Micah 6:8 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 comes on the scene because of a word from the Lord he was shown in a vision. As with the other prophets, he points to the apostasy and sin of God's people, as well as their hope to be found in returning to God for His restoration in His time. Micah stands apart as one who not only serves God outwardly in ritual worship, but one who exemplifies a very real and living personal faith from which his ministry stems. His zeal propels him to strip away his clothing in sorrow and go the cities to speak his message. Amid the degradation around him, he attempts to lift the people to a higher vision, to the mountain of the Lord and the difference He can make in their midst, to be taught of Him, to walk with Him, to really hear His word. And this heart brings him to the heart of the matter before God. God does not delight, as is said by many of the prophets and by King David, in the sacrifices of animals if those sacrifices are empty and meaningless. True religion is not mere rituals and forms. True religion comes from the heart and makes a difference in the life. True religion is not an outward show but an inward grace working itself out--justice, mercy, and humility before God.
This life is not always an easy one, but requires constant pursuit and drawing near to God. Micah prophesies about the One to come out of Bethlehem. "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. This ruler will not only rule the world, but rule in our hearts, as well. This conquest continues on, not only in the days of Micah, but today. 2 Timothy 3 points to the challenges of the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God--having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. We must be more than an empty shell. We must be filled with the Spirit of the Lord. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. . . (Galatians 5:22, 23).
Micah ends with a word of hope which comes from the compassion, mercy, and faithfulness of God. As we receive and live in union with the One who was born in Bethlehem, we receive that hope, as well, the rest of the story. Paul continued that word: I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness--the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:25-27). God provides what He requires!