“What does God want from me?” It’s the age-old cry from humankind. When we are hurting and feel that God has taken something away from us. When we know we have sinned and yet feel incapable of change. And when our hearts truly do desire to follow God, but we don’t know what to do.
The prophet Micah made it sound simple. He foresaw destruction coming on Israel for their idolatry, which God saw as adultery. His bride, selling herself as a prostitute. (Micah 1) And after speaking of all the punishment coming, he gives voice to desperate mankind:
“With what shall I come before the Lord,
and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
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?” Micah 6:6-7, ESV
Israel had spent the last few hundred years sacrificing thousands of calves, lambs, pigeons–the blood of animals and birds–to try to atone for their sins. God had instructed them to do so in the laws He gave to Moses. And yet they were never completely clean, because every week, every year they needed to make a new sacrifice. Maybe God wanted their firstborn sons, suggests the hypothetical man in the passage above.
The very fact that they were asking the question, “What should I do?” shows a heart change. Matthew Henry notes here, “Deep convictions of guilt and wrath will put men upon careful enquiries after peace and pardon, and then, and not till then, there begins to be some hope of them.” An angry enemy of God doesn’t care to ask, “What does God want?”'Deep convictions of guilt and wrath will put men upon careful enquiries after peace and pardon, and then, and not till then, there begins to be some hope of them.' --M. HenryClick To Tweet
Micah answers the question about how to come before the Lord and please Him in the next verse:
“He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8, ESV
The answer is simple, we hear. All you have to do to please the Lord is:
- do justice
- love kindness
- walk humbly with your God
Can we do those three simple things?
Jon Bloom addresses the first command, “do justice,” like this:
“…if asked, virtually all people will say they love justice. But probe into how someone is specifically doing justice, and conversations turn awkward quickly. It’s much easier to “love justice” than to “do justice.” It’s much easier to rant against injustice than to take meaningful action to stop it. Ranting costs us little to nothing. Doing justice makes personal, time-consuming, heart-rending demands on us.” (“Lord, Search My Heart“)
It isn’t easy to “do justice.” And can you really love kindness? (Or mercy, as some translations render it.) Enjoy giving others more than they deserve? How about walking humbly WITH God? If we could see God, no problem. He’s so infinitely greater than we are that we would be humbled to the dust at first sight. But we don’t see Him right now.
So these three simple commands from God are not so simple after all.
What Does God Want?
God wants back the good earth He created. He wants a place where we aren’t trying to get the better of our brothers and neighbors, where we seek reconciliation and kindness. But we aren’t able to do that. We are by nature proud, too proud to submit to God and walk humbly with Him. We enjoy getting the better end of a deal. Most of the time, we prefer to exact revenge rather than extend kindness to our enemies.
That’s why we need Jesus.
Jesus came and lived a perfect, sinless life. He satisfied God’s justice by taking the place we deserved on the cross. The punishment that should have been ours, Jesus took.
Jesus gave kindness and mercy with abandon. He didn’t consider His own need for rest and relaxation. “Me time” wasn’t in His vocabulary.
Jesus, the King of the Universe, walked humbly with God.
“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:5-8, NASB
Through Him, we can follow God’s commands.
The Simplicity of the Gospel Call
What does God want? God wants us to believe in Jesus Christ, repent of our sins, and thus be saved. It’s that simple. And through the life-changing power of the Son of God, we can begin to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God.
God’s requirements are great. But Jesus fulfilled them all, because we couldn’t. Now, we can be sons and daughters of the Most High God.In the life-changing power of the Son of God, we can begin to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God.Click To Tweet