Scripture Reading: Micah 6:1-16, Jeremiah 22:3, Colossians 3:12-17
They say women love a man in uniform, but they may not have been talking about the Boy Scouts. Unfortunately, no one relayed this message to my kerchief-wearing, popcorn-selling, Eagle Scout of a little brother.
With socks to his knees and badges across his chest, he’d proudly hold up his fingers, reciting the Boy Scout motto every night before brushing his teeth. His newfound pack became his identity, and while it didn’t earn him a swarm of girlfriends, it certainly brought the shy boy out of his shell. He threw himself into first aid, emergency preparedness, environmental science, and camping, checking off as many merit badge requirements as possible.
In Micah 6, that’s exactly what the Israelites were hoping for: a checklist for how to please God. They had failed at manufacturing goodness for themselves, and their idols hadn’t produced any fruit. Assuming the answer was to work harder, they wondered when God would ever be satisfied with what they had to offer.
Israel wanted to earn their ranking in faith through burnt offerings, year-old calves, rams, and streams of oil, but even these expensive gifts were not an equal trade for righteousness. And the instructions God provided were not what they expected.
“Mankind, he has told you what is good
and what it is the Lᴏʀᴅ requires of you:
to act justly,
to love faithfulness,
and to walk humbly with your God.”
- Micah 6:8
Upon hearing these words from the prophet, I bet the Israelites were ready to tie their kerchiefs around their necks and get to work achieving their merit badges with God. But looking at the specific commands, we can guess they became a little confused when they realized everything had already been accomplished. Their assigned tasks were not primarily about their own sacrifice, strength, or anything else the Israelites could offer. They were simply called to mirror the character of God.
Instead of just giving them rules to follow, He pointed forward to the work He’d later accomplish on the cross.
We, like Israel, forget that the only merit we have is the blood of the Messiah.
We can only act justly because we have been justified through Christ.
We can only love faithfulness because He defined it for us on the cross.
We can only walk humbly because His footsteps went before us.
We can only be with our God because Christ joined us to Him.
The only thing left on our to-do list is to worship the God who does not change. May we fear His name alone.