Do you know what God wants, man of valor?
In the Old Testament, the prophet Micah, whose name means “Who is like the Lord?” was summoned by God to call the nations of Israel and Judah to repentance. Micah’s name is interesting given that he prophesied during the reigns of three exceedingly wicked kings of Judah, one of whom even sacrificed his own children in the fires of Molech.
He prophesied as the northern kingdom (Israel) fell, warning Judah that they, too, would be taken captive if they didn’t repent.
Micah recorded the people’s sins, which included cheating people out of honest wages, stealing homes and inheritances, listening to false prophets, not caring for the poor and needy, not giving equal justice, witchcraft, cannibalism, and more. All this wickedness by leaders, false prophets, and the people was so normal, such an everyday occurrence, that it was all the people knew. Yet they continued sacrificing animals to “worship” God.
Then, in chapter 6 of the book of Micah—where he is seemingly responding to someone’s question—he states what the Lord actually wants.
In 6:8 we read, “He has told you, O man, 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?” (ESV).
Practicing the outward manifestation of Judaism was not enough. Micah says God wants much more than animal sacrifice. He doesn’t desire ceremonial worship practices; God wants their hearts. He wants fellowship. God wants much more than rote religious rituals!
Given the current state of our nation and world, people are still confused about what God wants. But His desire hasn’t changed. He isn’t looking for churchgoers, financial contributors, good deeds, or zealous service—if all of that is simply a check-the-box act while living in sin or thinking “Okay, I’ve done everything a Christian is supposed to do, I’m good!”
NO! Our marriages, families, cities, and nations are in a mess because that’s all most Christians have done for many, many years—just like in Micah’s time!
What God wants, what He is asking is: “Are you walking humbly with Me? Are you loving kindness? Are you acting justly?” When we do that, when we live as men of valor, then all the works that we do will be accepted by God. And our family and our world will benefit and prosper.
Jesus Said It, Too
This connects perfectly with Jesus’ words in Matthew 22:36-40: “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend on all the Law and the Prophets” (ESV).
Here is Jesus Christ himself telling us how to behave as men of valor. Notice he doesn’t say what to eat or what to wear or how much to give to the church; He instead says to love God and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
Put together, these two passages tell us God’s will:
- Act justly. Be morally fair and reasonable. Treat others as fairly as possible—no impartiality. Do wrong to no one; do right to all.
- Love kindness (mercy). The dictionary defines mercy as “compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.” The ultimate example of this is found at the cross of Calvary.
- Walk humbly with your God. Do not have a high opinion of yourself. Pride has no place in a man of valor’s life.
- Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. When we love somebody that much the whole focus of everything we do is on them. We try to please them at every turn. That’s how we are supposed to live for God; that’s how we are to love God.
- Love your neighbor as yourself. Care for those around you the same way you care for yourself. Has God blessed you with an abundance of something? Share it.
If we put these five simple commandments into practice in our lives, we will naturally follow and obey every other command in the Bible.
What Does God Want?
He wants you, man of valor. He wants your heart, your soul, your mind. He wants to save you, your family, your community, and your nation. He wants you to do justice, love kindness, to walk humbly with Him, to love Him with all that you are, and to love others as much as you love yourself.
Like the Israelites in Micah’s day, we have lost or way. But God didn’t get lost; He hasn’t changed. We serve the same God now that they did when this book was written. Though He is compassionate and loving, He is just and will punish sin. So…be careful how you live. Don’t get caught up in the sins around you. Remember that God doesn’t want your outward appearance; He wants your heart. He doesn’t want lazy, inward ignorance; He wants your mind. He wants you to know him, really know Him. He wants to show mercy and compassion on you, man of valor.