Friday, September 25, 2009

Micah 6:8 The Micah Mandate

The prophetic books from Hosea to Malachi (which includes Micah) are called the books of the minor prophets, not because it is less important, but because it is shorter in length than prophetic books like Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Micah is a contemporary of Prophet Isaiah and interestingly one section of Micah is similar to another in Isaiah (e.g. Micah 4:3 and Isaiah 2:4)

Micah lives under the rule of three kings, the bad King Ahaz, the good King Jotham and the very good King Hezekiah. By then, Israel was already divided into two by civil war after the death of King Solomon: the North (Israel-ten tribes) and the South (Judah-two tribes). Isaiah and Micah was prophesying over the Southern kingdom and another prophet, Hosea, prophesied over the Northern kingdom before they were exiled by the Assyrians. The Southern kingdom was later exiled by the Babylonians according to our reading of Nehemiah where they returned after 70 years. Now you see the connection?

Micah 6:8 (NIV)
He has showed 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.

The above verse is popularly known as the Micah Mandate. There's even a Malaysian Christian organization by that name:

It is about justice, mercy and humility.

What does the Lord require of us? What the Lord requires is set out plainly in Scripture. God has not left us to second guess what He expects. Finding God's will is not as difficult as it seems as it is plain for all to see. That's why "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Tim 3:16-17)

Romans 1:18-20 (NIV)
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

Ephesians 3:8
Although I am less than the least of all God's people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9and to make
plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things.

Therefore the Word of God reveals His heart and desires for us. Wisdom to make decisions come from knowing the Word and a reverent fear of God (Psalm 111:10). We can ask God for wisdom and He gives it to us generously (James 1:5).

There is a misnomer of the phrase "Finding God's will" to mean that God will write in the sky what we ought to do when we seek His will. If that is the case, then why do we need wisdom, meaning the ability to make good choices for right living. Not that God cannot write in the sky (special divine revelations), or on the wall, although in the earlier years of being a Christian, He often by His grace and mercy, gives us quite clear guidance so that we have no doubt about His direction. But the 'bad news' is that if we continue to expect such guidance, we may be disappointed. In my experience, and I think I can speak for many others, as we grow older in the faith, God begins to put us into situations where we need to decide for ourselves and work things out. He doesn't spoon-feed us as we mature in Him, but gives us more responsibilities and trust us to make wise judgments instead of giving us a clear line. (Paraphrase from David Pawson's "Unlocking the Bible", page 1159)

Can you imagine still treating our 20-something sons or daughters like a 10-year old: "Do this, do that!" He will never have the opportunity to learn and mature the way God has created him. I would stand with pride watching how he stands on his own two feet and making good decisions in life and that can only come through sometimes, or often, making wrong decisions. But God allows that in our lives because it is through them that we learn. Remember James 1:2-4 about trials. But He said He will never leave us not forsake us! (Hebrews 13:5, John 14:8, Deuteronomy 31:8, Joshua 1:5)

So God's will is plain before us!


  1. I like the part when you wrote about seeking God's will. It's true - how can we treat a 20-year-old the same way as to a 2-year-old. I guess many of us are not that willing to grow up sometimes...thanks for the encouraging article, Pastor Chris!

  2. It is certainly more convenient to have others (including God) make the decisions for us in life. Often God (and others) takes the blame when things don't go well for us for the decisions we've made. But we need to teach Christians to make wise decision by knowing the will of God first revealed in His Word and where liberty is given to us in the decisions, God says to us "Choose!" This is difficult for many of us because we do not, or dare not, take the responsibilities for those decisions.

    Reminds me often of the role of a pilot. The only way he can make good decisions in his job, especially in times of crisis, is that he knows the pilot and aircraft manual in and out. He is not capable of making good decisions if he is not conversant in these manuals. Even if he knows the manuals well, it will be his piloting experiences (good or bad) that will determine his decisions (good or bad). So never knock down bad experiences because often they are the best teachers in our life. John Maxwell calls it "Failing Forward".

    In the same way, we cannot make good decisions if we do no know the Manual of Life, the Bible, well. Then through your life experiences (good or bad), God will teach you to make good decisions. Isn't that an amazing thought that God will never leave us nor forsake us? So, don't be afraid of making decisions. Just learn to go the Word of God and the God of the Word!