1-30—2-5-2017 Pastor Bill Mugnolo Hosanna Lutheran Church
“A Word for this Week”: “To Do, To Love, To Walk” … Micah 6:8
They are some of the best known words in the Old Testament’s “Book of the Twelve” (The Minor Prophets). They are engraved over a room in the Library of Congress. They have even been referenced in an Inaugural Address by President Jimmy Carter in 1977. They are the Prophet Micah’s words, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
“To do. To love. To walk”. The first phrase, “To do justice”, means, in its most basic understanding, that we should treat others fairly—to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matthew 7:12). But the full meaning of this phrase goes well beyond the so-called “Golden Rule” above. It calls us to obey everything that is written in the Book of God’s Law, in His holy Ten Command-ments, lest we fall under a curse (Galatians 3:10b).
As sinners, we would all fall under this curse were it not for Micah’s second phrase, “To love mercy”. Here, we are to show kindness towards the lowly, the meek, and those who are in misery. But as with Micah’s first phrase, we find a deeper meaning: “To love mercy” points us to the “undeserved mercy” that God has shown to us in Christ. No sacrifices of calves, sheep, and olive oil—what many in Israel thought that they could offer up for their sins (Micah 6:6)—could ever equal what God did in giving up His firstborn, Jesus, for our transgressions. By Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, we truly become a people who have received mercy (1 Peter 2:10).
Yes, when we have received God’s mercy in Christ, we then can extend mercy to others—however imperfect it might be. The “dying sacrifices” of vegetable matter and animal flesh become replaced by the “living sacrifices” of ourselves (Romans 12:1). Here, in keeping with Micah’s third phrase, we are called to “walk humbly with your God” boasting only in the Lord who is working in and through us (1 Corinthians 1:31, 15:9-10).
“To do. To love. To walk.” May Micah’s words be “engraved upon our hearts!”