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? Micah 6:8
What does God require of us? The answer for much of Hebrew history was sacrifice—notably, animal sacrifice. Animals were sacrificed as a way to atone for the people’s sins, as a gift of gratitude for God’s provision, or as a way to request God’s favor. People also offered the produce from their fields, the first fruits of their labor, as well as financial contributions to support the running of the temple. There was even the tradition of offering, or dedicating, firstborn children to the Lord as a way to express gratitude for all that God had done.
However, according to many passages in the Bible, God does not desire gifts of calves or rams or rivers of oil. The best offering we can make to God is to treat others well. We can deal justly with our neighbors. We can offer kindness to strangers. We can walk humbly in the crowd—not trying set ourselves above others. Like so many parents of children, God essentially says, “If you want to do something for me, treat each other better!” God’s requirement is that we take care of each other.
How can you fulfill God’s requirements?
Lord, for some reason I am more willing to give You “stuff” than I am to offer care to those around me. But what you really want from me is improved treatment of others. You have made this request in many different ways in the Bible. If I want to demonstrate my love for You, all I need to do is love my neighbor. What do you require of me? Be just, kind, and humble in my dealings with other people. You ask that I treat those around me as I would like to be treated…and it will be as if that gift has been presented directly to You. In Jesus’ name, I pray. AMEN.