Rev. Ronald C. Purkey claims no originality for this Bible study outline.
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JUSTICE, MERCY, AND HUMILITY
July 19, 2015
SCRIPTURE: Micah 6:3-8
KEY VERSE: He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8)
INTRODUCTION: Our lesson today is found in Micah chapter 6.
· This chapter is in the familiar form of a lawsuit which God brings against Israel.
In Micah chapters 3-5 the prophet condemns Israel’s leaders and shows the contrast between the corrupt society they had shaped and the glorious and peaceful kingdom to be formed by the coming Messiah/King. Now God calls earth itself as a witness to hear God’s charge against His people (Micah 6:1-2).
· As for the people, they will not listen, complaining that serving God is too great an emotional and financial burden.
Yet all the time the response God has yearned for is simply to do good and walk humbly with the Lord (Micah 6:3-8). In view of the violence and wickedness of the people God will not acquit them but will surely punish them (Micah 6:9-16).
· No society which is marked by violence, lying, and deceit will stand -- especially when it is called by God’s name.
I. AN IMPASSIONED APPEAL. (Micah 6:3-5)
A. God had asked the people to testify against Him. (Micah 6:3)
· (Micah 6:3) O my people, what have I done unto thee? and wherein have I wearied thee? testify against me.
God had asked the people to testify against Him and to tell Him what He has done. Now He is going to tell them what He has done to them. What is it that God has done? Has He been ugly to them? Has He mistreated them? Did He take them down to the land of Egypt and leave them there and forget about them? He could have done that. He didn’t have to deliver them out of the land of Egypt, but God did deliver them.
B. God reminded the people how He blessed them. (Micah 6:4)
· (Micah 6:4) For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants; and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.
1. The Lord had redeemed Israel.
“For I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thee out of the house of servants.” They had been slaves, and God says, “I redeemed you. I didn’t do you wrong. I didn’t harm you, but I redeemed you. You were slaves, bending under the yoke of the taskmaster down in the land of Egypt, and there was no one to deliver you. You were not an attractive people; you were a slave people. You had dropped down to the lowest level of humanity, but I loved you and redeemed you out of the house of servants.”
2. The Lord gave leaders to Israel.
“And I sent before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.” God says, “I gave you leadership to lead you out of the land -- Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.” Miriam was one of the leaders out of the land of Egypt. She was on a par with Aaron, but she was not on a par with Moses because Moses was the one that God had chosen.
Note: The people of Israel in Micah’s day complained that they were weary, tired of worshiping God. They said, “After all, what has He done for us?” So God went back and recited their history. God is pleading from His heart with these people.
C. God defended Israel in the past. (Micah 6:5)
· (Micah 6:5) O my people, remember now what Balak king of Moab consulted, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him from Shittim unto Gilgal; that ye may know the righteousness of the Lord.
1. Moab caused trouble for Israel.
What we have here is the reminder of a very wonderful incident that goes back to the time when the children of Israel were ready to pass into the Promised Land. They had to go all the way around Edom because Edom would not let them through their land. God led them around Edom, and then they came to Moab.
The king of Moab at that time was Balak. Balak wanted to curse the children of Israel, and he hired the prophet Balaam who was a lover of money. Balaam was a hired preacher; yet he was a prophet who seemed to have information from God. God certainly spoke through Balaam, but God finally had to judged him.
2. Balaam was called to curse Israel.
Balaam was called in by Balak to curse the children of Israel. “Balaam the son of Beor answered him from Shittim unto Gilgal.” Shittim was the last camping spot before they entered Moab after Balaam began his ministry against them. Gilgal was the first place they camped when they got into the Promised Land. We will not go back over each of the prophecies which Balaam gave but will only say that each time Balaam could not curse Israel – the Lord would not let him curse Israel.
Note: God reminds Israel that He is a righteous God, but He was defending them. The Lord was on their side. And it is wonderful to have God on our side today.
II. A FEEBLE OFFER TO ATONE FOR PAST SINS. (Micah 6:6-8)
A. Israel questions the Lord. (Micah 6:6)
· (Micah 6:6) Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?
1. The people’s first question: “Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God?
What can I bring to God? What can I give Him? He’s way up yonder -- I’m way down here. How am I going to reach Him? How am I going to communicate with Him? How am I going to make contact with Him? How will I please God? And -- how will I be saved?”
Note: The Philippian jailer, who was as pagan as they come, asked, “What must I do to be saved? How can I be right with God?” This is a good question. There is nothing wrong with the question.
2. The people’s second question: “Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?”
God had required sacrifices of them. God had given them, in the first part of the Book of Leviticus, five offerings which they were to make, which were to be their approach to Him.
So they asked the question, “Will it be adequate simply to go through the form of religion?” Man’s reasoning always degenerates down to one thing: “I have to do something for God. He wants me to do something.” May I say, this probably reveals the proud heart of man more than anything else.
Note: Faith is just about the opposite of works. Saving faith produces works, but works certainly does not originate salvation. Your works have nothing to do with your salvation. This is the second question of the children of Israel, and it is the normal question of man.
· (Micah 6:7) Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
3. The people’s third question: “Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil?”
Now that is really being generous! In other words, they ask, “Is it because we haven’t done enough for God? Should we do more for God to try to please Him?” We hear the same question asked today.
Many people express it this way: “Well, maybe I’m not doing enough. I just don’t feel like I’m right with God. I don’t seem to be doing enough.” These are sincere people; but because they are not saved, although they are church members, they feel that they need to do a little bit more than they are doing.
4. The people’s fourth question “Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
In this fourth question the people of Israel asked, they are going to the limit: “Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” This was very meaningful to these people because they were surrounded by pagan peoples who in their worship of Molech and Baal offered human sacrifices.
There were instances when even Israel turned in this direction. Two of the most godless kings of the southern kingdom indulged in human sacrifices -- old Ahaz and old Manasseh. These two godless men offered their own children as burnt offerings, but is that what God would ask?
I want to make it very clear that God NEVER asked these people to offer a child as a human sacrifice. God did require that they give to Him the firstborn male of everything that was born to them, whether it be a cow, a sheep, an ox, or their son. But God made it very clear to them that He did not require human sacrifice. (It is morally wrong to kill your children!)
B. God answers their questions. (Micah 6:8)
· (Micah 6:8) He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
1. This message is for everyone: “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good.”
We notice first of all that this is addressed to man. (This is for mankind – men, women, boys, and girls.) This means not only the person in Israel but also the person in the United States, not only the person of the 7th century b.c. but also the person of the 21st century a.d.
2. There are three things that God requires.
(1) You are “to do justly” -- that is, you must have a righteousness to present to God, you must be a righteous person. You are to be just in your dealings with your fellow man; you are to be honest and true.
(2) You are “to love mercy.” You are not only to love the mercy of God but also to be merciful in your own dealings with others.
(3) You are “to walk humbly with thy God.”
3. How are we going to do these things?
Can we do them in our own strength? Do you think that we can do them without God’s help? Do you think that anyone can do them without God’s salvation? Don’t think that an unsaved person can live by this moral code without the power of God. (They can’t!)
That person cannot, for the very simple reason that all of these are the fruit of the Holy Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22–23). All three of these things which Micah lists are the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the BELIEVER.
4. Israel had fallen short.
Note: Having presented to these people what God requires, Micah is now going to show them how far they have fallen short of it. The reason that God will judge them is because of their willful and continual sinning (Israel had “missed the mark;” one definition of “sin.”).
In Micah's day his fellow Jews were falling pathetically short of the Lord’s requirements for them. (Israel was not showing kindness or compassion for the needs of their neighbors or practicing justice toward others but growing wealthy at the expense of others.) It’s not surprising, then, that such people were not walking in devotion and humility with the Lord.
Mercy, justice, and humility should still be descriptions of God’s people, and there is no better model for us to follow than that of Jesus Christ Himself.
By Marvin Williams
How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. -- Acts 10:38
Someone once said, “The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.” I like that; it’s a great reminder. In the book of Acts, Luke summarized Jesus’ earthly ministry by saying that He “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38).
What does the Bible mean when it tells us to “do good”? Jesus did good by teaching, healing, feeding, and comforting people. Using Jesus as the perfect example, His followers are called to meet the needs of others, including those who hate them: “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you” (Matthew 5:44; see also Luke 6:27-35). They are to serve their enemies without expecting anything in return.
Moreover, as opportunity arises, His followers are to do good especially to fellow believers (Galatians 6:10). They are not to let persecution, selfishness, and busyness cause them to forget to do good and to share what they have with others (Hebrews 13:16).
To be like our Savior and His early followers, we should ask ourselves each day: “What good thing can I do today in Jesus’ name?” When we do good, we will be offering a sacrifice that pleases God (Hebrews 13:16) and that draws people to Him (Matthew 5:16). – Marvin Williams, Our Daily Bread, August 1, 2011
From the example of Jesus,
Who went about doing good,
We are to honor our Savior
By helping wherever He would. -- Hess
CONCLUSION: “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8)
Micah 6:8 is not the gospel. We are NOT saved by obeying these words, but we cannot obey them unless we are saved.
Our religious words and deeds mean nothing to God if we lack character produced by the Holy Spirit as we yield to Him. Joseph Parker wrote, “All controversy, all resentful intellectualism, all selfish calculation, all vicious political Christianity, must fall before that sublime revelation.”
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REFERENCES: References used in the Bible study are the King James Bible (KJV), Dr. J. Vernon McGee © Thru the Bible Radio Network ( www.ttb.org ), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Dr. Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Dr. Charles Stanley: ( http://www.intouch.org/ ), Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, KJV Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Dr. David Jeremiah: ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/ ), Dr. Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, RBC Ministries ( http://rbc.org/ ), selected illustrations, and other references.
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E-mail: Ronald Purkey