our hearts and minds in you, we pray that you would change us more into your image. Fill us with the reflections of your character, help us to extend mercy, to show love, to walk humbly, to act in ways that are just and right in this world. Without your power and ability, we are not able. Without your spiritual discernment and strength, we cannot see fully what we need to see. Help us to hear your voice, to see things as you see them, to truly reflect the character of Christ in our daily lives. Thank you for your promise that as we draw near to you, you will draw near to us. We are never left to try to figure things out on our own. You promise to show us the way and empower us to be salt and light in a dark world.
May we tune out the many voices around us, and strive to tune in to yours first. May we choose to see others as more important than ourselves. May we long to help serve those who have suffered so greatly and to be a voice for those who have been oppressed or silenced. May we choose to love mercy, to show kindness, to a world that would seek to build walls and barriers instead of bridges and unity. May we choose to walk in humility with you, instead of looking out for ourselves first or setting our own lives up as more important than others’.
May your Spirit breathe refreshment, renewal, purpose, and power in us, through us, today. We recognize our great need for you Lord, we rely fully on your strength and help.
We ask that you would unite believers everywhere to pray for our nation and world, that you would help us to set aside our differences and focus on the bond in you that holds us all together. Thank you that a chord of 3 strands is not easily broken, and that there is great power in how we choose to live our lives. Shine on us Lord, bless us with your peace and presence.
We thank you that anything is possible through you, and you can change even the hardest of hearts. We are yielded to you. We will choose to do justice, to love mercy, to walk humbly with you all the days of our lives.
In Jesus’ Name,
Bible Verses about Justice:
“Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause.” Isaiah 1:17
“Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times!” Psalm 106:3
“Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another,” Zechariah 7:9
“To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” Proverbs 21:3
“The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.” Deuteronomy 32:4
Bible Verses about Mercy:
“Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6:36
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” Matthew 5:7
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6
“For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” James 2:13
Bible Verses about Humility:
“But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6
“The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.” Proverbs 15:33
“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” James 4:10
“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
There are many paths we can choose to walk in this life, but to be known as one who lives with justice, mercy, humility, and walks closely with God is truly the most powerful way we can live. May He help us to choose wisely.
Debbie McDaniel is a writer, pastor's wife, mom to three amazing kids (and a lot of pets). Join her each morning on Fresh Day Ahead's Facebook page, for daily encouragement in living strong, free, hope-filled lives. Find her also on Twitter and at her blog debbiemcdaniel.com.
This article is part of our prayer resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can't find the words to pray.