He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8 NASB
Some interpret this verse as the simple quintessential verse in the OT mated with Jesus’ words reiterated in the NT to love God and love others interpreting these verses as “that’s all that God requires of us.” At one point in life, I would have also interpreted these verses in that way, but I don’t anymore. I have come to view these verses not as the “complete calling”, put as more of a foundation of the heart and mind to begin the journey to the place of deeper intimacy that God wants to take us to.
As I study the context of both verses, we find similar “specific” audiences. We are in the midst of those that seem to have made or are considering making the first step of allegiant obedience to follow God/Jesus with their heart and mind. To turn from the world and seek a new life. These words in Micah are a basic but specific set of instructions to those in that stage of their journey; do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly and/or love God and love others. It is really the only information someone of the world or recent conversion needs understand to begin living a life in obedient faith.
However, there is more. As we walk in humility and God meets us in fervent faithful living for Him, the reciprocal relationship will become more intimate and what is asked for in the walk becomes deeper and more devoted. The deeper calling is to completely give your life to the calling, in the New Testament this is described as discipleship. It’s interesting as you study the calling of the 12 disciples by the world standards, they had already been called disciples; but then Jesus asks them to consider his definition of discipleship. Sometimes this is referred to by scholars as true discipleship. That discipleship goes beyond the simple foundations and asks for a spirit of giving God everything that you’ve been given to be “all in.”
The word used for “Humbly” in Micah is the Hebrew word Hatsnea, it is the only time in the Bible this Hebrew word is used. I teach on these words a lot. They are called hapax legomena and there are over 1,480 instances of them in the Bible.
There is one other place where we can find a derivative of the same Hebrew word “tsana” in Proverbs 11:2 and it’s in the form of a contranym or something that means the opposite. From here we get the idea that it’s walking without attracting attention to yourself. Whenever you see the idea of walking a path in the Bible it’s describing a relationship with the Lord. To humbly live according to the scripture.
But Micah’s use of tsana’ reminds us that when we do what God asks, we are merely fulfilling what any good servant would do. We do not get special merit or honor for doing what is expected of a servant. Jesus’ comment reflects this perfectly. How will the servant reply to the Master when he is given recognition for fulfilling the command? “I only did what I was expected to do.”
When God is calling you to the next step of true discipleship, it’s a call to deeper devotion… to walk deeper… even as far as death. that was how he called the 12 disciples, and it was literal!
What begins with Simple faith, leads to one step at a time of obedience and eventually gives way to giving everything back to God. It’s a Journey or maybe we should call it a backwards expedition for the kingdom.
The epitome of walking humbly is to do whatever God asks anonymously and with all you have been given in Christ.
It’s unfortunate that too many Christians and churches get stuck at basic Christianity. The quintessential calling of Christ was for deeper devotion in discipleship. To follow faithfully one step at a time. Sometimes I think the Christians have forgotten what deeper discipleship means.
Micah 6:8 doesn’t give us merit to stay where we’re at; God is calling us one step at a time to draw deeper to him and become true disciples given deeply to our calling.