"And To Walk Humbly With Your God"
By Rich Carmicheal
Scripture reading: Micah 6:1-8
"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8). In last month’s issue, I noted that "to act justly and to love mercy" is to express care and concern for others, especially the needy, meeting their needs in practical ways. I now ask you to consider what it means "to walk humbly with your God."
Reverence for the Lord
"And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in His ways…" (Deut. 10:12-13). One mark of walking humbly with the Lord is to live in great reverence for Him. It should indeed be very sobering and humbling to consider that we are invited to walk with the Living God. He is eternal, immortal, invisible, the Creator and Sovereign Lord over all, majestic in holiness and awesome in glory, all-knowing and all-powerful, the Giver and Sustainer of life, a consuming fire and the Judge to whom we must give account. The prophet Isaiah was greatly humbled when he "saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted" and cried out, "Woe to me! I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty" (Isa. 6:1-5). Job, overwhelmed by the presence and power of the Lord, declared, "My ears had heard of You but now my eyes have seen You. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes" (Job 42:6). Simon Peter, when he first encountered the power of the Lord, was humbled, fell on his knees and said, "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!" (Luke 5:8). And when the Apostle John saw the exalted Lord, he fell at His feet as though dead (Rev. 1:12-17).
Our walk with the Lord should always be marked with great reverence for the Person and the Power of the Lord. "Be still and know that I am God" (Psa. 46:10).
Obedience to the Lord's Commands
A humble walk with the Lord is also marked by obedience. "Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what He commands…" (Zeph. 2:3); "…walk in My ways and do what is right in My eyes by keeping My statutes and commands…" (1 Kings 11:38). Those who walk humbly with the Lord are careful to live in accordance with the Lord’s Word. Noah, for example, is recorded as a man who "walked with God" and who "did everything just as God had commanded him" (Gen. 6:9,22).
Obedience is vital to our walk with the Lord and is more important than sacrifice. The prophet Samuel asks, in words that closely parallel Micah 6:6-8, "Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams" (1 Samuel 15:22).
Love for the Lord
However, the Lord has never been interested in cold-hearted obedience or in obedience that is birthed solely out of the fear of Him. Instead, He desires obedience that is motivated by love and appreciation for Him. Therefore, the most important aspect of our walk with Him is our love relationship with Him. Consider again Deuteronomy 10:12-13: "And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees…." Notice that in the midst of reverence and obedience are love, heart and soul. The Lord deeply desires that we love Him with our whole being—with all of our heart, soul and strength (Deut 6:5).
This love is to spring, in part, from our appreciation for what He has done for us. In Micah 6:4, the Lord reminded the Israelites that He brought them up out of Egypt and redeemed them from the land of slavery. His intervention on our behalf is much greater as He has redeemed us from the bondage of sin. This redemption clearly demonstrates His love for us: "This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins" (1 John 4:9-10). His love is the source of our love: "We love because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19).
In other words, the Lord desires that we have a very personal relationship with Him. As Micah 6:8 states, we are to walk humbly with our God. He wants us to walk in close fellowship with Him and He promises to draw near to those who draw near to Him (James 4:8). He wants us to know Him and to place our trust and our hope in Him.
Although we are to live in deep reverence for the Lord, we also can rejoice in Him because we know that He is full of compassion and has the power to forgive, save, deliver, cleanse, transform, resurrect and re-create. We can marvel along with the prophet Micah: "Who is a God like You, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of His inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy" (Micah 7:18). We can rejoice in the Lord’s love toward us, for "it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast" (Eph. 2:8-9). Our boasting is reserved for the Lord.
Repentance and Righteous Living
A humble walk with the Lord is also marked by a growing hatred of sin because it separates us from fellowship with Him (Isa. 59:2). Like David, we understand that sin is a personal affront to the Lord: "Against You, You only have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight…" (Psa. 51:4). We come to realize that the greatest damage caused by sin is broken fellowship with the Lord. Instead of sin, we long to embrace righteousness because we know that the one who is privileged to dwell in the Lord’s presence is the one "whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous…" (Psa. 15:1-2). For this same reason we embrace prayer, fasting, Bible study and other spiritual disciplines that help deepen our fellowship with Him.
Service Unto the Lord and Others
Consider once again Deuteronomy 10:12-13: "And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but…to walk in His ways…to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul…." Heartfelt service unto the Lord is an integral part of walking humbly with the Lord. Of course, one of the primary ways we serve the Lord is by serving others (Matt. 25:40). In other words, to "act justly and to love mercy" go hand in hand with "to walk humbly with your God." On the one hand, our love and respect for the Lord lead us to express love and compassion toward others, and on the other hand, the love and compassion we show to others is a means of expressing our love to the Lord.
At the heart of the Lord’s message in Micah 6:1-8 is His desire that you give Him your heart, your soul, your strength, your love, your devotion, your trust and your service. He longs for you seek Him wholeheartedly and to walk in close fellowship with Him. He renews His call this day that we forsake sin and self in order to draw nearer to Him. "He has showed you, O man, what is good…." Will you renew your love and commitment to Him?