Daily Thought for: 10th April
DO JUSTLY...LOVE MERCY...WALK HUMBLY
Micah 6. 6-9
A representative Israelite had asked Micah an important question about what God wanted from a member of a convicted nation, ‘Wherewith shall I come before the Lord’, Mic. 6. 6, since His principle had always been that ‘none shall appear before me empty’, Exod. 23. 15; Exod. 34. 20; Deut. 16. 16. Micah was able to give the divinely inspired answer, ‘to do justly, and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with thy God?’, v. 8 JND. Of course, what might naturally spring to the mind would be extravagant acts of outward religion, ‘calves ... thousands of rams ... ten thousands of rivers of oil’, vv. 6-7. However, lives permanently changed for the good would be far more demanding than offering sacrifices. Such lives would certainly bring far more pleasure to God in the long-run. Samuel had said something quite similar, ‘Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams’, 1 Sam. 15. 22. The same truth is to be found time and again in the scriptures, cf. Isa. 1. 11-17; Jer. 7. 22-23; Jer. 26. 13; Amos 5. 21-24, Eccles. 5. 1. We are reminded that the psalmists knew the same truth, Ps. 50. 8-9; Ps. 51. 16-17, while Solomon stated that, ‘to do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice’, Prov. 21. 3.
In the New Testament, the Lord Jesus taught the same truth, ‘I will have mercy, and not sacrifice’, Matt. 9. 13; Matt. 12. 7, see also Mark 12. 33. He also cited the similar example of the scribes and Pharisees, who ‘pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone’, Matt. 23. 23.
In the epistle to the Hebrews, we learn of another reason why God found no pleasure in animal sacrifices - He had prepared the body of the Lord Jesus to be the once-for-all sacrifice, 10. 5-8, and this sacrifice certainly brought pleasure to God, Eph. 5. 2.
The mere outward observance of religion proves nothing about a true change of heart.