“Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the most High God?”
Maybe you’ve asked yourself that question! It’s the question Israel asked itself as expressed in Micah 6:6.
How can a mortal man approach the immortal, invisible God of the universe?
We naturally think in terms of the physical, external. Can I do it with burnt offerings, Israel (the nation) asks?
If so, how many would it take to get His attention? Would thousands of rams or ten thousand rivers of holy oil do the job?
Quickly, man begins to think of pleasing God in worship by quantity and by external grandeur. But that’s not what God wants, nor is it what He requires.
All the external trappings of religion: rich and awe-inspiring as they may be, can never please God in and of themselves.
How to come before God then? How to worship Him in a way that will please Him?
God gives us the answer in one succinct statement:
“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.” (Micah 6:8)
There it is. That answers the age-old question that man has raised heavenward. God says it so unambiguously: Do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly with thy God.
You’ve got to love the simplicity of it! Aren’t you glad that God didn’t write it like the government bureaucrats would have? Like they do the instructions on how to file income taxes? We never would have been able to have figured it out! God is so wonderfully plain. Just three steps and you are there:
- Do justly. That is, “Do Right.” You must be right in order to do right. Doing right without being right is impossible and the attempt to do so leads to hypocrisy. Being right means to be right with God. One experiences that blessed state by trusting Him by faith for it is still true that if you “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ…thou shalt be saved.” (Acts 16:31). The moment one believes on Christ by faith, what Paul said in Romans 5:1 is experienced: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Doing justly is personal (except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of heaven, John 3:3), and doing justly is possible (“It is God that justifieth, Romans 8:33) and doing justly is profitable: “But the path of the just is as the shinning light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” (Provs. 4:18) Job asks “How can a man be just with God?” (Job 9:2) Paul answers that it is not by works of righteousness which we have done, “but according to His mercy He hath saved us, by the washing of regeneration and by the renewing of the Holy Ghost.” (Tit.3:5)
- To love mercy. “For the Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy.” (Ps.100:5) He is also “merciful and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy.” (Ps.103:8). “For as the heaven is high above the earth so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him.” (Ps. 103:11) And, “the earth is full of Thy mercy.” (Ps. 119:164) It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed. How could we but help love mercy, we who have been[AS1] such recipients of His abundant mercies that the song writer was inspired to sing, “There’s a wideness in God’s mercies like the wideness of the sea.”
A poor woman from the slums in London was invited to go with a group of people for a holiday at the ocean. Upon viewing the vast body of water for the very first time, the awe-struck woman said, “This is the only thing I have ever seen that there was enough of.” Such are the mercies of God. We love mercy, and
- We strive to walk humbly with our God. Think of it! We can walk with God! Enoch did and was not for God took him. But the list of men and women, past and present, who have walked with God or are walking with God is almost incalculable. And it is possible to walk with Him because Jesus, as promised, when He departed back to heaven, sent His Holy Spirit who “dwelleth with you and shall be in you.” (John 14:17)
Walking humbly with (not before) God is not only a privilege, it is what has been commanded: “Humble yourselves in the sight of God and He shall lift you up,” and “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you in due time.” (James 4:10; I Pet. 5:6) We walk with God by faith (2 Cor.5:7) and we walk with Him in the light. (I John 1:7)
How to come before God? Do right, love mercy and walk humbly with Him.
“We mutter and sputter; we fume and we spurt: we mumble and grumble; our feelings get hurt. We can’t understand things, our vision grows dim, when all that we need is a moment with Him.”
“Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations.” (Ps. 100:2,5)