“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?” (Micah 6:8).
The prophet Micah was trying to promote these qualities among Israel and Judah. These qualities should have been understood to be qualities which God required in them (e.g. Genesis 18:19; Exodus 10:3; 23:1-9; Leviticus 19:18; Deuteronomy 10:12-13; 1 Samuel 5:22; Proverbs 21:3; Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; Isaiah 1:11-17; Hosea 6:6).
Many, in Micah’s day, lacked these qualities in them. (1) They did not do justice. Consider: Micah 3:11, “Her heads judge for a bribe, her priests teach for pay, and her prophets divine for money. Yet they lean on the LORD, and say, ‘Is not the LORD among us? No harm can come upon us.” Micah 6:11-12, “Shall I count pure those with wicked scales, and with the bag of deceitful weights? For her rich men are full of violence, her inhabitants have spoken lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.” Micah 7:3, “That they may successfully do evil with both hands – The prince asks for gifts, the judge seeks a bribe, and the great man utters his evil desire; so they scheme together.” (2) They were far from merciful in their behavior. Consider: Micah 2:1-2, “Woe to those who devise iniquity, and work out evil on their beds! At morning light they practice it. Because it is in the power of their hand. They covet fields and take them by violence, also houses, and seize them. So they oppress a man and his house, a man and his inheritance.” (3) They did not walk humbly with God. Consider: Micah 3:1-2, “Hear now, O heads of Jacob, and you rulers of the house of Israel: Is it not for you to know justice? You who hate good and love evil…” Micah 7:2, “The faithful man has perished from the earth, and there is no one upright among men. They all lie in wait for blood; every man hunts his brother with a net.” Rote ritualistic sacrifices were not sufficient to please God (Micah 6:6-8). Real change was needed.
God still requires these basic qualities in us. (1) He requires that we treat our fellow-man properly. (a) We are to do justly. He wants us to be fair and honest in our dealings with one another (Matthew 5:7; James 5:4). (b) We are to love mercy (Matthew 5:7; 18:21-35; Luke 6:36; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:12; James 2:13; 1 Peter 3:8). (2) He requires that we live humbly and submissively with Him (Luke 18:13-17; Romans 10:1-3; James 4:6-10; 1 Peter 5:5-6). The first point should follow, if we live by this second point.