He has told you, O mortal, 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
What does God expect of us? This text is part of an urgent banter between God and the Israelites–first God reminding them of all that God’s done for them (6:3-5) and the Israelites responding with exasperation in verses 6-7 (“Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression?”). This is not a question of salvation, but of relationship. God is talking to God’s beloved, chosen people. There are no threats of God’s abandonment, but merely a call to relationship and all it entails. The people are trying to please God with burnt offerings–they still don’t seem to get what kind of a merciful God they’re dealing with!–but God gives them a new direction.
To love God is to love others. There is expectation in this relationship, but it’s an expectation that is wholly good, for both us and the world. God’s love for us implores, creates and strengthens our love for those around us, especially the most needy. What does God expect of us? Not to spend days worrying about our own salvation and trying to earn it through empty good deeds for our own satisfaction. No, our relationship with God leads us straight into the world, out of ourselves, where we do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with the God who has already done so much for us.
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