The book of Micah lists three actions that God requires of His people. In this series, we will look at each and discover how we can make sure we are doing them.
There are several lists in the Bible that give broad information about very big concepts. A few examples are a list of things God hates (Proverbs 6:16-17, 18-19), what pure religion is (James 1:27) and even the conclusion of the whole matter of life in general (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
One such list is found in Micah 6:8, which tells us what God requires of us. This verse is beautiful because it takes an enormous concept and narrows it down to three strikingly simple points: “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”
But just what is just?
At its core, doing justly is being fair. When we think of fairness, we often think about rules: “Those who follow the rules are fair, and those who don’t are unfair.”
Yet historically mankind has devised rules that are fair for some and unfair for others. Despite the fact that many want to make the world fairer, nothing has curbed the human tendency to slant rules in the favor of some to gain advantage over others.
But God’s moral law of love is totally different. It could be considered the quintessential treatise on fairness and justice. God’s laws are exponentially better than rules created by human beings who notoriously aim to benefit the few rather than the whole. Think about how fairness is so strongly connected to these laws.
Think of any situation in which you are expected to do the “right” thing, and replace the word right with fair.
The Bible reveals God as a being who practices perfect justice—He never lies, never shows partiality and is exemplified by love.Is it fair to be jealous of someone else’s life on social media? Platforms like Facebook can easily become a digital whitewashing tool that can make anyone’s life look fantastically exciting. So, is it fair to ourselves to feel down about our lives because of an incomplete picture of someone else’s life? Is it fair to others to think negatively of them for sharing a portion of their lives? The 10th Commandment says not to covet. Coveting is not fair to anyone.
- Is it fair to use pornography or have an extramarital affair? Is it fair to use another person for sexual gratification? Is it fair to ourselves to destroy our relationships, brains and ideas about sex by involving ourselves in such a damaging activity? No, it’s not fair. The Seventh Commandment says not to engage in any sexual practices outside of marriage. God’s law is fair to both us and our mate (or future mate).
Doing justly is adhering to rules of fairness laid down by our wise and impartial God.
The Bible reveals God as a being who practices perfect justice—He never lies, never shows partiality and is exemplified by love. His purpose for man is to make us like Him. So, in order to be like Him, we have to learn to practice justice as well.
Without doing justly, those amazing traits of God would be impossible to emulate.
How can we fulfill this requirement?
- Fight unfairness in your own environment. The path of the just is likened to a light that gets brighter until it is the full light of day (Proverbs 4:18). Human beings are not naturally just. Promoting justice and fairness means we must make sure we treat others justly. And where we have control or influence, we try to help rectify situations where justice and fairness are being compromised.
Doing justly is challenging, but necessary. Thankfully God’s rules of fairness are available, consistent and practical. Without adherence to those divine rules of fairness, we get the mess of human unfairness that we have all around us today.
Stay out of that mess and practice God’s simple requirement: do justly.
Read part 2 of this series: “What Does God Require of You? Love Mercy.”