Micah 6:8 “What does the Lord require of you? ….to love mercy…”
Micah challenges us to “love mercy.” So, what does that look like as we walk it out? First we need to see how God walks out His love of mercy.
The Lord has always been looking for a people totally in love with Him, who would commit their lives to Him by obeying Him and allow Him to transform them to look like Him. Moses loved God and wanted to know Him so one day he asked the Lord to show him what God looked like. The Lord answered his request by passing before him. As He did so Moses did not get to see the Lord with his eyes, but he did get to hear God’s description of himself. The Lord described himself to Moses as “the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.” (Ex. 34:6-7) Throughout the Old Testament God continued to reach out to people to show them who He was. Some saw Him by faith, some believed in him for a while but got sidetracked by life, but most just didn’t get. Always, God tried to show His love and mercy for His people and He even gave them an encouraging word of a future when they could truly see God in the flesh. Many looked for the Messiah that was promised and in that saw the promise of God’s mercy for them.
When Jesus, God’s son, came from heaven to earth to live in every aspect of humankind from birth to death, God was showing His compassion, grace, love, faithfulness, and willingness to forgive us of our sins. Jesus did for us what we could not do. He was born as a human being, tempted in every way, but did not sin. He was crucified for a sin that he did not commit and by that death took on the sins of all who would look to him as their Lord and Savior. His death redeemed us. Then he rose from the dead and stands at the right hand of the Father to advocate for those who accept his offer of salvation. In these acts God has offered us mercy instead of judgment.
When we decide to take Him up on His offer of mercy we are overwhelmed with God’s grace for us. Grace is often defined as “unmerited favor.” It is the idea that grace is offered to someone who doesn’t deserve it. Grace is the act of giving mercy, or compassionate treatment, to someone who has not or cannot earn it.
Micah’s challenge tells us “to love mercy.” I think that that begins with loving the act that the Lord has done for us, His willingness to give us mercy when we deserve judgment. It is recognizing the cost to both God the Father and Jesus the Son for granting that mercy and being so thankful for that mercy that we choose to grant mercy to others. Our love for God’s mercy for us inspires us to grant mercy to others in our lives that have hurt us, become our enemies, or need our help. It is not just a challenge to love God for the mercy He has shown us, but the challenge to us to take that love of the mercy He gave us and incorporate into our lives a loving to show mercy to others like He showed to us. In the next chapter we will look at the ways that Jesus showed compassion and mercy to others even before his greatest act for all of us. Then we will look at a man named Barnabas who tried to follow Jesus’ example in his everyday life. Barnabas will show us practical ways to follow in Jesus’ footsteps of merciful living.