a humble walk with God – Part 2


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ACT JUSTLY

Micah 6:8: What does the
Lord require of us?– First, the Lord requires that we act justly. DO justice.
Seek after justice. This is a very active engagement. It is not sitting back
and just knowing what is right and wrong. It is doing what is right.  – The Hebrew word is mishpat. To practice mishpat is
to live with others according to the patterns of God’s covenantal relationship.
We have entered into a standard agreement with God- a covenant. As a result we are to mirror God's standards. We uphold his doctrine on the earth. God upholds a standard of truth and law… so we do the same. God defends his name… so we do the same. God casts down the wicked and carries the burden of the poor. God proclaims
favor upon those who are low. Blessed are the meek. Blessed are the righteous.
Blessed are the poor in spirit. Those who have been wronged will be championed
and those who have done wrong will be brought to account. Justice is so very
good.

LOVE MERCY

Micah 6:8: What does the
Lord require of us?– To Act Justly, and secondly, Love Mercy. The Hebrew is hesedh – Love mercy. I don’t know about
you but I don’t really feel an inclination to love mercy. To give somebody
mercy is to give an opportunity of reconciliation when they haven’t earned
it—even if they deserve some kind of just consequence for wrongdoing. And yet,
as a Christian, you have married yourself to mercy. You’ve embraced it. You’ve
accepted it yourself. Jesus has shown you mercy and so you have
received mercy. But mercy is not yours to keep. It is yours to give. “Lord,
forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing” is not a phrase of just consequence.
Jesus accepting punishment for sin on the cross was justice, but in an unjust sort
of way. The cross was justice and mercy mingled down. To practice hesedh is to live in covenantal
relationship with God and others in a holistic embrace of faithfulness, love, mercy, grace, and kindness. It is upholding God’s standard of justice in a
sacrificial way. Hesedh is a stronger
person or group accepting responsibility of deliverance and protection for a
weaker person or group in need. The practice of mercy can never be forced. It
is the proclamation of an intimate and voluntary Good News, a binding of the
broken-hearted, a freeing of captives, a release from darkness, an upholding of
just vengeance, yes, but also a comforting of those who mourn, and the
bestowing of a beautiful crown in the place of ashes, a garment of praise
instead of despair. Mercy is so very good.

WALK HUMBLY WITH OUR GOD

Micah 6:8: What does the
Lord require of us?– To Act Justly, to love mercy, and, finally, necessarily,
to walk humbly with our God. The first two are hard to hold together without
the third. Justice and mercy appear at first to be at odds with one another. Justice and
Mercy can make terrible dance partners, on steps on the other. But this is what
is so remarkable about our God. At the cross, justice is mercy and mercy is
justice.
 At the cross we stand humiliated before a very good God. And we must, as
Christians, recognize that the only way to hold the tension of justice and
mercy together is to be present with God in a posture of humility.

A humble walk with God
necessitates the casting off of all arrogance and the indignation of our own self-righteousness.
Those who attack injustice with arrogance do harm. Those who try to approach
mercy with self-righteousness do harm. A humble walk with God keeps us from an
arrogant egotism in our approach to what is right and who needs help. It is a
casting off of all perception of our own greatness so that our work of mercy does
not take the shape of charity towards those we see as being less great. A
humble walk with God necessitates a calling and a response, an invitation for
us to both receive and participate in the action of God. We will go where he
goes, do what he does, have the conversation that he wants to have.

To walk humbly with God is
to practice covenant solidarity with God. And as God walks, our solidarity with
him means that we will be walking among others and inviting them to also
receive and participate in the act-justly-love-mercy campaign of God. As the walking-partner
we recognize God’s sovereignty, God’s gifts, God’s saving acts, and also we
become more and more aware of the consequences of any of our mal-behavior towards God and
towards other human beings. A true walk with God rids us of ignorant arrogance–
and forces us to walk smack into the reality injustice of this world armed with humility.

—part 3 tomorrow—

 

Ken Castor

Ken Castor is a husband, dad, pastor, writer and teacher. He serves as a professor at Crown College, Minnesota, where he equips students to pursue Jesus-Centered Faith and Next Generation Ministry. For 20+ years he's focused on equipping the next generations in places like the U.S., Canada, and Northern Ireland. He's the author of Grow Down (Simply Youth Ministry, 2014), Make a Difference (Broadstreet, 2016), the Blue-Letters Editor of the Jesus-Centered Bible (Group, 2015) and numerous other articles and Bible Study guides. But, whenever possible, he gets down on the floor and builds Lego with his kids. Connect with him @kencastor.

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