He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy…
It is a great thing to get down to simple principles. One of the hopeful signs of our times is a growing disposition to do this. In science and in theology alike, we are recognising simplicity where we once imagined that there was wonderful complexity. I rejoice that, in theology, we are getting down to fundamental Christian truths, which will ultimately make more clear man's duties and God's love. This was, in part, the mission of Christianity. God's Temple of Truth could hardly be seen for the human rubbish which had accumulated about it, and Jesus Christ came to sweep it away. You remember how He did so. His Sermon on the Mount must have amazed all His hearers. It went down to the very roots of human life and duty, and was a fresh revelation of truth. His disciples followed in His footsteps. Even St. Paul, who was by far the most subtle minded of them, analysed Christianity, and showed that it consisted in three things — "faith, hope, love," — and finally he reduced even these to one, saying, "Love is the fulfilling of the law." The fact is, that the nearer men are to God, the simpler becomes their religious life and their religious thought. Look at this text. "He hath showed thee, O man, what is good." Micah could fairly say this to every one in Israel; but much more forcibly should the words come home to us, who have heard the teaching and known the life of Jesus, Son of God, and yet Son of Man.
I. WHAT DOES THE LORD REQUIRE OF THEE BUT TO "DO JUSTLY"? The reference of the prophet is to justice between man and man, which was but seldom seen in his day. Happily, our law courts are, on the whole, among our noblest institutions. But how about business affairs? What of the conflicts between capital and labour? Is all as it should be there?
II. THE SECOND REQUIREMENT IS TO "LOVE MERCY." The philanthropist in the Church may be the screw in business. To do justly is to do what right requires, and to love mercy is to do what love requires.
III. THE LAST REQUIREMENT IS WALK HUMBLY WITH THY GOD. This is not the top stone of the edifice, but its foundation. Walk humbly with God, and you win walk honestly and kindly among your neighbours.
(Alfred Rowland, LL. B. , B. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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?